In grade school, some of my favorite assignments were done on grid paper. The projects involved mapping out exactly what our dream house would look like, or drawing out all of the supplies we would for our future job. I would draw elaborate rooms with all of the furniture and decor. My house had a basketball court that functioned also as a volleyball and tennis court, and a roller rink! (There was also an outdoor tennis court, of course!) There was a pool and hot tub, indoors and outdoors.The upstairs had am epic game and movie room. All of my favorite things were included.
My house now doesn’t have any of those things, and I never became an art teacher. But it was amusing to draw them up when I was a kid and to look back on them now. My desires changed and other passions developed as a I grew up. However, the dreams I had as a kid have manifested in different ways. I became a teacher of exercise and nutrition. One of my favorite hobbies, and what calms me and fills me, is doing some sort of art project. How do your childhood passions show up in your life today? It’s fun to think about!
Those little details that we drew up as kids have purpose. They are intwined in our being by God. He drew us up and knitted us together especially for this world. The details mattered to him when he created you. I’m not sure if he used grid paper, but his vision of a perfect dwelling place for his Spirit was drafted and you were the outcome. Isn’t that fascinating! I get teary-eyed when I think about that.
In the last chapters of Exodus we see God’s plans for his dwelling place (back then) come to fruition. There are so many great lessons from it too!
S – Scripture: Exodus 39-40
- 39:3 – “He made gold thread by hammering out thin sheets of gold and cutting it into fine strands. With great skill and care, he worked it into the fine linen with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread.”
- 39:30 – “Finally, they made the sacred medallion–the badge of holiness–of pure gold. They engraved it like a seal with these words: HOLY TO THE LORD.”
- 39:42-43 – “So the people of Israel followed all of the LORD’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the LORD had commanded him, he blessed them.”
- 40:31-32 – “Moses and Aaron and Aaron’s sons used water from it to wash their hands and feet. Whenever they approached the altar and entered the Tabernacle, they washed themselves, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.”
- 40:34-38 – “Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. The cloud of the LORD hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys.”
O – Observation:
- Bezalel worked with great skill and to the finest detail to create what the Lord had asked.
- Aaron wore a “badge of holiness” that stated, “Holy to the Lord.”
- The Israelites did everything that the Lord had commanded them. Every detail was accounted for.
- Every time Moses or the priests needed to enter the Tabernacle, they had to wash themselves, as commanded by the Lord.
- When everything was finished, the “glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” His cloud settled over it and was their guide. When it moved, the Israelites packed up and continued their journey.
- It was a cloud by day and a fire by night so that they could always see it. He never abandoned them.
A – Application:
Like Aaron, we have been given the “badge of Holiness.” This was not by anything we have done or deserve, but by God’s deep love for us.
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” Hebrews 10:10-12
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7
“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
Let that sink in. I felt like moving ahead while writing this and God prompted me to just sit here for a minute and bask in the gravity of what that means. Once, and for all time he has cast out the sin in my life. That is past, present, and future sin. The burden of sin is no more. I feel light and free.
“He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:10-12
By God’s New Covenant, we have been made holy, “once for all time.” Praise God! Declare that today! Say it out loud over and over until it rushes in and takes hold.
One of the many things that I have noticed out of the last few chapters in Exodus is that God cares about the finest details. He gave measurements and mapped out exactly how he wanted things built. Everything had a purpose. Each piece of the Tabernacle, instruments, and clothing were created in a specific order and design. The details of each command mattered.
The instructions that God has given us today (in the New Testament) are all written and given for a purpose. He didn’t just give a list of rules as a way of chaining us or keeping us from having “fun.” There is a reason he says to stay away from certain things of this world. When we follow his instructions, it’s a sign of our love and devotion to him and his people. We are called to live differently because we are different. We are set apart and holy, made clean and pure, unchained by the sins of this world.
From personal experience, the weight of sin is far heavier than the call of obedience to God.
Our greatest commandment is to Love God and Love Others. Again, it’s not just in the grandiose gestures (though those aren’t bad in any way), but in the small details of people’s lives. Our small acts of kindness in the ordinary, everyday things in life can make an eternal difference. Am I (or are we) following his command perfectly?
“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
“Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” 2 John 1:6
God has made us his home. He is no longer just in one place but in all of our hearts.
“Jesus replied, ‘All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.'” John 14:23
“Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” Ephesians 2:20-21
Like I mentioned above, “God drew us up and knitted us together especially for this world. The details mattered to him when he created you. I’m not sure if he used grid paper, but his vision of a perfect dwelling place for his Spirit was drafted and you were the outcome.”
How we manage our physical being is important, absolutely! What we feed our eyes, ears, hearts, (and bellies), matters. Our hearts are the outpouring of what we allow in. When I watch, read, or listen to the things of this world, that seeps out into how I speak to others, how I worship God, and my attitude towards life and those around me. If I’m not feeding myself good, spiritual, and filling food (The Word, prayer, or fellowship with other Christians, to name a few), I won’t be as effective for God’s Kingdom.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” Matthew 6:22-23
I want to furnish God’s dwelling place with the fruit of the Spirit and fill my mind with good things, so that he can work through me. My desire is to follow his commands to the letter, not because I think I can increase my standing with him, but because he has given me so much more than I deserve. I cannot not add anymore righteousness or holiness or love-worthiness to myself. I want others to know that they can experience the same freedom and joy.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:22-25
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
P – Prayer:
God, thank you for creating me, with every detail having a purpose. You can take what I think is weak or bad and make it work for your Kingdom’s purpose. It gives such freedom to know that I can’t do anything more to earn your love or grace, you have given it all to me. Forgive me for not being completely obedient in love others. I want to be better in this area. I know it comes from what I fill my heart with. I want that to be more of you and not things of this world. Continue to transform my mind and heart so that I can better serve you. Amen.
*I hope these lessons gave you some good food to munch on and fill your soul. I’d love to hear your personal take on them. Please comment below!