Marching Orders

Exodus 39:43 “And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.”

Observation: Through the eighty-one verses of Exodus 39 and 40 is extraordinary detail as to how the priest’s robes were to be made and the tabernacle erected. No detail was too minor to be overlooked. Fine points as to the placing of precious stones, exact instruction for the making of breastplates, turbans, bells, and so much more—nothing was left to chance.

Application: Is all this really necessary? It is one thing, perhaps to include such mind-numbing detail if the Bible were to be read simply as a history book. But if it is to be something more, then how can this speak to me today?” Gradually, a bigger picture emerges.

Eighteen times in these two chapters God commented that the project was done “as the Lord had commanded Moses,” or “according to all that the Lord commanded.” 

God was specific, detailed, and very clear in His instructions, and it is obvious that Moses and the workers obeyed precisely in every instance. No corners were cut, no shortcuts taken, no complaints uttered. And what was the result? Exodus 40:34 says that when everything was completed, the cloud indicating God’s presence covered the whole structure and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In fact, God’s glory was so powerfully manifest that even Moses could not enter the place. At night, the cloud was replaced by fire that could be seen by all Israel.

I wonder…what if I were as obedient in the things God tells me? What if God could say about me that I had done everything exactly as He had commanded? I wonder…could His presence then be seen on me? What kind of effectiveness might empower whatever assignment He gives me? How many shortcuts have I taken, how many corners have I cut wandering away from His ideal? And what have the consequences been in terms of my life’s effectiveness?

God gives grace for each failure; He is not put off by my immaturity. I know the forgiveness that follows repentance but still, those days or months or years when I was not following Him wholeheartedly can never be made up. Time passed is irrevocably spent. But going forward, my desire is to hear Him perfectly and to follow Him willingly, without complaint or deviation.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for all the times I have failed to heed or even to hear Your direction for my life. Draw me into such intimacy with You that I would never again choose to go my own way or to deviate from instructions You have given.

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