Never underestimate the spiritual power of a dedicated man or woman who knows how to intercede with God. One of our greatest needs today is for intercessors who can lay hold of God’s promises and trust God to work in mighty power (Isa. 59:16; 62:1; 64:1-7).” –Warren Wiersbe
I wonder if the Israelites had a clue about Moses’ experience of interceding for them on Mt. Sinai. Maybe they would have been more appreciative of him had they known. For Moses had “wrestled” with God in prayer, resulting in God’s decision to not reject or destroy Israel.
Along with the building dedication, chapter 40 summarizes the priests’ dedication (also described in Exodus 28-29). The tabernacle and its furnishings were now complete so Moses could inspect everything. His job not only included making sure that every utensil was anointed and put in the right spot, but also inspecting every piece of furniture. For unless everything was done according to the pattern God showed him on the mountain, God would not dwell in the tabernacle (25:8-9, 40; Heb. 8:5; 9:9). Warren Wierbe (Be Delivered) makes an interesting observation: “Too many sincere people have tried to do God’s work their own way and then have asked God to bless it. But ministry doesn’t work that way. First we find out what God wants us to do, and we do it to glorify Him. If we obey His will and seek to honor His name, then He will come and bless the work with His powerful presence.”
The word commanded is used 18 times in Exodus 39 and 40, reminding us that the workers did exactly what God told them to do. Moses is also cited as being a faithful servant (Heb. 3:1-6). The work is given a thumb’s up and construction is a go (Ex. 40:1-8, 17-19, 33). Next, the tabernacle—along with everyone associated with it—is dedicated to the Lord.
God’s Glory Fills the Tabernacle
Now God’s glory can fill the tabernacle and abode. Wiersbe writes: “The Hebrew word translated “abode” in Exodus 40:35 (“settled,” NIV) is transliterated shekinah in English, “the abiding presence of God.” (See 24:16 and 25:8). So powerful was the presence of God’s glory that Moses wasn’t able to enter the tabernacle!”
Sadly, Jewish history teaches us that the tabernacle glory left when the people and priests sinned against the Lord (1 Sam. 4:21-22). Ichabod means “the glory is gone.” But God’s glory returned again and dwelt with the people when Solomon dedicated the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). Unfortunately, their sins also drove God’s glory away (Ezek. 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:23).
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” -John 1:14
When and where did God’s glory appear next? Wiersbe writes: “. . . . in the person of Jesus Christ. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), the word abode in Exodus 40:35 is the Greek word used in Luke 1:35 and translated “overshadow.” Mary’s virgin womb was a Holy of Holies where the glory of God dwelt in the person of God’s Son. What did the world do with this glory? Nailed it to a cross!”
Where is God’s glory today? Every true believer houses the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20), along with the local church (3:10-23) and the universal church (Eph. 2:20-22). Buildings are dedicated to God as tools for God’s work, but God doesn’t dwell in buildings today (Acts 7:48-50). He dwells in believers. It’s our privilege and responsibility to glorify Him both individually (1 Cor. 6:20) and collectively (14:23-25).
Wiersbe writes: “What a tragedy it would be if the glory departed and we had to write “Ichabod” on [us]. How much better it would be if, like Moses, we did everything according to the heavenly pattern so that God’s glory would feel at home in our midst. . . . When Solomon finished the temple, the glory of God moved in, but when God finishes building His church, He will move the church out! Then we will share God’s glory in heaven for all eternity! ‘And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light’ (Rev. 21:23 NKJV).’”
How have you glimpsed God’s glory? I see His glory in a person’s countenance when they are pouring themselves into worship, or have just spent quality time in God’s presence, or exhibit His characteristics.
This is my last post in Exodus. Thank you for visiting, reading, and all of your encouragement! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I certainly did. I have much to be thankful for!