God Dwelling with His People, Exod. 30. 11 to 31. 18 - Introduction
P. Harding, Skelmanthorpe
This book of Exodus deals with the great subject of redemption. It brings before us the deliverance of the children of Israel out of their bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt. It commences with a people in bondage and closes with a people gathered around the tabernacle, with God dwelling in their midst. Herein is the divine pattern for us today. It is the purpose of God now, not only to deliver from the bondage of sin and Satan, but to gather together around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ those whom He has delivered. It is the purpose of God that those who are saved should be obedient to the Lord in the waters of baptism, and by gathering to the Name of the Lord Jesus in the locality in which they are found. In type, this pattern is stamped on the book of Exodus.
The book of Exodus may be divided into five main sections:
1. Chapters 1-11, the theme of which is "The Supreme Grace of God Manifested". It is manifested in the provision of a deliverer for Israel, and in the judgment of Egypt.
2. Chapters 12-18, where the theme is "The Salvation and Sustaining Power of God". In chapter 12 we have Salvation; in chapter 13 Sanctification (corresponding to "ye are not your own ... ye are bought with a price", 1 Cor. 6. 19-20);
in chapter 14 Separation;
in the song of chapter 15 Salutation;
in chapter 16 Sustenance;
and in chapter 17 Satisfaction and Strife.
3. Chapters 19-31, the theme of which is "The Sovereign Claims of God as Redeemer". Having delivered a people, and having manifested His power to them, not only in Salvation but also in Sustaining them in the wilderness, God now makes His Sovereign claim upon them as their Redeemer.
4. Chapters 32-34 form the shortest of the sections, but it brings before us very solemn and searching lessons. Its theme is "The Solemn Consequences of Departure".
5. Chapters 35-40 present "The Sanctuary Experience Realized". In this final section, everything is done according to the pattern. The tabernacle is reared up according to the pattern, and with everything now being in order, God takes up His place in the midst of His people; thus Sanctuary Experience is realized.
The third main section may be divided into two parts, (i) Chapters 19-24 give the Inauguration of the Law, which manifests the righteousness of God. Righteousness has to do with the throne of God. (ii) Chapters 25-31 give the Instructions concerning the tabernacle, manifesting the holiness of God. Holiness has to do with the house of God. Note the phrase "the Lord spake unto Moses". It occurs in 25. 1, and its next occurrence is in 30. 11. Thus the section between 25. 1 and 30. 10 forms one complete communication, revealing the kind of tabernacle in which God would dwell, and the means of approach to Him. From 30. 11 to the close of chapter 31 "the Lord spake unto Moses" occurs six more times. Six being the number of man, in these verses we have brought before us the kind of people in the midst of whom God would dwell. It was God's intention that the nation should be a nation of priests, but its failure prevented this. However, in a day to come, that nation will become a nation of priests; see Exod. 19. 5-6; Isa. 43. 21 ; 61. 6. At the present time, every child of God is a priest, and thus we can readily apply to ourselves the passages where the priests are referred to, using them for our own instruction. With the use of the passage 30. 11 to 31.18, what are the unchanging characteristics of the people in the midst of whom God will dwell ? Since God is unchanging in character, these characteristics are unchanging, and thus should mark all His people today who are gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God requires His people to be:
1. A Redeemed People, 30. 11-16: the atonement money.
2. A Holy People, 30. 17-21: the laver to maintain the purity of the priests.
3. An Anointed People, 30. 22-23: the anointing oil. Three times in the New Testament we read of the anointing of the people of God today, 2 Cor. 1. 21; 1 John 2. 20, 27.
4. A Worshipping People, 30. 34-38: the incense. This would speak of the graces of the Lord Jesus Christ appreciated by His people.
5. A Serving People, 31. 1-11: serving in the power of the Spirit of God.
6. An Obedient People, 31. 12-18: the details of the sabbath and its observance surely bring before us the principle of obedience.
To be continued