Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

To the Work!

Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded.

And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it.

Exodus 36:1-2

Bezaleel and Aholiab weren’t preachers.  They weren’t great leaders like Moses.  They weren’t priests that we know of.  But they were skilled craftsmen whom the Lord used for His service in building the Tabernacle.  There are a few things that I received from reading this passage.

1. The Lord gives us talents and gifts.  The Bible says that Bezaleel and Aholiab and “every wise hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding…” were used to construct the things for the Tabernacle that God had, in the previous chapters, given specific instructions for.  God gave them the wisdom and understanding to do this type of work.  I don’t know exactly what they did, but I do know it was important enough for the Lord to put it in His Word for us to read about thousands of years later.

2. The Lord doesn’t give everybody the same talents and gifts.  Apparently, the Lord has suited these men just for this work.  The Lord had Moses do a great many things, but building and fashioning the items in the Tabernacle was not one of them.  In our churches, not everyone can preach or sing a special.  But it is no less important to shovel the snow off the sidewalk or greet people when they come in the door or help take the offering.  Everyone has a talent that God has given them and He expects us to use it for His honor and glory.

3. The men who did the work were the men “whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it”.  That should be our attitude.  Does our heart “stir within us” to do a work for the Lord?  When it comes right down to it, just how interested are we in doing the Lord’s work?  We should pray that the Lord will stir our heart to do the work that He has given us to do!

Give Until God Makes You Stop

…The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.

And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.  So the people were restrained from bringing.

For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.

Exodus 36:5-7

These are amazing verses to me.  In Exodus 35:5-9, God is preparing to have the Israelites build His Tabernacle and has Moses tell them to take an offering unto the Lord.  He says in verse 5, “…whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it…”.  The people are asked to give an offering of “stuff” that will be used to build the Tabernacle.  It was what we would call a “free will” offering.  They weren’t required to bring anything- verse 5 clearly says that “whosoever is of a willing heart” could give.  Only those with willing hearts who wanted to give something did so.  The amazing part of the passage to me is found in verses 5-7, in which the people actually gave too much and had to be turned away.  The workers told Moses that they had plenty with which to build the Tabernacle and that they just didn’t need any more stuff.  So Moses had to give a commandment that the people had to stop giving. “So they were restrained from bringing”.

How often have you heard a pastor or a missionary tell people to stop giving because there was too much?  I dare say never.  Usually it’s the other way around for us.  We have to be forced to give to the Lord.  The Bible says that the Lord “loveth a cheerful giver”.  We should give gladly and willingly and abundantly.  While I seriously doubt that we would or could ever give so much that we would have to be turned away, it is a nice thought.  Nothing is too much when you are talking about giving it to the Lord.  Let us be cheerful and generous givers to the Lord!

Nowhere Without Him

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.  And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.  And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

Exodus 33:13-15

Moses is one of the best human pictures of leadership in the Bible.  This passage shows us why he was such a great leader. 

1. His urgency.  Moses had to get ahold of the Lord.  He had to have the Lord show him the way.  He needs to know both the Lord Himself (“that I may know thee”) and he needs to know what the Lord would have him to do (“shew me now thy way”).  Sometimes, we seem to want one or the other- we might want to “know God”, but we don’t want Him telling us what to do.  Other times, we want God to tell us which direction to take or what exactly to do, but we have no real desire to know Him.  We should have both.

2. His refusal to move anywhere without the Lord.  Verse 15 tells us that Moses isn’t going anywhere unless the presence of God is going with him.  “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.”  That should be our prayer- we shouldn’t want to go anywhere without the Lord.  And we shouldn’t want the Lord to send us anywhere outside of His power and guidance.  And we definitely shouldn’t want to be leading people anywhere if the Lord is not with us.

3. His power with God.  God tells Moses in verse 17 “…I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken”.  Any leadership outside of the power of God is going to fall apart.  I would love to have that type of power with God myself- to ask something of God and have Him respond with “I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken”.  Of course, that power is available to us if we will only use it!

Which Is Better?

…For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:12-14

The Israelites were a people of very little faith. God was in the process of delivering them from the Egyptians and from slavery, yet they were easily discouraged and they quickly forgot the great miracles that the Lord had performed for them.  (Does that sound like anyone you know?)  In this passage, they are up against the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s armies are in hot pursuit.  They decided that it would have been better for them to spend their entire lives as servants to the Egyptians than to “die in the wilderness”.  The one thing they forgot was that God was on their side- “the Lord shall fight for you…”.

God obviously didn’t bring the Israelites out of Egypt just to let them die in the wilderness.  Nor did He save us and bring us out of the world just to wander around in the desert and long to be back in Egypt.  God wants us to trust Him and follow Him.  The Israelites followed Him into the Red Sea and experienced one of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible.  How sad it would have been if they had returned to Egypt and not trusted the Lord. 

We may get discouraged, but we must remember that the Lord did not “bring us out of Egypt” to die in the wilderness, but that we might follow Him and see the “salvation of the Lord”.


Serve the Lord… A Little Bit

And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away…

Exodus 8:28

After a few plagues, Pharaoh decided to allow the Israelites to go worship and sacrifice to the Lord, but he doesn’t want to “go very far away”.  In the Bible, Egypt is always a picture of the world set in contrast to God’s people, who are in the world, but not of the world.  This ploy by Pharaoh is a classic ploy of the Godless world.  The world doesn’t mind if you are “religious”.  They don’t mind if you “sacrifice to the Lord”- as long as you don’t get too far away.  Don’t go to the “Promised Land”.  Go ahead and do your religious “duty”, just don’t get too far away from the world. 

As a teacher, it saddens me that so many kids (and adults) today want to “be Christians”, but want to live as close to world as possible.  That is definitely not how it should be.  “…Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?”. (James 4:4)  It grieves me to think of the times in my life when I tried to live as close to the world as possible.  May God help us, as Moses did, to reject this offer of compromise and draw as close to the Lord and His perfect will as we can.  May God help us to “come out from among them, and be ye separate”!

So They Will Know

Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

Exodus 7: 2-5

When I have read this account before, I often wondered why God would command Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go if He knew He was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart.  Why would Moses and Aaron have to go through the trouble of going back and forth to Pharaoh if God already knew what was going to happen- Pharaoh would have a hardened heart and would not let the people go.  As is usually the case, the answer is right there in plain sight; I just don’t know that I had ever seen it before.  The answer is found in verse 5: “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord… I stretch forth my hand…and bring out the children of Israel”.  The Lord’s reason for commanding Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go was twofold:

1. So that the Egyptians would know that He is God.

God wanted the Egyptians to understand that he is the Lord.  If He hadn’t hardened Pharaoh’s heart, the Egyptians might have thought that it was their kindness and benevolence that allowed the Israelites to go. 

2. So the Israelites would know that it was God who freed them.

If God had not hardened Pharaoh’s heart, His own people might have journeyed to the Promised Land thanking and praising Pharaoh instead of the Lord.  As it turned out, there was no doubt in the people’s mind who it was that brought them out of the land of Egypt.  Exodus 10:2 says “And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord”.

Go, and…

Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

Exodus 4:12

In Exodus 3 and 4 God is miraculously speaking to Moses through the burning bush and is calling him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  Moses tries to offer excuse after excuse as to why he can’t do it.  In verse 10 of chapter 4, he tries the excuse that he is “not eloquent” and is “slow of speech”.  God shoots down this excuse in the next verse with the pointed question: “Who hath made man’s mouth?”.  I wonder how Moses felt after hearing that.  We often come up with what we think are great excuses for not doing what the Lord has commanded us.  But, in reality, an excuse is just another sinful way of questioning God. 

Where God calls, he equips.  In verse 12, the Lord tells Moses again, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say”.  Notice that the going comes before the teaching.  If we will obey God and do what He commands, He will teach us and equip us as needed.  We must step out by faith and follow Him.  Our job is to go.  He has promised to be with us and to help us.  Are we following him in obedience by faith and going, or are we sitting on the sidelines, stubbornly clinging to flimsy excuses? We need to obey Him- He will not send us alone!