1. What are some ways we like to celebrate when a big building project is completed? (Open House; Dedication Service; or a Commitment Service; etc.)
2. How do you feel when a task has been completed with excellence?
We all enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes with the completion of a task. Especially a job that we have given our very best effort to get completed in a timely manner.
In today’s Bible passage, we will see the work on the tabernacle completed. As we read the Scripture look for what God did once the job was complete.
In Exodus 25-31 the Lord gave Moses specific instructions regarding building the tabernacle and its furnishings. He even told him the names of the skilled craftsmen who He wanted to lead out in the construction. Moses passed on the directions to Bezalel and Oholiab. They began the work as instructed. We learn in Ex. 36:4-7 that the people were so generous that they brought more than was needed so they were told to stop bringing their items.
Finished! Read Exodus 39:42-43
1. How would you describe the kind of attitudes necessary for the Israelites to achieve this level of group obedience? (Ex. 36-39 describes the components that were fashioned, carved, woven, and overlaid with gold according to God’s exact instructions over many months.)
2. What challenge do we find in their actions that we can apply to our lives? (Read Col. 3:17, 23)
3. What were the benefits of Moses’ inspection and accountability? (Moses blessed the workers. The Hebrew term rendered blessed means “to empower someone or something for success.” Someone has defined the verb as “to impart the capacity to accomplish a designated purpose.”)
4. How can we bless others in this same way?
5. How can this passage encourage us to finish well the Christian work God has given us individually? (See 2 Tim. 4:7)
6. How do past acts of obedience drive us to acts of obedience in the future?
Finishing well as a believer at the end of life requires consistently serving the Lord throughout life—a life of committed service!
The people of Israel could enjoy the satisfaction of finishing the work God had assigned. Next we’ll see God’s instructions to Moses regarding the setup of the tabernacle.
Assembly Required! Read Exodus 40:1-4
Note the clear, precise instructions God gave Moses.
1. What do you think Moses learned from personally assembling the tabernacle? (We learn best by experience! Moses became intimately familiar with every aspect of the tabernacle by putting it together according to God’s directions. Every piece illustrated something about God’s unfolding plan to restore the human heart to Himself through the Messiah!)
2. How would focusing the Israelites’ attention on the tabernacle help them understand and communicate with God? (Until now the Israelites understanding of God was somewhere out there or up there. Now God was actually residing in their midst, He was with them everywhere they went.)
3. What were the dangers if Moses failed to assemble the tabernacle according to God’s directions? (Not only was it the items that gave a picture of God’s plan for a Messiah, the order in which they were placed was also important.)
4. What are the dangers today of failing to follow God’s directions?
5. What were the items in the Tabernacle and the significance of each item beginning with the altar of burnt offering?
· Altar of burnt offering Where the sacrifice was made
· Bronze wash basin For the priest to wash their hands and feet
· Table of showbread Jesus the Bread of life
· Seven-pronged lampstand Jesus the Light of the World
· Altar of incense Represented Prayers of the
· The Ark of the Covenant The Mercy Seat-Dwelling Place
of God where the blood of the sacrificial lamb was sprinkled on the Day of Atonement.
God intended for the people to understand the significance of each item and apply the truth to Jesus when He came as the Messiah! The thick veil separating the Holy of holies was torn at Jesus’ death, opening the way for anyone to come through faith in Jesus into the presence of God! Jesus tried to help them understand by saying in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” And in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” But just as it is in our world today, so many are blinded by Satan to the truths of God’s Word!
Moses finished his work of setting up the Tabernacle and God showed His approval!
Glory Shown! Read Exodus 40:34-35
It is difficult for us to understand exactly how God’s presence in the tabernacle prevented Moses from entering. God’s presence must have been terrifying and at the same time profoundly beautiful and breath taking to look upon!
1. How would you compare the filling of the tabernacle by the glory of God to the filling of the Christian’s life by the Holy Spirit? (No one who witnessed the arrival of God’s glory could have remained ambivalent about Him. Believers can have reverent peace and joy knowing God’s presence is in their lives. Once the Holy Spirit fills a person they are never the same!)
2. How does this biblical glimpse of God’s glory give us comfort and confidence as we look to the future? (The Israelites had a great experience here but they did not have God living inside them as we Christians do today. And even what we have is simply a glimpse of the glory we will experience one day.)
Having God’s presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit is reason for us to celebrate!
When God’s glory filled the tabernacle, He showed the Israelites His desire to be with His people. With the tabernacle completed, we will see how God led His people on their journey.
God Led! Read Exodus 40:36-38
1. How do you think the visible cloud was a help or a comfort to the people of Israel at that time?
2. In what ways are God’s Spirit and God’s Word a help and a comfort to us today?
3. How might it change things if God’s presence were visible in your neighborhood? (Even all of the Israelites didn’t trust and obey Him even though they had the cloud.)
4. Do you think the Israelites were ever confused as to whether God wanted them to move or stay? (Here is a key: they were watching to see what God was telling them.)
5. Are we ever confused about what God wants us to do? Why, are we not listening, do we not hear His voice clearly?
Summarize and Challenge!
1. What do we need to do individually to be more confident in doing what God is leading us to accomplish? As a group?
2. How can we grow to be more sensitive to hearing God’s voice and move when He moves?
3. Is there a direct connection between obeying God’s leadership and enjoying His presence?
Pray that we would be more sensitive to hearing God speak to us and that we would be quick to obey!