Exodus 33 … Consider His Presence

Sin has consequences, and the consequences are never pretty. But here, the most devastating of all possibilities unfolds.

“Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up from the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way,'” (33:1-3).

The LORD would not default in His Promise to give the land to His people, but His Presence would not go with them. “When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning,” (33:4), and rightly so, for what news could be more shattering than to hear they would no longer experience His Presence?

Consider His Presence

  1. His Presence was removed because of sin.for I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way,” (33:3).
  2. His Presence was set outside the camp. “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp,” (33:7).
  3. His Presence was to be approached by only one, the mediator. “Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses,” (33:9).
  4. His Presence would prompt worship. “When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent,” (33:10).
  5. His Presence would consider His people with favor and give them rest. “‘Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.’ 14 And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest,’” (33:13-14).
  6. His Presence would grant favor and distinguish His people. “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?” (33:16).
  7. His Presence would be only partially revealed. “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’ 21 Then the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen,'” (33:20-23).

How shall we respond to His Presence?

  1. His Presence was removed because of sin: When we place our faith in Christ for the payment of our sins, we are forgiven and brought into relationship with the Father as His child. We are forever His. (If you are uncertain of your own relationship with Holy God, please talk to someone or you can email me at plantingplace@gmail.com). When through faith in Christ we become His child and are forgiven our great debt, we must live mindful that sin disrupts and deters experiencing His Presence. Let us be quick to confess sin and let go of anything that might hinder His Presence in our lives.
    • “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
      And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
      11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
      And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
      12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
      And sustain me with a willing spirit,”
      (Psalm 51:10-12).
  2. His Presence was set outside the camp: He is holy and set apart, outside the camp. May we be diligent to treat His Presence as holy in everything we think, say and do.
    • You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the Lord who sanctifies you,” (Leviticus 22:32).
  3. His Presence was to be approached by only one, the mediator: Praise Jesus! He is our Mediator Who has granted us access to His Presence. Let us trust in Him alone; He is the only way.
    •  “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5).
  4. His Presence would prompt worship: Let us live in constant gratitude for Him, our Mediator, Who has granted His favor and His Presence. Let us live lives of worship to bring Him glory in whatever we do.
    • Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]
  5. His Presence would consider His people with favor and give them rest: In His great mercy and in His grace He has given us His Holy Spirit and His Word, that we would rest from our own works and experience His Presence. Let us trust Him to guard the treasure He has entrusted. 
    • “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you,” (1 Timothy 1:12-14).
  6. His Presence would grant favor and distinguish His people: What an absolute gift and privilege we have to be distinguished as His own. May our lives reflect His family resemblance.
    • “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him,” (1 John 3:1).
  7. His Presence would be only partially revealed: We experience His Presence by faith, in His Word, in prayer and through other believers. For now we see in part; there is coming a day when we will see Him as He is. Until then, we live by faith… and that pleases Him. Oh, may we live to please Him, that we would walk in His Presence each and every day.
    • “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known,” (1 Corinthians 13:12) .
    • “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him,” (Hebrews 11:6).

Let’s Grow Together!

 

 

 

Exodus 32 … Consider the Way He Commanded

Dissatisfied with the delay and concluding Moses is off schedule, the people impatiently turn aside to their own strategy rather than wait in faith.

“Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ Then the Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them [emphasis added]. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”” (32:3-4, 7-8)

Consider the Way He Commanded

“Then God spoke all these words, saying, 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,'” (Exodus 20:1-6).

* He alone is the LORD their God Who delivered them from bondage, proclaiming His Deity.

* There are to be no other gods before Him, asserting His Distinctiveness.

* He is a jealous God, declaring His Demand for fidelity. (Note: the Hebrew word translated in the Scriptures as “jealous” is only attributed to God, never to man. This word describes God’s divine and zealous faithfulness to His covenant people, requiring their fidelity in return.)

* He is righteous in His justice and lovingkindness, demonstrating His Demeanor.

How do we respond to the Way He Commanded?

His first commandment lays the foundation. An inaccurate understanding of the Way He Commanded will derail us from following every other commandment. Before we puff ourselves up and pat ourselves on the back, convinced we would never fashion a golden calf… Let us honestly assess our walk of faith.

The Israelites reverted to a default mode of worship, the cultural practice learned and experienced in Egypt. In their desire for answers now, and fear of the unknown, they returned to what they already knew, in a sense, what was comfortable.

In our impatience, we too can turn aside to what we know as comfortable and fashion our own golden calves. In all honesty before Him, let us ask ourselves, “LORD, what is our default mode, our golden calf?”

  • In our trials, do we wholly accept His Deity, His omnipotence and omniscience, to wait on Him alone as our LORD God, or do we fashion our golden calf by running to other people or things?
    • “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the person who seeks Him.
      26 It is good that he waits silently
      For the salvation of the Lord,”
      (Lamentations 3:25-26).
  • In our thoughts and actions, do we honor His Distinctiveness and treat Him as high and set apart from all others, or do we fashion our golden calf by believing He must act according to our timetable or desires?
    • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
      Be acceptable in Your sight,
      O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer,”
      (Psalm 19:14).
    •  “Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you,” (1 Samuel 12:24).
  • In our relationships and activities do we submit and humbly respond to His Demand for our loyal devotion to Him before all else, or do we fashion our golden calf with the lure of the lusts of the world, the flesh and pride?
    • “For your husband is your Maker,
      Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
      And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
      Who is called the God of all the earth,”
      (Isaiah 54:5).
    • “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world,” (1 John 2:16).
  • In His judgments, do we trust His Demeanor: His righteousness, lovingkindness and justice, or do we fashion our golden calf by judging Him according to our finite mind?
    • “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
      Lovingkindness and truth go before You,” [Psalm 89:5-8]

Today, may we carefully consider the Way He Commanded. Our golden calves can never stand before Him, they will be smashed and scattered; but they also are drunk in, and become a part of us.

(Note: In ancient times, extended families would typically reside together. This meant up to three or four generations might dwell in one household. When the Lord spoke of, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” (Exodus 20:5), it could have referred to the far-reaching consequences of unfaithfulness colliding with the family unit, rather than those yet to be born, or both.)

Whatever the exact intent of Exodus 20:5, we must never forget our sin will and does affect others, and it’s generally those who are closest to us who undergo the greatest impact.

Let us repent of anything we place before Him. He alone is God; may He alone consume us so that daily our lives would demonstrate praise and faithful commitment to only Him and the Way He Commanded.

  • “The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
    Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
    For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord?
    Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord,
    A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
    And awesome above all those who are around Him?
    O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord?
    Your faithfulness also surrounds You,” (Psalm 89:5-8).

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 31 … Consider His How

Explicit directions had been given; the details for every article of the tabernacle, sacrifices, offerings and the priests’ garments had been meticulously defined. And now, finally, the LORD explains the How.

I wonder if Moses hadn’t been anxiously awaiting these specifics, the “How” that would accomplish this gigantic task looming ahead. With each new instruction given, did that one word continually assault his thoughts…How?

Perhaps after the ten plagues, the Red Sea, the manna and the water from a rock, Moses wasn’t dogged by doubt. But it is interesting that His How was not explained until after His comprehensive directives had been fully described. Perhaps the LORD was still strengthening the faith of His faithful servant, Moses, with each subsequent detailed assignment.

Consider His How

His How: He would call by name those to complete His assignment. “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,” (31:2).

His How: He would provide all wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and craftsmanship needed by His Holy Spirit. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs…” (31:3-4).

His How: He would provide the assistance of others through their desire to use the skills He had given.  And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you:” (31:6)

His How: He would establish the Sabbath, a rest from the call of labor, as a sign of faith in Him and His sanctifying work. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 ‘But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you,”'” (31:12-13).

His How: He gave His written Word. “When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God,” (31:18).

How do we respond to His How?

His call often comes before His How. Let us apply our hearts to learn from Him as He daily teaches and strengthens us to walk with Him by faith.

  • How can we be without purpose? Let us respond in faith to His How.
    • He has called us by name and set us apart for His purposes.
      • “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:44).
    • “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;” (Jeremiah 1:5).
  • How can we be deficient in His wisdom? Let us depend by faith in His How.
    • He has given us His Holy Spirit Who abides in us forever.
      • “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come,” (John 16:13).
  • How can we be self-serving? Let us submit in faith to His How.
    • He gives us His gifts to use in assisting His body.
      • “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills,” (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11).
  • How can we rely on ourselves? Let us rest by faith in His How.
    • He calls us to rest in Him for our sanctification.
      • “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3).
  • How can we lack understanding? Let us seek His wisdom through faith in His written Word.
    • We can trust His Word to train and equip us in His righteousness.
      • “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 30 … Consider His Prohibitions

God commanded many specifics in establishing His tabernacle and the ordinances for His place of sacrifice and offerings. It would be His prescribed provision alone to cleanse and forgive our sins. But in His perfect provision there would also be His Prohibitions.

His Prohibition: There was to be nothing strange offered on the altar of incense.You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a drink offering on it… It is most holy to the Lord.” (30:9, 10).

His Prohibition: There was to be no hierarchy in the giving of the contribution to the LORD.The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves,” (30:15).

His Prohibition: There was to be no unclean hands or feet when approaching the altar. “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; 20 when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Lord. 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they will not die…” (30:19-21).

His Prohibition: There was to be no duplicating or misusing the anointing oil. “You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. 32 It shall not be poured on anyone’s body, nor shall you make any like it in the same proportions; it is holy, and it shall be holy to you. 33 Whoever shall mix any like it or whoever puts any of it on a layman shall be cut off from his people.’” (30:31-33).

His Prohibition: There was to be no duplicating or misusing the incense. “The incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the Lord. 38 Whoever shall make any like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people.” (30:37-38).

How do we respond to His Prohibitions?

  • His Prohibitions demand truth in our worship and offerings.
    • But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” (John 4:23-24).
      • Let us rely on His Holy Spirit and His Word each day so that our lives would reflect our relationship of grace through faith.
  • His Prohibitions place each of us on equal ground without partiality.
    • “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him,'” (Acts 10:34-35).
    • For there is no partiality with God,” (Romans 2:11).
      • Let us live lives that demonstrate our unceasing gratitude for His amazing and impartial grace.
  • His Prohibitions establish the necessity for cleansing and purity before entering His presence.
    • “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully,” (Psalm 24:3-4).
      • Let us seek to live lives of purity, transparency and humility through repentance.
  • His Prohibitions leave no room for pretense.
    • “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him with whom we must give account,” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV).
      • Let us live in constant awareness that nothing is hidden from His sight; may we daily rely upon His Holy Spirit to lead in authentic worship, prayer and service.
  • His Prohibitions call us to holiness.
    • “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine,” (Leviticus 20:26).
      • Let us depend on and cooperate with His Holy Spirit to set us apart as His own, that we would walk in the light of His holiness.

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 29 … Consider His Ordered Offerings

Exodus 29 is a bloody chapter. The New American Standard Bible uses the word, “slaughter” to convey God’s commands regarding the sacrifices of His Ordered Offerings. And the blood must be spilled out and touch everything and everyone in the place where God would come and manifest His Presence.

And today, I was reminded of the slaughter of our sinless Savior, of His shed blood spilled out and offered to pay the penalty of our sin, to touch each believer with His cleansing blood and thereby make the way for fellowship with holy God.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,” (Ephesians 1:7).

“…and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” (Hebrews 9:22).

And the thought of His bloody death is almost too much to bear until flooded with the truth of His Resurrection. And I rejoiced, as with Paul, when he remembered the words of Hosea,

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

But before the victory there would be the slaughter and His Ordered Offerings. Twenty-nine times the word “offer” or “offering” is used in Exodus 29.

  • The sin offering: (29:14, 36)
  • The burnt offering: (29:18, 25)
  • The wave offering: (29:24, 26, 27)
  • The heave offering: (29:27, 28)
  • The peace offering: (29:28)
  • The drink offering: (29:40, 41)
  • The grain offering: (29:41)
  • The continual burnt offering: (29:42)

His Ordered Offerings. Once fulfilled, He would meet to speak with His people at the place consecrated by His glory.

“It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. 43 I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. 45 I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. 46 They shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God,” (29:42-46).

How must we respond to His Ordered Offerings?

It’s difficult for us to relate to the stringent requirements placed on His people, the tent of meeting and the altar, in order to be granted the privilege of His Presence. But oh, that we would be awakened to His absolute and complete holiness and the devastating reality of our sin. His Ordered Offerings must be fulfilled. The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled every Ordered Offering; Jesus, and Jesus alone.

The Bible is clear. Jesus is our perfect High Priest, Who has faithfully fulfilled each and every Ordered Offering.

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;” (Hebrews 3:1)

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession,” (Hebrews 4:14)

Today as we reflect on our Perfect Offering, Jesus Christ, let us worship Him as we bring to mind His costly sacrifice, resurrection and victory over death. God declared all of His Ordered Offerings as the required preparation for the place and the people; and then in that consecrated place is “where I will meet with you, to speak to you there,” (29:42).

Can you imagine God wants to meet with us so that He can speak to us? Those words exploded throughout my mind and heart! And I was instantly reminded, that He still meets with us to speak to us. Oh Father, may we have ears to hear!

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”(John 10:27)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22).

We can have confidence to come into His Presence when we place our faith in His Ordered Offerings through our perfect and compassionate High Priest; and through Jesus Christ we are granted the immeasurable privilege to speak with Him and hear His Words of grace and mercy.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Let us also remember our call to the holy priesthood. When we place our faith in Christ for salvation we too are called into the holy priesthood of the believer.

“…You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 2:5).

His Ordered Offerings have been fulfilled in Christ alone, but there is still an urgent call to bring Him our offerings… our very lives. May we humbly, and vigorously, answer the call.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship,” (Romans 12:1).

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 28 … Consider His Engravings

The LORD turns His attention away from the tabernacle to those called to stand before Him to serve as His priests. What an immense responsibility and privilege. There is much significance in each piece of the priestly garments. But one element captured my attention, one amazing and stunning facet of the priestly garments… His Engravings.

Consider His Engravings

“You shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel… 12 You shall put the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of memorial for the sons of Israel, and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord on his two shoulders for a memorial,” (28:9,12).

“You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, the work of a skillful workman;… 17 You shall mount on it four rows of stones;… 21 The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes… 29 Aaron shall carry the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment over his heart when he enters the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually,” (28:15,17,21,29).

“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ 37 You shall fasten it on a blue cord, and it shall be on the turban; it shall be at the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead…” (28:36-38).

  1. His Engravings would be carried upon the shoulders.
  2. His Engravings would be placed over the heart.
  3. His Engravings would be placed on the forehead.
  4. His Engravings would set apart His priests as holy.

His Engravings are made manifest in Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest.

  1. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names over His shoulders; He shoulders the load of all men, as both Sovereign Ruler and Merciful Shepherd.
    • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
      And the government will rest on His shoulders;
      And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
      Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,”
      (Isaiah 9:6).
    • “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing,” (Luke 15:4-5).
  2. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names over His heart; He faithfully keeps us by His love.
    • “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:35, 38-39).
  3. Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest has engraved our names on His forehead; He resolutely places us at the forefront of His thoughts and intentions, never to be forgotten or forsaken.
    • “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
      And the Lord has forgotten me.’
      15 Can a woman forget her nursing child
      And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
      Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
      16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;” (Isaiah 49:14-16).
    • “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day,” (John 6:40).
  4. In Jesus, our Great and Perfect High Priest, we have been set us apart as holy; because God is Holy, He consecrates us to be holy and blameless before Him.
    •  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him,” (Ephesians 1:3-4).

The word translated as signet in 28:11 is the same word translated as seal in 28:21 and 28:36. A search in the original language offers helpful insight:

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance: חוֹתָם ḥôṯām, חֹתָם ḥōṯām: A masculine noun referring to a seal, a signet ring. It was usually made of baked clay, metal, or stones and was used to identify someone. It served much like an ancient identity card (Gen. 38:18) by bearing a person’s distinctive mark. It also refers to a metal or other type of mold containing a person’s seal that was then impressed on clay (Job 38:14) or another substance. A jeweler engraved the markings of a seal or signet ring (Ex. 28:11). It indicated a ring bearing a seal to be imposed on clay. It was a precious and intimate possession of its owner (Jer. 22:24); hence, a signet ring could be used figuratively of a person closely connected to someone (Hag. 2:23).

“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the Lord of hosts,” (Haggai 2:23).

Such amazing grace, to be chosen and set apart by and to Holy God, as His chosen signet, by His Engravings!

  • His Engravings identify His people.
    • “As a jeweler engraves a signet, you shall engrave the two stones according to the names of the sons of Israel,” (28:11).
  • His Engravings mark His people as distinctive.
    • “…according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal,” (28:21).
  • His Engravings brand His people as His precious and intimate possession.
    • “…you shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘Holy to the Lord,’” (28:36).

How do we respond to His Engravings?

When we come to Jesus by faith, we are identified as His distinctive people and branded as His precious and intimate possession. With rejoicing and gratitude let us live every day as holy to the Lord, proclaiming His excellencies; for we are forever His.

“…rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven,” (Luke 10:20).

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:28).

Let’s Grow Together!

Exodus 27 … Consider His Constraint

Constraint: “limitation or restriction; something that limits or restricts someone or something; control that limits or restricts someone’s actions or behavior

Moses has received the perfect pattern for the construction of the tabernacle. Can you imagine the excitement? The LORD God, I Am, has directed His people to build Him a sanctuary. He intends to dwell with them.

He has not left them to themselves in this arduous task. He has laid it all out, provided the pattern with explicit instructions for the place, the Tabernacle, where He would meet with and speak to His people. Renderings for the ark, the mercy seat, the table to hold the bread of the Presence, the lampstand have been stipulated…the thrill is mounting. The details for the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies are given; the anticipation is surely now beyond containment. And now this … curtains; all access and hope seems to be curtained off.

Before one can even get a glimpse of the tabernacle, there would loom His Constraint, a courtyard surrounded by curtains made of fine linen. There would be one gate, only one; a gate to be markedly different from the rest of the curtains comprising the courtyard. And once inside, there would be the altar of bronze.

Consider His Constraint

The Court of the Tabernacle: “You shall make the court of the tabernacle… hangings for the court of fine twisted linen…” (27:9).

The Gate of the Court: “For the gate of the court there shall be a screen of twenty cubits, of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen…” (27:16).

The Altar of Bronze: “And you shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze,” (27:1-2).

How do we respond to His Constraint?

  • The Court of the Tabernacle reminds us that our sin separates us from His Holy Presence; our own acts of righteousness will never tear down His Constraint.
    • “For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
      And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
      And all of us wither like a leaf,
      And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
      There is no one who calls on Your name,
      Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
      For You have hidden Your face from us
      And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities,” (Isaiah 64:6-7).
  • The Gate of the Court reminds us there is only one way by which He will remove His Constraint.
    • “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).
    • “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture,” (John 10:9 NIV).
  • The Altar of Bronze reminds us His Constraint remains unless atonement is made for sin; and this only by the shedding of blood.
    • “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement,” (Leviticus 17:11).
    • “…and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness,” (Hebrews 9:22).

May we daily be reminded of the great and horrific price paid to abolish His Constraint, the shed blood of our crucified Savior. Let us worship Him in holy fear, sincere gratitude and intimate surrender. He has removed His Constraint and our condemnation, only in Christ Jesus.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” (Romans 8:1-4).

Let’s Grow Together!