Scripture: According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them. Exodus 39:42–43 ESV
Observation: Israel, having received the rich blessings of God through the booty obtained from the Egyptians, generously supplied all the building materials and precious metals needed to construct and adorn the temple and its accoutrements. So on with the skilled labor to complete the various components: the tabernacle, ark, table, lampstand, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering, the bronze basin, the court, and last but not least, the priestly garments (chapters 36-39). Once the artisans completed all the features, Moses inspected their work and verified that they had done it just as the Lord commanded, so he blessed them (above verses).
Takeaway: As with much of the tabernacle’s design and construction, the language of verses 42-43 echoes that of the Creation Story, where God finished his work, saw what he had made, declared it good, and then blessed Adam and Eve (Genesis 1;22, 28, 31). And, of course, the language points us forward to Christ, the final temple indwelled by God. As pertains to the blessing, the Father declared to the crowd at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17) and later to Peter, James, and John at Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:5) that he is “well pleased” with his beloved Son. And Jesus, as his work and mission neared completion, blessed his disciples and future followers through his high priestly prayer in the Garden of Gethsemene (John 17).
So what does this mean for you and me? The same as that of Moses, Israel, Jesus, and his disciples: listen, obey, and bless. The tabernacle served to draw Isreal into the Lord’s presence via worship and inspire them to move out into the world by obeying his laws that keep them moving in the right direction. In the same way, the Son always listened to the Father and sought to do his will. And Christ challenged his disciples to listen and obey him (John 14:15, 14:23, 14:24, 15:10), which would lead them to bless creation with the proclamation of his Gospel and sacrificial love.
It is no different today. We listen to the Holy Spirit’s provocations through times of worship, prayer, Bible study, and community interactions. As we do, we grasp a deeper understanding of God’s grace and love for us, which inspires us to move toward others and bless them with the love of Christ. And lest we feel overwhelmed, John reminds us that when we listen, obey, and bless, our load will be light: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3 ESV).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for creating and blessing us through your Son, your Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ. Would you please help us be still and listen to your Holy Spirit, then rely on him to strengthen and guide us toward obedience that leads us to bless others with your Gospel and the love of Christ? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling