The Tabernacle of Moses ~ Study 5
The Tabernacle of Moses – 5
Our number one priority in life is our relationship with God. In every relationship there is the desire to please. Love should always be the motivator. Yet in our relationship with the Lord, we tend to think if we ‘do’, then that earns His love, and we have fulfilled our obligation to please Him.
We are a ‘do’ society. We write our ‘to do’ lists, and feel completely satisfied at the end of the day, seeing those hummers checked off. As a dear friend pointed out, ‘Satan wants us caught up in the “do” and not the love for Jesus’. We do – don’t do, say – don’t say. Yes these are all full of respect for God, but what He wants is our ….HEARTS!
Peter is a great example of this. Recently I revisited the ‘do you love Me?’ of Jesus. After Jesus was resurrected – He spent time with His disciples… remember the One on one He had with Peter… (Peter previously denied Him 3x) He asked Peter (3x) ‘do you love Me?’ He never once asked him, Peter do you love the ministry, Peter do you love the people, or Peter do you love the leadership? No… ‘Peter do you LOVE ME?’ All our doing stems from our love for HIM, and HIM alone. All we have to ‘do’ is be in love with Jesus, and everything with fall into play from there… and ‘seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you’.
Once Peter got this down, he did extraordinary exploits for the Lord. This became Peter’s pattern, love God first … then. Then we get the transformed Peter…we find in Acts chapter 2 the Peter package ‘repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit…’. That dude could preach up a storm! Following that, Acts chapter 3, Peter’s power…. the lame man wants money… Peter knew he had something much more valuable to offer… he knew the ‘power’ of God. Yes, great exploits. Love… then.
What does this have to do with the Tabernacle? I DON’T HAVE A CLUE! But boy it spoke volumes to my heart. Totally kidding! It has a lot to do with it. Today we will pause before we enter into the Holy Place and look at the priesthood. Exodus chapters 28 and 29 go into detail at the clothing and consecration of the priest, also the book of Leviticus is full of the duties of the priesthood.
Let’s look back and see the positioning of the priest. Not too long after the Israelites left captivity in Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and began their journey, Moses went up to Mt. Sinai, this is when and where he received the 10 commandments. While Moses was away the … ‘children began to play.’ Remember the story of the idolatry of the golden calf?
I have had this particular study rolling around in my head and heart for the past 4 weeks, the Lord had me set it aside as He spoke to me. At first I began to go with the ‘traditional’ view of the priesthood – the role, the robe and all that was required for the position. And of course Jesus being our High Priest and how He fulfills the role and continually is before the LORD on our behalf. (Please read passages throughout the book of Hebrews that describe this in dept). A priest is one who represents man to God, where a prophet represents God to man. Christ fulfills both.
I do NOT wish to make light of these but as I set that aside (as difficult as it was) the Lord had me look at … the man. As I read through chapters of Exodus, and Numbers, I saw … Aaron.
Exodus chapters 25 – 40 is a description of the conversation between God and Moses, the blue print for the Tabernacle, then the actual building of it. Then tucked in there is chapter 32. I am fascinated by the fact that as Moses was on the Mt. getting all the instructions for building the Tabernacle, God included giving Moses instructions for Aaron being the priest. This taking place while Aaron was playing the carnival game ‘throw the gold in and get a calf out’ down below. Hm… even with all that messing up – God still wanted Aaron! Let’s look at this for a moment.
Exodus 32, Moses was gone, the folks were growing impatient, they thought their connection to Yahweh was gone too. They wanted something, they wanted more, something to suffice their … let’s say … ‘appetites’. Aaron was left in charge, so the people came to him saying ‘Come, make us gods, who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’ (v.1)
Can you hear the sarcasm ‘as for this fellow Moses…’. How soon we forget! The funny thing is, Aaron was appointed Moses’ mouth piece, remember when God told Moses to ‘go – tell – deliver’ (quick paraphrase) back in Egypt? Moses (self professed) was not an eloquent speaker, so God gave him Aaron, his own brother. The people knew Aaron.
But Aaron buckled under the pressure. He requested they bring their gold earrings – they did. He then fashioned the golden calf . The next day they got up early, did some sacrificing, following that it says (v. 6) ‘they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry’. Folks, they we very ‘naughty’ (to say the least) !
Moses once again enters the picture. Verse 7, the LORD tells Moses what’s going on down at camp. Moses comes down, as he does, he meets up with Joshua who was a ways down the mountain waiting for him. As they approach closer, Joshua comments on what he is hearing, thinking it is the sound of war (the Israelites ‘naughty’ was loud). Can you picture the expression on Moses’ face? Hm, that is NOT the sound of war!
When they did approach the camp… well let’s just say … Moses was ‘ticked’. Seeing all the dancing and the CALF, he threw the tablets down breaking them into pieces, symbolizing the breaking of the covenant that the Israelites had made, (see Ex. 24, 25). He takes the calf and throws it in the fire, melting it down, grounding it to powder, he then scatters the powder on the water and makes the Israelites drink it, this was the only way to completely destroy the idol.
Moses turns to Aaron. ‘What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?’ (v. 21) Aaron proceeds to give excuses… my personal favorite ‘I threw it (the gold) into the fire and out came this calf!’
There must have been quite the commotion, verse 25 says that Moses saw that the people were running wild, (the King Jimmy says ‘naked’). That is when Moses drew the line in the sand (per say). He stood at the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.’ This mild and ‘not a good speaker’, now has the attention of 2 million people!
Here’s where I am pleased to say … ‘ALL the Levites rallied to him.’ You see … Aaron was a Levite. It does not say, but I choose to believe, Aaron made a personal and public walk over to Moses. Aaron chose God. He chose to make a stand among his fellow Levites, a statement to himself, his brother, and His God.
Chapters 34 – 40 go on to tell of the 2nd copy of the 10 commandments, and the making of the Tabernacle. There’s one place that brings grace to it’s fullest example, where the unworthy serves the Worthy One. Exodus 40:12-16. The LORD has Moses bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tabernacle, he has them washed and Aaron is dressed in the priestly garments, he is anointed and consecrated to the priesthood.
This to me paints a wonderful picture of God’s redeeming love for us. Yes, we make stupid mistakes and declare dumb excuses. Yet when given the choice, and we step across that line – choose God, making a personal and public statement – God in turn says ‘yes… I knew you had it in you, it’s the ME in you’. God didn’t see Aaron as the voted in riot leader, He saw a priest to serve HIM.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that
you may declare the praises of Him who called
you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We as believers are called to serve the Lord, and please Him. No, not like Aaron, there are no longer any need for sacrifices, just the living of our lives for HIM. For many of us, stepping across that line is a daily choice.
Take a lesson from old Aaron, don’t listen to the crowd, go with your heart, be willing to be what God wants of you and by all means stay away from gold and the desire to throw it in the fire! (smile) And Peter, can we too answer Jesus when He says … ‘do you LOVE ME?’ Will we negotiate with the question? Will we follow Peters example… Love God … then.
In Him, DeDe (Ps.92:4 You thrill me, LORD!)