Who Is This God?November 29-December 3
The God Who Connects with the Willing
So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord. – Exodus 35:22 (ESV)
A woman entered a Haagen-Dazs store on the Kansas City Plaza for an ice cream cone. After making her selection, she turned and found herself face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming the movie Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. Newman’s blue eyes caused her knees to buckle. She managed to pay for her cone, then left the shop, heart pounding. When she gained her composure, she realized she didn’t have her cone. She started back to the store to get it and met Newman at the door. “Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?” he asked. She nodded, unable to speak. “You put it in your purse with your change.”
In Exodus 35 God’s people are moved by God’s mercy. They have their “hearts stirred.” God is about to have Moses and His people build His Tabernacle and He is bestowing a great honor upon the children of Israel. He so highly honored them that he allowed every man and woman in the nation of Israel to have a hand in making the Tabernacle. Everyone who is willing is invited to be a part of God’s great work. It must be spontaneous and free, not the result of persuasion or of external pressure, but from the heart. It must be given, not taken.
Someone has said, “Every church is filled with willing people—some willing to work, and others willing to let them.” God desires our work for Him to be constrained by love, not by law, motivated by gratitude not by fear, and inspired by reverence, not by reward. When’s the last time you were so moved by God that it turned into action?
Praise God for the awesomeness of His presence. Thank God for the privilege to join Him in His work.
The God Who Connects with Skills
“And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.” – Exodus 36:2 (ESV)
You cannot choose your calling. Your calling chooses you. You have been blessed with special skills that are yours alone. Use them, whatever they may be, and forget about wearing another’s hat. A talented chariot driver can win gold and renown with his skills. Let him pick figs and he would starve. (Og Mandino)
God used the “skill” He put into His people to build His tabernacle. “Skill” is literally “wise of heart.” It means they had the understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary in accordance with all that God had commanded. And they had the heart to do it. This seems to imply that they were passionate about using their talents to serve God.
We have the great privilege of using what God has given us in order to serve Him and others. Romans 12:1 teaches we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God which is our reasonable act of worship. What gifts or talents has God given you that could be used for Him as an act of worship?
Thank God for the skills He has given you. Ask God to use your passion for His glory.
The God Who Connects with Mercy
Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half was its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. – Exodus 37:1 (ESV)
Sir Edward Burne-Jones was once walking over the downs with a party of friends during a summer shower. A rainbow glowed gloriously in the sky. “Let me see! I forgot what makes a rainbow?” cried one of the party. “The Lord set His bow in the cloud,” replied Sir Edward gravely. It is the Lord who created the rainbow. He has invested the rainbow with the singularity of being the symbol of His mercy. The occasion when this was done was after the Flood. (The Watchman-Examiner.)
The Ark of the Covenant was also a reminder of God’s mercy. The Ark would be the focal point of God’s tabernacle. Inside the Ark were the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, it was the most sacred object of the tabernacle and later in the temple in Jerusalem, where it was placed in an inner area called the Holy of Holies. Also within the ark were the golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s almond rod (Numbers 17:1-13). On top of the ark was a lid called the mercy seat on which rested the cloud or visible symbol of the divine presence. Here God was supposed to be seated, and from this place, He was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. (Precept Austin)
No one could approach God’s presence without God’s mercy. Jesus died once for all so no longer are yearly sacrifices required on the Day of Atonement. Because of God’s mercy, we can have a right relationship with Him. How would your life be different if you had no access to God?
Thank God for His gift of mercy. Praise God for the privilege of coming into His presence with no fear of judgment.
The God Who Connects With His Presence
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. – Exodus 40:34-35 (ESV)
A man took his dog to the veterinarian and asked him to cut his tail off completely. “I don’t like to do that,” said the vet. “And why completely?” “Well,” said the dog owner, “my mother-in-law is coming to visit us, and I don’t want anything in the house to suggest that she is welcome.” (Source Unknown).
The glory of God filling the tabernacle was, in a sense, a welcome home party for God. The fact that the glory cloud of God covered the tent showed 1) God’s presence and that, 2) He was pleased. There were many ups and downs in Israel’s relationship with God. Their hearts must have been overjoyed to know that God was with them and that God was pleased with them. God was also keeping the promise He made to Moses in Exodus 29:42-46.
In Exodus 33:14 God says, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” And in Matthew 28:20 Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In what ways does it give you “rest” and comfort knowing that God is with you?
Take some time to think about the “glory of God.” Praise God for His glory. Thank God for the promise of one day experiencing the fullness of His glory in heaven.
The God Who Connects With Direction
For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. – Exodus 40:38 (ESV)
Admiral Nelson of the British navy was such a fine seaman and leader of men that sailors loved to serve under him. Sir Robert Stopford, who was sailing with Nelson in the West Indies, wrote home to a loved one that ‘We are half-starved and otherwise inconvenienced by so long out of port, but our reward is that we are with Nelson.’ So it was with the Israelites who were about to embark into the wilderness, where there was little comfort, little food, and little water. Yet, God was with them, and how greatly he would supply all their needs! (John Currid)
The cloud in Exodus 40 represented the presence of God. The cloud was a guide to the camp of Israel in their march through the wilderness. While the cloud remained upon or over the tabernacle, they rested abiding in their tents; when it moved, they moved and followed God. God was not only with the nation of Israel, He was also directing the nation of Israel.
You may be thinking “That’s great. Israel had a visible marker to tell them when to go, where to go and when to stop. But what about me?” While we do not have a “divine cloud” guiding us in our “wilderness journey” during our stay on earth, God has provided guidance in His written Word and by His indwelling Holy Spirit. What decisions has God guided you to make this year?
Thank God for the ways you can look back and see where He has guided you. Ask God to give you direction in any area of confusion in your life.