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Exodus 35-40

by Chuck Smith

And Moses gathered the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that you shall do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever does any work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitation on the sabbath day (35:1-3).

So one of the strongest parts of the tradition of the Jews today remains the Sabbath day, and as we mentioned a week ago or so that really was a neat law. It was made for man. Man wasn't made for the Sabbath; the Sabbath was made for man. This is just God's gift to you: the Sabbath day, a day in which you do nothing. A day in which you just kick back and rest. A day in which you just lie around all day long doing absolutely nothing, not even kindling a fire, just a day of total relaxation.

You would be so much healthier mentally and every way else if you would just take a day off and just cruise, just nothing; just totally relax. But we live in such a geared up society that I think I might be able to last until about eleven o'clock in the morning then I would be climbing the walls. But we need to learn to relax more. We need to learn to just kick back without feeling guilty about it. You have got one day out of seven that God just wants you to kick back and just totally relax and do nothing.

God has given it to you. It's God's gift to you. You can take it and enjoy it if you want. If you don't take it, it is not going to damn you or condemn you. That is the way they had misinterpreted the thing you see. If you dare do anything that violated that Sabbath day tradition, then they were ready to really wipe you out. But in reality it is just a gift of God for you; you would be much better off if you observed it. Not spiritually, it won't make you any more righteous than anybody else, but just physically you would be a lot better off, mentally better off.

Moses spake to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: and whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, silver, and brass (35:4-5),

So now he has commanded to take an offering but there was one requirement; you could not give to God unless you did it with a willing heart. Now Paul the apostle in the New Testament tells us that, "when we give to God that it should never be by constraint, but as every man has purposed in his own heart so let him give for God loves a cheerful” literally a hilarious “giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Now God doesn't want anything from you that you grudgingly give to Him of money, time, service. It is a tragic thing that the church has developed a program in which we pressure people into taking a job in the church. And so a person under pressure thinks, “oh, I've got to do it” you know. And they say, “oh no, this is Sunday. I've got to go face those monsters again in that Sunday school class. I can't stand it”, you know. And you're griping and complaining about what you are doing for God. You would be better off not to do it at all. God doesn't want any griping servants.

You have signed up for a pledge and now you're short and you think “oh no” and you write out the check and you're begrudging the check because you pledged it, better not to give it. God doesn't want your giving to be by constraint, and yet churches create constraints upon giving. They create finance committees. They have their annual drive. They will come around and get your pledge and so forth and they will give a little pressure, you know.

The important people of the church are sitting there in your front room, as you now have to determine before them how much you are going to support the church this year. And man, you don't want to look like a cheapskate because these are important people, you know. And after all, he is the superintendent of schools and this guy is a lawyer and all, so you don't want to look like a cheapskate.

And it is deliberately designed that way so that you will feel pressured to give more than you really want to. That is giving by constraint. God doesn't want it. He doesn't want you to over subscribe. He wants you to purpose in your own heart what you want to give. Any giving to God must be willing giving on your part to really be a true gift unto God. Anything else, God hates. God would rather you keep it. There is one thing I can't stand and that's someone to do something for me and then gripe and complain that they've done it. I would rather that they not do it at all.

There's one guy that invited us over for dinner and passed the roast beef around the second time and I took seconds. Then he said, “Usually a roast lasts us all week, but this one's not going to make it.” Man, I had a hard time swallowing that chunk of meat. If he didn't want me to take seconds, he shouldn't have passed the plate around a second time. I could respect him much more for that than to pass it around and then complain.

So people do something for God and then go around complaining about what they have done. Give to god and then complain about what they have given. No way. It always has to be of a willing heart. You have got to purpose in your own mind what you want to give. It is none of my business what you want to give. It is something between you and God; and you and a willing heart give to God whatever you are willing and wanting to give, but never out of constraint, never out of pressure.

That is why we have made it a purpose here at Calvary Chapel never to ask anybody to do anything. So if somebody comes up and they say, "Chuck, I would really love to teach a Sunday school class. How do you go about teaching a Sunday school class around here?" I say, "You just found out." You have got to ask. We won't come around and put a Sunday school teacher's book in your hand and say, "Now we really need you to teach this class." That is something that has to come from your own heart. What you do for God has to come out of a willing heart. That's the kind that God will reward. That's the kind of service that God will reward. That's the kind of giving that God will reward.

And so, that's the requirement God put even under the law "with a willing heart let him bring it, an offering to the LORD." You are not only to bring the gold, silver, and brass, but,

Blue, and purple, and scarlet fine linen, goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, badgers' skins, and acacia wood, oil for the lights, spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense, onyx stones, stones to be set in the ephod, for the breast plate. And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the LORD hath commanded; the tabernacle, his tent, his coverings, the taches, the boards, the bars, the pillars, the sockets, the ark, the staves, the mercy seat, the veil of covering, the table, and the staves, the vessels, the showbread, the candlesticks (35:6-14)  

The furnishings, and so forth.

And so verse twenty-one,

And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him up and everyone whose spirit was made willing; and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for all the holy garments. They came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought the bracelets, earrings, rings, and the tablets, of jewels of gold: every man that offered [offered] an offering of gold unto the LORD (35:21-22).

And so, notice the giving. It was as a person's heart was stirred. And that is always the secret of true giving, as God stirs your heart, as God lays it upon your heart. And as you're willing to give so you should give unto God, but never, never by constraint, never by pressure, never by begging. It cheapens God to beg people to support Him.

The children of Israel brought the willing offering [verse twenty-nine] to the LORD, every man and every woman, whose heart was made willing to bring for all the manner of work, which the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses. And Moses said to the children of Israel, See, the LORD has called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri; he has filled him with the spirit of God, wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge, and all manner of workmanship (35:29-31);

So these talents and abilities given to him by God in craftsman to devise all of these fancy works, the work of gold and silver and brass, the cutting of the stones to set them, the carving of wood.

And he put it in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab. Them that he has filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and the cunning workman, to do the embroidery, in blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen (35:34-35).

Chapter 36

Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and wise hearted, in whom the LORD had put the wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put the wisdom, even everyone whose heart had stirred him up to come to work to do it (36:1-2):

So again it was God stirring up people's hearts to come and do the work. Every fellow that just felt, “Oh man, I would like to come down to work”. God stirred their hearts. They came and worked and it was done. The work of God was done with willing hearts. The work of God is always accomplished through willing hearts. God stirs a person's heart to do something.

That's exciting to be around a bunch of men whose hearts have stirred by God, where you don't have to be constantly be pushing and pressuring and tugging on them. The hardest thing in the world is to try to pastor a church whose nobody's heart has been stirred and you are just constantly fighting it. But when you get with a bunch of guys whose hearts have been stirred by the Lord, well, just like what happened here, man, you've got to put the brakes on. You've got to say, "All right, that's enough; we've got enough."

And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people have brought much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD has commanded to make. And so Moses gave commandment, they caused it to be proclaimed all throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing (36:5-6).

Man, that's real revival when you have to tell the people, "All right, that's enough don't bring anymore." Isn't that neat? For the stuff that they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, actually they had too much.

So they began to make, first of all, the linen curtains that were to cover the tent. And then they began to make these goats' hair curtains that were to go over the top of the linen curtains that had all this fancy embroidery work in it. Then they made the rams' skins that they had dyed red as the third covering over the top of the goats' hair. Then they made the boards and the sockets of silver that the boards set in to go around the perimeter of the tabernacle.

And as you remember it was fifteen feet by forty-five feet. And they made these forty sockets of silver to set these gold overlaid acacia boards in. They made the bars that would run through the rings to hold them in an upright position. And in chapter thirty-eight, we are told that the amount of gold that was used in verse twenty-four, for the work and all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels.

So in reality it was about eight hundred and seventy thousand dollars worth of gold at thirty-two dollars an ounce. So now at four hundred dollars an ounce, just about ten million dollars worth of gold used for the overlaying of the tables and the making of the mercy seat and the cherubim, and so forth. And the silver that was numbered among the congregation was one hundred talents and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels after the shekel of the sanctuary. So it was totaled out to in silver again down in the present price at about one hundred and ninety-four thousand dollars at the one dollar and eighty cents per troy ounce. And so this was a beautiful, expensive little tabernacle that they were building for God, a little tent where they might meet God in the wilderness.

And then in chapter thirty-nine they began to make these garments for Aaron, and we went over these last week. And so it's just sort of a repetition, only now they are making it. They made the robe; they made the blue robe that went over the linen robe. Then they made that little ephod which is sort of an apron, and they made the breastplate. They made the golden girdle, the sash that went around the ephod. They carved out the names in the little onyx stones that held the ephod together at his shoulders. They made the mitre and the crown for the priest to wear.

And in all of these things, notice at the end of verse twenty-six "as the LORD commanded Moses"; the end of verse twenty-nine "as the LORD commanded Moses"; thirty-one "as the LORD commanded Moses"; thirty-two at the end "as the LORD commanded Moses"; "so did they". Verse forty-two,  "according to all that the LORD commanded Moses so the children of Israel made all the work and Moses did look upon all the work and behold they had done it as the LORD had commanded even so they had done it and Moses blessed them." So everything was done right according to the blueprints, right as the Lord had ordered. Why? Because these were all to be a model of things in Heaven.

Chapter 40

And so the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shall thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. And thou shall put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with a veil. And you are to bring in the table, and set it in its place with the candlesticks, and the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, put the hanging on the door of the tabernacle. Thou shall set on the altar the burnt offering before the door [and so forth]. Thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water therein. And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate. And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and thou shalt hallow it and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy (40:1-9).

Now the opening was to be toward the east. So that would be back behind us by which you would have entered into the tabernacle, the opening towards the east. You would first of all enter this outer courtyard, which had these curtains hanging all the way around, seventy-five by one hundred and fifty feet courtyard, with these curtains seven and a half feet high. You would enter through this gate area of curtains on the east end.

As you came into the courtyard, the first thing that would be in front of you would be the altar of sacrifice, seven and a half feet square on the top and four and a half feet high. And the fire would be there upon the altar for the roasting of the meat and the offering. Beyond the altar there would be this brass laver, in which the priests would bathe before they entered into this little fifteen-foot high tent enclosure. Now all the way around this fifteen-foot high tent enclosure were these acacia boards that were about twenty-seven inches wide overlaid with gold, fifteen inches high, sort of set in sockets of silver and tongue and groove into each other.

Over the top of these golden covered boards that were held upright by these golden rings and these gold overlaid sticks that went through the rings holding them upright position. The first covering over it as you would go inside, of course, you see the gold walls, and you would see then in the ceiling, the linen, colored embroidered, work of linen, the first covering over the top, the linen covering.

Over the top of that there would be a goats' hair covering. Over the top of that there would be these rams' skins that were dyed red. Over the top of that, the badgers' skins that were sort of waterproof to keep the thing waterproof inside. As you would enter this gold staved little building that was actually forty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide, you would be entering it, also pulling back the curtain entering it from the east.

 Over on your left-hand side as you would enter, over on this side, there would be this candleholder with seven candles of which this is sort of a model up here. With the lights flickering in the top of it, the wick in the oil kept burning constantly. Over on your right-hand side there would be this little low table of about three feet by eighteen inches or so on the top, and it was overlaid with gold.

And you would see twelve loaves of bread sitting on this little table to the right. The loaves would be changed every week. Directly in front of you there would be another beautifully embroidered curtain. This curtain having the cherubim embroidered on it and in front of it there would be a little golden altar with four horns on it, the altar of incense, where the priests would come and wave the little incense burners before this altar of incense and behind this curtain.

Then you would enter into a room that was a fifteen-foot cube. Again on the walls, on the sides, and on the back you would see just the gold of the overlaid acacia boards. Above your head again you would see the fancy embroidered work of the fine linen, gold, purple, blue and red with the cherubim and all embroidered in it. You would see in this room a golden box with a golden lid. And upon the golden lid there were these two golden cherubim that were carved there on the lid. Of course you wouldn't see it because only the high priests could see that and only once a year.

And thus, you have an idea of the tabernacle where God met the people, and thus the thing was made according to the plan that God had given. And now the time has come, really, for the anointing of the thing.

And in verse nine,

thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is in it, thou shall hallow it, and the vessels thereof: shall be holy. You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all of those vessels, sanctify the altar: there will be an altar most holy. Thou shalt anoint the laver, that brass laver with its foot, and sanctify it. Thou shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them. [There in that laver, that bathtub that was there.] And thou shall put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shall bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shall anoint them, as you did anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generation. And thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did. And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up (40:9-17).

So the second year they came out of Egypt on the first month, which was the celebration of when they came out because they came out on Passover. They then raised up this tabernacle there in the wilderness.

 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, fastened the sockets, set up the boards, and put the bars in it, and reared up the pillars (40:18).

Now there were four pillars that were across the front of the golden pillars and also on the inside before the Holy of Holies.

He spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, put the covering of the tent upon it; as the LORD commanded him. He took and put the testimony in the ark (40:19-20),

So the testimony would be these two little tables of stone upon which had been etched the Ten Commandments. They were put in this ark.

and he put the mercy seat above it. He brought the ark into the tabernacle, set the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD had commanded him. He put the table in the tent of the congregation, on the side of the tabernacle northward (40:20-22),

As I say it was on the east end, it would be over here on the right side, the northward side opposite the veil.

He set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD commanded him. He put the candlestick over against the table, [on the left side,] the south side of the tabernacle. He lighted the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD commanded him. He put the golden altar in the tent before the veil: and there he began to burn the sweet incense on it; as the LORD commanded. He set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle [that is the curtain that covered the front]. And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD had commanded Moses. And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and he put water in it, to wash everything. And Moses and Aaron and his son, washed their hands and their feet at it: and then they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near to the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses. And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle [That is that seven and a half-foot curtain hanging in the court gates]. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud was abiding on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud was not taken up, then they journeyed not until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, the fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys (40:23-38).

So can you imagine what that would be like as you are constantly reminded of the presence of God because the tabernacle was in the midst of the camp and the Israelites were encamped all around about the tabernacle. And any night you could get up and look towards the tabernacle, and you would see this fire of God hovering over that tabernacle. That must have been awesome. You know if you had insomnia, you get up at night and you go to take a walk looking towards the tabernacle you'd see this fire of God's presence.

During the day looking towards the tabernacle you would see this cloud resting there. When the cloud would lift and move, then the people would go and fold the whole thing up and carry it off. And they would follow the cloud until it would stand still. They would set the tabernacle, the cloud would come down and set upon the tabernacle; and thus, they were led through the forty years in the wilderness constantly reminded of the presence of God as they looked at the tabernacle, the place of meeting. But I love that verse that declared “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle”.

Oh you know, the heavens of heavens cannot contain God, but when you experience the presence of God, the glory of God filling the house. My heart longs to experience more of the glory of God in my life. I would like to see us all just take off some day and just spend the day here, just waiting upon God, opening our hearts to Him through worship and praise throughout the day. Just that we might see the glory of the Lord fill His house, tabernacle, the place of meeting. This is the place where we come to meet God. Of course, we meet God everywhere we are, but where as the body collectively; we come to meet God. How glorious it would be to see the glory of the Lord just filling this place. Whew. Father, with Moses we pray that we might see thy glory. God, we pray that you will captivate our hearts with thyself, that we will become less interested in the glory of the world and more interested in the glory of God. Oh Father, demonstrate thy glory to thy people. Let them experience, Lord, the glory of your presence during this week. Oh, God, draw us away from the world and draw us unto Thyself and bring us unto Thyself, Lord, in a special way. In Jesus’ name, we ask it.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.