The Tabernacle Erected
40 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil. And you shall bring in the table and arrange it, and you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle. You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. And you shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court.
“Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it may become holy. You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar may become most holy. You shall also anoint the basin and its stand, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest. You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”
This Moses did; according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. Moses erected the tabernacle. He laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars. And he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark and set the mercy seat above on the ark. And he brought the ark into the tabernacle and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil, and arranged the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil, and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle. And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses. And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.
The Glory of the Lord
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. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 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 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Over and over through this chapter we read, “… as the Lord had commanded.”
Obedience plain and simple.
For many chapters, God laid out the plans, His plans, for the Tabernacle where the people could meet and worship Him. Details have been exact. The final chapter of Exodus tells of how Moses did everything God stated in the instructions as the Lord had commanded. From the smallest to the greatest details, Moses followed through. There are no mentions of Moses negotiating or putting his own spin to what he had to do. There are no accounts of him doing a half job. He gave his all with the instruction of God.
When God makes things clear, we are to follow through exactly with what He’s asking. Down to every single detail – what He asks there is purpose. There is reason. Even when we may feel as though we have a ‘better idea’, we must do all God asks.
Practically speaking we know this is easier said than done. Many times we don’t want to do what was asked. Other times we struggle to follow the exact instructions. Sometimes we feel we have a better way or a shortcut. Obedience is following what God instructs to a T.
The beauty revealed here though is the end of the chapter. God’s presence came down and was with the people. When we walk in obedience we have the promise of God being right alongside. Exodus ends with an amazing statement not only to the Israelites but us. Even though they found themselves as nomads, living in the desert, hardships and enemies surrounding, even weak in their humanness, God was with them. Obedience does this. It brings assurance of what we’re doing and gives us the strength to complete the task. It directs our thoughts toward faith beyond the perceived reality.
Exodus 40 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The glory of God came down and dwelled in the constructed tent. Previously, when God came near to the people, they were terrified. Now, they are overjoyed at His presence. They have been obedient in their service and construction, and now they are following His presence wherever it leads.
Years later, under the New Covenant, the incarnation of Christ brings God to a man instead of a tent. History illustrated that the presence of God in rituals and laws would not truly change the human heart. It would take a God-man to walk this planet before us and model the image of God in all its glory. It would take a God-man to sacrifice Himself, willingly, so that we might bear God’s image.
They had hardly left the structure when the cloud that had guided their march settled down upon it, and the glory of the Lord-“the Shechinah”-shone within the Tabernacle itself. Moses immediately hastened back, and found the Presence of God so manifestly in possession that he dared not enter. Behold! The tabernacle of God was with men. So in after years the Divine Word dwelled in the mortal body of Jesus. See Joh 1:14, 2Co 5:1, Rev 21:3. This is the worthy close of this great book of the Exodus.F. B. Meyer
The feeling that comes from reading Exodus and all that was done under the Old Covenant should bring us great joy being under Jesus Christ. The fully revealed Christ and Holy Spirit allow us to experience His presence in confidence, assurance, and love. We are so blessed.