The tabernacle was a portable sanctuary for the Levites to do their holy work in. It was constructed according to the strict and precise blueprint that God gave to Moses. This tabernacle of Exodus served a real purpose for the Israelites but it also served a prophetic purpose being an image of the things to come. The objects within the tabernacle combined with the activities that took place there stood for things that we are now able to enjoy, thanks to Jesus’s finishing work of Law (Heb 9, Mat 5:17).
God tells Moses to carve out two more stone tablets (remember his last trip down the mountain led to him shattering the first set) because he once again going to meet with God on Mount Sinai. So Moses goes up the mountain again for 40 days without food or water. God spells out to Moses the requirements of a simple covenant in which God says if Israel will obey His voice they will be victorious over their enemies. After his meeting with God, Moses goes back down the mountain and his face shines supernaturally, perhaps because of his prolonged exposure to God’s glory. Apparently this was bothersome because he wore a veil to cover it up. Many have made connections between the shining of Moses’ face with Jesus’s transfigured body, angel’s luminous presence, and Adam & Eve’s state before sin. Some say that Adam and Eve shone with glorious light until they sinned which resulted in them loosing their glorified image and seeing themselves as “naked”. Perhaps our glorified or resurrected bodies will shine as Moses’s face did, we don’t know. But let’s just agree that when you meet with God, there are serious and visible changes!
The account of the Israelites worshiping the golden calf is among one of the most famous stories of the Bible, and probably the only one that most people know of when they think about the book of Exodus, or the Old Testament. Moses had been on the mountain for 40 days getting what I call the “Holy Spirit download” of the Law and perhaps Genesis as well. Can you imagine being in God’s presence for 40 days? Moses did this on 3 different notable occasions (and perhaps more) and fasted during some of them. If we set apart this much time to be with God imagine what we would know, what we would have experienced, and how much closer we would be to our God!
At the end of chapter 17 in Exodus is a short story of Israel’s engagement in battle against Amalek and his forces. As strange as it sounds, somehow Moses discovered that when he raised his rod, the Israelites began to win in the battle, and when he lowered it they began to loose. I wonder if Moses caught on to God using him and his rod, probably everywhere he went he took that rod, you never know when God would ask him to use it. God turned it in to snakes and back in to a rod before Pharaoh, He used it to part the Red Sea, He used it to bring water out of a rock, and now to be victorious over the enemy. Perhaps our modern equivalent to Moses’s rod is the memorized and spoken Word of God. We lean on it and God uses us as we use it (the scriptures) in obedience to Him.
In Exodus chapter 16 we find Israel leaving an oasis with 12 springs and 70 palm trees (perhaps symbolic of the 12 disciples and 70 disciples in Luke 10) and entering the wilderness once again. This is now 2 months and 15 days after leaving Egypt. Despite Israel’s abundant praises to God in the previous chapter they are once again complaining to Moses (instead of praying to God) about their unfavorable conditions. One of Israel’s problems which may have originated from their years in Egypt was that they never prayed to God for help but complained to a man (Moses) instead. To get through our desert we must put our trust in God instead of man (Psalms 118:6-8). None the less, in response to their complaining, God promises bread from heaven and quail for meat. Here God has provided for their basic need – food, but later with the coming of the Messiah we see God providing for an even more important need – salvation and forgiveness (John 6:27).
God commands the Israelites to put some of the manna they gathered in a jar to remind the future generations of God’s provision in the desert. This jar was later stored in the Ark of the Covenant and kept with Israel as a reminder. Take time to remember what God has provided you. Don’t forget His many blessings.TO help you in this I suggest making a “blessings journal” and write in it every detail about each circumstance that God brought you out of. With this you can remind yourself in dark times of God’s faithfulness and you can share your many testimonies with others.
The Manna was considered bread from heaven, in the Bible, bread has many significant roles.
The manna in the desert gathered and eaten daily.
The bread of the tabernacle (and the temple) baked daily and set before the holy of holies.
The bread (and fish) which Jesus divided for the multitudes.
The bread that was eaten in the last supper which symbolized Christ’s body.
In John 6 Jesus calls Himself the “bread of life” which came from heaven to feed the spiritual need of man which no other thing could satisfy. Manna in Exodus was a prophetic type of Christ, it came from God, not from man. It was God’s provision, and it was just enough for each person as Christ is always enough for us. They had to gather it daily as we should commune with Christ daily.
Soon after leaving Egypt, God led the Israelites to the Red Sea. By this time the Egyptian army was chasing after them because Pharaoh had changed his mind (again). God instructed Moses on what to do with his rod and he simply obeyed. As a result the Red Sea was split by a miraculous wind which allowed the Israelites to pass through to the other side safely. An important lesson to be learned from this is the unlimited ability of God to save you regardless of your circumstances (Ephesians 3:20). Never doubt because He is always able (Luke 1:37).
Often God deals with us as He did with the Israelites, He leads us to a place where we are unable to do anything so that He can show His ability and love to us. However, we often misinterpret this situation and feel abandoned by God, unsuccessful in our faith, or trapped without a solution. This is the farthest thing from the truth! God is willing and able to save you from any situation. Now I am not an advocate for “anything bad that happens in your life is from God” but I do believe that the bad things that happen, God can use them for His glory and your growth. These places can be the most uncomfortable to be in but they are the best for your faith. When we are trapped between our Enemy and a sea there we must fully rely on God to save us. We often have no other choice. The way we behave in these hard times decides if we mature in faith or not. Throughout the Bible there have been many impossible situations such as God’s promise of a son to old Abraham (Genesis 15), Mary’s virgin birth (Luke 1), and Jesus’ call for Peter to walk on the water (Matthew 14). Perhaps God led Israel to the Red Sea so that they could see the faithfulness of God and begin their journey with faith in God.
According to Exodus 12 & 13 the Israelites left Egypt on the morning of the 15th day of the first month. They were instructed to eat the Passover lamb and be ready to leave Egypt with packed bags and sandals on.
It was apparent the Jews could not save themselves from slavery, God had to do the work for them as we will see later. God’s plan for Israel required that they be free so He did the work that they could not. Similarly God’s will for mankind requires that we be redeemed from sin (John 3:16), so He did the work and only requires that we believe and receive the work done for us. Just as the Jews left a pagan country where they were enslaved and entered the desert, we have left the world and its many gods and have entered a difficult lifestyle where we must trust God for our needs. It may be uncomfortable at times but at least we are free from bondage! We have to trust God for everything, He is with us .
Just before the Jews left Egypt they asked from the Egyptians articles of gold, silver, and of clothing and they received it. These riches had a holy purpose down the road for the construction of the Tabernacle of God but were misused as the Israelites “played dress up” and acted or at least looked like the pagan country they came from.
In Exodus 33:3-6 God tells them to put off their ornaments and they whore them no longer. After we are saved, the worldly habits and self centered mindsets often still exist and we may find our selves still playing with the things of the world from which we were saved out of. We must be careful to not look like the world or operate on the same principles that the world does. If a person could look at your life but couldn’t tell the difference between you and an unbeliever there is something wrong. As we grow in Christ we learn to let go of those material things as we conform ourselves more and more to Christ’s image instead of the world’s image (Eph 2:3-6, 5:1). Hebrews 12:1 speaks of weights and sins that entangle us, these are things we willingly hold on to from our past. They can also be new things we pick up after we get saved. Let go of the worldly things from your past, put on the garments of praise and set your mind on heavenly things (Rom 8:6-8).