Waiting is something that is hard for us. Waiting to open a gift. Waiting for the results of a medical exam. Waiting for someone we love to arrive. Waiting is something we don’t like to do. The second part of the book of Exodus teaches us the importance of waiting in worship even when we feel that God is taking time. Exodus also shows us our inadequacy to approach God as we are. Finally Exodus shows us the heart of God for the salvation of His people.
In the last part of Exodus, we left the Israelites in the desert camping around Mount Sinai. We saw how they experienced miracle after miracle in the plagues and in their liberation from Egypt. We also saw how they saw the glory of God physically.
In Exodus 19-24 we see how God continues to develop his promise with Abraham in a new covenant with Moses, the Mosaic covenant (Ex 19-24). In this covenant, God choses His people to become His representatives, His priests on Earth. Despite them being an ordinary people, God chooses them so that all men may know God and worship Him. For this to happen, God gives a series of commandments which they must fulfill in order for others to see the blessings of obeying God and imitate them in their worship of the true God. Israel gets excited about this opportunity and they promise to follow God without even thinking about it. Seconds later, however, we see that they were not so convinced of this promise.
Israel is at the foot of Mount Sinai and God calls them to meet with Him. However, they are afraid. (Quite frankly, the description of their presence on Mount Sinai is quite intense), therefore, Israel rejects the invitation, and instead send Moses to meet God alone.
Upon meeting God, Moses receives special instructions for Israel, 10 commandments and 53 more commandments. God also wants to dwell with His people, so he gives Moses structural plans of the Tabernacle so Israel may build it and God’s glory can live there. What a show of love and patience greater than God gives to His people, even when they rejected Him! What we see is how God personally came down to look for them yet again! (Lk 19:10)
If you are reading with us you will run into several rather long and difficult chapters. You may try to skip them because it may seem that there is information that is not relevant, but it is not. On the structural plans of the Tabernacle there are many symbols, mainly from the Garden of Eden, with the purpose of reminding Israel that His presence would be with them in the Tabernacle. We must try to read Exodus, understanding that each word is inspired and useful. If it is in the Bible it has a purpose and a why. Do not skip it!
While we made that pause, something happened in our book. Moses took too long to return. So thinking that Moses would not return or that he had died, the people of Israel ask Aaron to build a golden calf to worship him as god. Do you realize their spiritual amnesia? They broke the first two commandments shortly after promising to obey them! But don’t judge them so quickly because that’s how we are too! We think that God is being too slow or forgot our prayers or doesn’t care and we take things in our hands. The truth is, sisters, that waiting for God is super difficult, but can be a special time of worship trusting in God. Being patient in waiting reflects our faith in God.
The heart of God grieved and became angry for the sins of His people. Our sin saddens and angers God because He is Holy. God tells Moses that He will destroy everyone, but Moses intercedes and, by His grace and because of His glory, God does not destroy them. Because of the Abrahamic covenant and His own glory, even though we humans are not worthy of His forgiveness, He remains faithful to His promises. This is God. Jealous of His glory and jealous of His people and always faithful to Himself and His promises.
Moses goes back to the top of Mount Sinai. God gave him a second set of tablets with His commandments. When Moses returned, his face shone because he had been in the presence of the Father. Israel does not want to see Moses’ face, so they ask him to wear a veil whenever he talks to them. Again, a rebel people who do not want to be in direct contact with God. The beauty of all this however, is that being in the presence of God changes us. Sisters, spending time with God in his Word and in prayer transforms us. It makes its light shine through us and others perceive it.
Finally, we see another set of chapters where Israel builds the Tabernacle according to the plan God had given them. They finish it and the Shekinah glory of God, His presence of God, appears. This Shekinah is so weighty that not even Moses can enter. Observe the devastating effects of sin. Without total forgiveness of our sins through faith in Christ, we cannot enter into God’s presence.
We finish the book of Exodus and again the resounding message is our total inability to reach God as we are and our desperate need for a Savior. In our sinful condition we cannot have access to a relationship with God, even if we are a man or woman like Moses. We are sinners before a Holy God. Fortunately, we have a God who loves us and has set in motion a plan of salvation for humanity. As we continue reading our Bible, we will see how this plan develops until it reaches its full fulfillment in Christ.
1. Have you taken any matter in your hands while waiting for God? What was the result?
2. What can you learn from the Israelites so that when you have to wait on God, you can be patient and trust Him?
3. What has changed in your attitudes after reading Exodus?
4. Find someone in your life who is going through suffering and is waiting on God and encourage her with verses that you have learned in Exodus.
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