Read Exodus 23

Highlights:

Three very important feasts and the pattern of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant — all symbolic of Christ and His relationship with believers today.

And let them make Me a Sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the Tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it (Ex. 25:8-9).

As evidence of the Israelites' covenant relationship with God, they were commanded: Ye shall serve the LORD your God (23:25). God alone determines what worship of Him is acceptable; thus He gave Moses detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle after the pattern of the one in Heaven (Heb. 8:5). It was to be a portable tent, appropriate for their wilderness journey, made from material given by every man that giveth it willingly with his heart (Ex. 25:2).

The parts of the Tabernacle and its furnishings all in some way foreshadowed the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Tabernacle had a threefold purpose — to provide: a way for the Israelites to obtain a right relationship with God; a place for them to serve Him; and a place for God to dwell.

The Israelites were to follow the Lord's leading as to when to move and when to camp by following His visible presence in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (13:21-22; 14:19-20,24; 19:9; 24:15-18; 33:9-10).

Like Jesus, of whom Isaiah prophesied: There is no beauty that we should desire Him (Is. 53:2). In outward appearance, the Tabernacle was unattractive. It was covered with rams' skins . . . and a covering above of badgers' skins (Ex. 26:14). A white linen wall of separation was symbolic of the holiness of God and excluded all Gentiles from the Tabernacle. We cannot approach God on our own terms, but can only approach Him obediently in the way prescribed by God Himself. This linen curtain illustrates that sin has separated all mankind from the Holy Presence of God. And it is a reminder: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).

There was only one door through which the worshiper could enter to present his sacrifice (Ex. 26:36). Again we see Jesus portrayed as He said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door (John 10:7). For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).

As was fitting, the Tabernacle and all its furniture were eventually destroyed since Christ fulfilled all they represented. Today, access to God can be obtained only through our Lord Jesus Christ which he has offered freely to those who accept Him as Saviour and Lord (Matt. 10:32).

I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9).

Thought for Today:

Isn't it amazing that such a Holy God would make a way for us as sinful people to have access to His presence?

Christ Revealed:

As the Ark of the Covenant (Testimony). The wood demonstrates His humanity; the gold overlay represented His deity. Only through His blood sprinkled on the Ark could one receive forgiveness. God dwelt above the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:10-22). Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).

Word Studies:

23:2 decline after many, yield to the evil majority; 23:8 gift, bribe; 23:13 be circumspect, take heed, be cautious; 23:31 sea of the Philistines, Mediterranean Sea; 25:10 cubit, about 18 inches; 25:37 over against it, on the opposite wall.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Andy P. Harris (MD) and Rep. Richard L. Hanna (NY) • Country: Norway (4.45 million) in northern Europe • Major language: Norwegian • Religious freedom • 87.8% Evangelical Lutheran; 3.8% Other Protestant and Catholic; 3.2% None; 5.2% Other (Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Jehovah's Witness) • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your life will always be pleasing to God (John 8:29).

Optional Reading: Matthew 25

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 100:4