Everyone of us wants to buck authority and resist the rules. That is why we have trouble with following the commands of God. The book of Exodus reveals that God is the “I am that I am.” What does that mean? His mighty power brought the new nation out of Egyptian slavery into freedom. God’s plan is to be with us. God wants to be with His people. He is. God essentially said, “I want to come down and dwell with you.” God continues to say in effect, “For me to live with you, three things must be worked out.” Follow the Ten Commandments. Build a tabernacle of meeting. And establish the Levitical priesthood for sacrificial offerings.
God gives guidelines for how we treat God and each other (Exodus 20:1-7). God wants a community of love that reflects the relationships of the Trinity. The Ten Commandments shape the community of love. Commandments 1-4 guide how we treat God. Commandments 5-10 guide how we treat other people. Sadly, the world resists God’s guidelines. We must not walk in the ways of the world. While Moses was away getting the 10 Commandments Aaron built a golden calf and the people worshiped it. God will not be with rebellious people. Moses interceded so that God would not wipe out his rebellious people (Exodus 32:22-23). Jesus spiritualizes the guidelines for how we treat God and each other (Matthew 5-7).
God desires a place to dwell among us (Exodus 25). Specific directions for the making of the Tabernacle had been given to Moses (Exodus 25:8-9). God would dwell in the “Most Holy Place” and no one could see God’s face. Only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on behalf of the people. The Tabernacle was a portable tent (later replaced by the temple). God would guide his people with a moving cloud during the day and by a column of fire at night. Jesus spiritualizes the role of God dwelling with us (Matthew 1:23) and we can become a part of His new temple (I Corinthians 3:16-17).
God requires that sin be atoned for (covered) by shedding of blood. The book of Leviticus provides specific requirements for the priesthood and the sacrifices offered in the Tabernacle. Our sin keeps us separated from God. Each one of us has decide whether to surrender to the works of the flesh or the Spirit. Sin must be dealt with, covered, atoned for, which is why Jesus (the perfect, spotless Lamb) took our place. The sacrificing of animals becomes institutionalized in the priestly sacrificial system so that sin could be constantly atoned for (covered). The new nation (the church, spiritual Israel) needed their sins covered so that God could dwell with them. The rebellion of the golden calf, the intercession of Moses, and the gracious forgiveness of God made it possible for God to dwell with His people (Exodus 33:14-16). Jesus spiritualizes the sacrifices of the people and offers Himself as the High Priest (Hebrews 10:1-18).
Even though we are under the new covenant there is much to learn from the Old Testament. We need to follow the teaching and commandments of God. We need to allow our bodies to be a temple of God. And we must trust in our Great High Priest who offered Himself for us. Have a great week!
You are loved.
Ray Reynolds, PhD