You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Well, today Moses comes to the end of his dialogue with God at the top of Mount Sinai, his closing words. Oh, what do you think they are? Yeah, it's important because someone's last words are a big deal.
Oh, they ring in your ear for a long time. The last thing Moses will hear, what is God going to say today on More Than Ink? Good morning. This is Jim.
And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us today as we work our way through Exodus. Actually, I like to say we're walking. We're walking through that. We're not working. And we are actually almost exactly three quarters of the way through the book because this is chapter 31.
And there's only 40 chapters in the book. Yeah, that's coming down to it. So, look where we are. And we have been most recently with Moses at the top of Mount Sinai as God gives him instructions about God's tent, the tabernacle, how he's going to tent with them, all the symbolism that's reflected in the specific instructions about how to make it and the artisanry of it, the whole thing.
That's where we've been spending our time. And today we come down to God's last words to Moses on the top of the mountain. He's covered everything else and now he's going to, in a sense, he's going to let him know how do we move forward from here.
And, oh, by the way, I have one more very important thing to emphasize. So that's what we're going to look at today, God's last words with Moses at the top of Mount Sinai. Well, and it's interesting, you know, you've been talking about the instructions for the tabernacle. But early on in this segment on the mountain, God gives Moses the ten words, the ten commandments. Ten commandments.
Those aren't part of the instructions of the tabernacle. Those are like the bedrock, the foundation of everything else. So here we're going to get his last two words, which are about work and about rest, today. Exactly. So this is important stuff as we close out this dialogue. This is not trivial.
This is not small. So I'm sure, too, in Moses' mind, before we jump into it, Moses is wondering after he's gotten all of these instructions about all this artisan stuff that's got to be happening. Oh, yeah. How are we going to do this? How are we going to do this? Because we're just shepherds. So now we have instructions, but how do we do this?
Well, God solves that problem right off the bat today. Oh, that's right. And then gets to the very important section.
It's so lovely. So chapter 31. Follow with us. We're at verse 1 of chapter 31. I love this. Okay, I'm going to read, because I love this passage. The Lord said to Moses, See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
And behold, I have appointed with him Aholah, the son of whoever he is, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability that they may make all that I've commanded you, the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that's on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, and the finely worked garments, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons for their services priests, and the anointing oil, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, according to all that I have commanded you, they shall do. Wow. What a list of artistic endeavors.
That's all the stuff we've been talking about for weeks. The stone cutting, and woodworking, and carving, and embroidery, and fabric weaving, and metal working, oh my gosh. It's a formidable task. These are arts that take a lifetime to learn. Yeah, yeah.
And these are arts that it turns out here that God has skilled particular people. And so we look by name this, what did you say, Bezalel? Bezalel. Bezalel and Oholiab. Right, those two I didn't have trouble with.
It was that son of that tripped me up. But let's stick to those guys. Well yeah, and in fact, they're not going to do all the work.
No. They're like foremen in a way. Right.
These guys will be in charge of the work. But what's specific to them, what God has given to them, he says in verse three, God has filled them with the Spirit of God. Isn't that beautiful? That's interesting.
And with ability and intelligence and knowledge and craftsmanship. Okay so it strikes me. That's interesting. That God says I have filled him with the Spirit of God and then those four following things are expressions of what being filled with the Spirit is. That's right, yeah.
Ability and intelligence and knowledge and craftsmanship to devise artistic things. So it turns out that as foremen they're going to direct all this work. Right. Because they've got the smarts, they've got God's Spirit. So even as they're trying to interpret what God had told Moses and then Moses had told them about what it's supposed to look like, the Spirit of God has filled them and they can continue to refine exactly how God wants it to be.
Yeah, they can artistically express these ideas in all of this variety of materials according to the giftedness of the Spirit of God. Yeah, and I think that's just a fascinating thing right there. And the second guy, Oholiab, is kind of his co-foreman.
The two of them together, like you have Moses and Aaron. It's a lot of work. Yeah, it's a lot of work.
So between the two of them, they're going to represent how to direct the work that's supposed to be done because these are the guys that know how. And that comes from the Spirit of God. The Spirit. So I think that's a very important thing that often gets overlooked.
It is, it's really cool. That the Holy Spirit gives gifts of artistry to those he's called to serve him in that way. And that's very important in our family because our children are all artistic, but we have one daughter who actually is a qualified artist.
Professional. She's a professional artist, and so she needed this validation that this is an expression of the giftedness of God. Yeah, yeah. And you know, this is all going to express something about God, everything he's been instructed to make. And so it's not a small thing to say that someone is gifted in being able to express the truth of the character of God in what they create with their hands. Right. This is a really big deal.
This is what this is all about. Because through the work of these guys' hands that God has gifted through his Spirit, they're going to communicate in a visual and profound and wide sense the character of God himself. And lasting way.
In what they make. Yeah. This is really, this is a big, big deal. Their work is going to last for generations, testifying to who God is. And we have their names. Isn't that nice?
It's lovely. They didn't have to sign their work because it's been written in the Bible. This is who did that. I don't think God is going to let them sign their work anyway. Perhaps.
This altar of incense was made by Oh Holy Abba himself. Now when it comes to the actual construction of this stuff later on in the book, we're going to read that there were lots of other people involved. And there were women involved too. Yeah. It's coming. But this is the framework. In fact, I turned ahead to just look at that to preview it. There's an interesting thing he adds in Exodus 35, it's still a couple chapters down the road, when this is actually happening, when these guys are in charge and they're instructing the work, it says actually in chapter 35 verse 34, that God has inspired him to teach. Isn't that interesting? Both him and Oh Holy Abba, the son of Ahisamach, or the tribe of Adam. So there it actually says that explicitly these guys aren't doing all the work, they're capable of all the work, but he also inspired them to teach others how to do the work. And I think there's big stuff there too. It's a massive project that God has assigned to them.
So not only do they have the smarts and the ability and the intelligence and the knowledge through the spirit of what to do and how to do it, but they've also been invested by God with the ability to teach others to do it. That's really powerful, really, really powerful. And we're going to see that happen.
Just a couple chapters later, we're going to see the stuff actually happen. And remember, it was essential that this be done by the power of the spirit of God, because these people were just slaves and shepherds. Exactly.
They had not a clue about how to do all this fine, detailed work. And how many times did we read the work of a perfumer, the work of a jeweler? Right. Right. Who had that kind of training?
Where are all those guys? Right. And if you've read a lot of the Bible, including the New Testament, this should evoke a lot of thoughts in the New Testament about spiritual gifts, that there's a variety of gifts that are given. But all of these gifts that are given for the benefit of helping the body of Christ, serving one another by the body of Christ, they're all enabled by the giving of the Holy Spirit.
It's the same thing altogether. And the gifts are different. Paul emphasizes that in Romans 12, and in 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. I mean, he says the fact that these gifts are all diverse, and together in the body of Christ, they serve the body of Christ in a unified way. And they're all essential. And they're all essential.
And they're different, and they wear differently on different personalities and different genders. And so that's really important for us to remember. Yeah, there's a variety of gifts, but God empowers them all, he says in 1 Corinthians. Right, one spirit.
Right. And so that's not a new idea in the New Testament. It's right here. No, it's right here. It's right here in chapter 31 of Exodus. It's right here. And these gifts are connected to the indwelling of the Spirit of God, which you would think this got pulled out of the New Testament, but this is in the Old Testament, friends.
It's right here. So I think it's just great. Okay, so we know that God has instructed Moses in building his tent, his house, and God himself is going to dwell in it. God is Spirit. Yes.
And Scripture says over and over again, no man has seen God. Yeah. Right? Because he's Spirit. So he's going to invest in these ones who build his house, his own spirit. His own spirit.
To direct them. Yeah. Wow. I think it's great.
It's just great. It's interesting, too, before we move on to the Sabbath comments coming up here, which is a big piece of this, but it's the idea that Moses has the literal words of God in terms of instruction about how to make stuff. But these guys who are filled with the Spirit of God can interpret those words well enough to make what God intended.
And there's some parallels there with us, as well. When we read the word, we read the words of God, because as Spirit indwells you, he enables you to be able to see what's written in those words and get the gist perfectly, which, if you did not have the Spirit of God, you wouldn't. So I thought about this with guys like Ohliab and stuff like that, what a tragedy it would be if they didn't have the Spirit of God, and they tried to interpret these few words that they got from Moses about how to make the cherubim, they go, well, I'll make it like this. And it could have been a train wreck.
It could have looked horrible. But because the Spirit of God is in them, they can hear the words of God from Moses and get exactly. They can interpret exactly. What God had in mind. There's a strong connection between the indwelling spirit and us and our ability to read his word and get it.
And they get it that way. Well, let's move on to the Sabbath. What do you say? I think we'd better.
Yeah, we'd better. Okay. And I want to make note that this chapter falls very neatly into these two sections. The first one describes the work, the actual working out of the building of the tabernacle. And the second one is all about the Sabbath. So which is about not work, work, and rest, work, and not work, and not work. And I just had never noticed that before, back to back, it's very, very clear.
It's back to back. So this is the work, and now the final word, my final word to you is rest. Well, it makes sense. I mean, if Moses is up there getting ready to leave, and he's got all these instructions, he's got this design manual for the tabernacle, you would think as he's nearing the end of this discussion, you'd say, okay, God, we got it, we're going to go down, we're going to get right on top of this. Fire it up.
We're going to go for this. And God says, eh, eh, eh, don't forget the rest part. So that's where we get to in verse 12. Let me read this for us.
Yeah, please. The Sabbath. You're to speak to the people of Israel and say, above all, above all, you shall keep my Sabbath, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I the Lord sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it's holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death.
Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among the people. Six days you shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations as a covenant forever. It's a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.
We'll save that last verse for the end. So God's quite serious about the Sabbath. About keeping the Sabbath, which is guarding, set a hedge around it, protect it, regard it as special, worth keeping. Yeah, even if you're saying, well, Moses, we've got to work today because we're building the tabernacle. We've got to get this done. We're on a mission from God here, we've got to get this done. And God's saying, eh, rest. Don't violate it. I'm giving you all this instruction above all. You are doing important work, but keep the Sabbath. Why?
Because, he says, you're my people and this is the sign, you're my people, that you can rest in me, in my presence, in my provision, you can rest. Hold still, stop working. You know, in our culture we have weekends off. We work five days a week. Some people have weekends off. Some people have weekends off. But you know, we have it built into our schedules.
But in the ancient world, you know, this is not normal. Well, in agrarian culture, you can milk your cows seven days a week. You work all the time. You work all the time. And if you're growing plants and there's pests out there, you go out there and you pull the pests off and you pull weeds every day.
You let a day go and man, you know, it's going to go downhill real fast. So there was quite a, I don't know what you want to call it, enslavement to your work of getting things done. Because you were afraid that if you neglected it for a little bit, your harvest or your output, you may not be able to feed your family.
It was terrifying. Well, there was an urgency attached to it. Because if you neglected the work, then yes, your crop got eaten by bugs or your animals wandered away or your, you know, so to refrain from that work from tending your own stuff one day out of seven was a huge mark of identity for the Jews. And it was a demonstration in reality of trusting God for the day that you didn't work. So what the Sabbath really says is, I can rest today and not work because I know that God's going to cover for me. And if you remember, and we read this back at earlier in Exodus, when they first came out into the wilderness, God said, now I'm going to feed you. And he gave them manna every day for all the 40 years they were in the wilderness, except on the Sabbath.
Except on the Sabbath. So he said, don't go out and gather on the Sabbath because on the day before the Sabbath, when you go out to gather, you're going to gather twice as much. He didn't tell them now try real hard to gather twice as much. He just said you're going to gather twice as much because I'm not giving it to you tomorrow because I want you to rest and trust me. Well isn't it interesting he didn't say on one day you shall not gather and by the way you're going to have to fast that day because there's no food.
Oh yeah. What he said was, no there'll be plenty of food. He gave it to you ahead of time. I gave it to you ahead of time.
Yeah. So there'll be plenty of food. So don't worry about that. So that's really the trust aspect on the Sabbath. You'll have plenty of food.
Just take the time off man and rest. Just do this. Just enjoy what I've given you and give thanks because you're my people. Right. And it's literally that. It's a time to enjoy what God's work is on your behalf and not your own work on your behalf. That's what it's all about. And we do that.
Keep the Sabbath because I'm keeping you. Yeah. Yeah. Hmm. So this is a remarkable again fingerprint on God's people from this point on is the fact as they're heard about through other generations and other cultures, they'll say well those are the people that don't work one day a week.
Right. Are they crazy? They must be starving. And no actually their God takes care of them through this time of just resting and enjoying what God's done on their behalf and God's holding down the fort while they're resting.
And they're enjoying who God is as a result. In fact if you ever meet a farmer this push to constantly stay on top of things is part of their mindset all the time. But when you tell them why don't you take a day off. Okay I think I can take a day off. What do they do on their day off? What they do on their day off is they enjoy their family, they enjoy everything that's around them. They enjoy their circumstance. And this is exactly what God's saying to the farmers here in Israel.
Take a day off and enjoy what I've done on your behalf. I mean just enjoy life. I mean who wouldn't go for that? But again if you're not going to trust God it's hard to do this. Yeah it's an act of trust. It's an act of trust.
To stop working to meet your own needs. Yeah. Now what do you make of this in the end of it? And this is an important point when we get to 17 because he says the Sabbath is like a sign. Okay it's a sign.
A pointer right? Yeah. So 17, it's a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in, here it is, in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. So God's tying this sign to a remembrance of the fact that God made the earth in six days and then rested. That's the point of the sign. That's the point of the sign.
Well yes and he didn't rest because he was tired. Right right. Isn't he reminding them, hey I'm the source of everything and when I had done it completely and made for you what you needed I stopped working and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed what's there exactly. And if you read the Genesis account we get, it's good, it's good, it's good, God says it's good, it's good, it's good, it's good and then after the creation of Eve it's very good. Very good. And then it's done. And then it's done. Complete.
And God. Satisfied. Held still. Right.
Stopped working. And I love the way it says this in verse 17, on the seventh day he rested, he ceased work and was refreshed. You know that word refresh is translated there, it means literally and he took a breath. Took a breath.
That's right. We still say that when somebody's all spun up, don't we say, take a breath. Take a breath. Right. Slow down, take a breath.
Stop and take a breath. Yeah. And it gives you this wonderful visible reinforcement of God kind of, now this is not sacrilegious, but kicks back in his lounge chair, puts his arms above his head, behind his neck and takes deep breath and is satisfied with what he sees. Yes, it's the satisfaction. It's the satisfaction with the work that's done. Joy is the satisfaction of having completed what he set out to do.
Right. If we're God's people, then we need to take one day and kick back in the lounge chair and put our hands behind our neck and take a deep breath and say, I'm satisfied with what God has done for me. And I'm content in that, that's exactly what the Sabbath is supposed to be. I'm content in God's work for me and I'm not going to let this domination of the bearing down of the work just make me crazy. I'm going to sit back and say, it's not about my work. I'm going to be sit here and satisfied in the completeness of God's work on my behalf. That is the Sabbath right there in the heart of it. You know, it's very interesting to me that by the time of Jesus, the keeping of the Sabbath had become a burden so long in itself, it didn't take them very long to begin to try and figure out how to wiggle out from under that. Just take a rest, take a rest and to find all these squirrelly little loopholes for things that they could do. Yeah, what you couldn't, couldn't do, how you're going to violate or not violate God's law.
I mean, we could go on for hours and not simply hold still and enjoy God's presence. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Jesus says, you know, you tithe, mint, dill and coon, you know, you do all the, do all these silly minute things trying to satisfy God and you miss the big stuff, man. You miss the big stuff. So resting on the Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath doesn't mean not doing anything.
No, no, no, no. It means enjoying God. It means putting the work of God in the forefront rather than your right and being satisfied and delighting in what he's done on our behalf. Which is why, you know, when you come to the New Testament and Jesus says that it's finished, God's work for us through Christ is finished, it's done. So in a real sense, knowing the completeness and the satisfied completeness and contentment of what Christ has done for us, his work for us, we can kick back like seven days a week and be content in what God has accomplished for us. Well that's just a synopsis of the whole second half of the book of Hebrews.
That's exactly right. So I think we also, I see it because we get hung up in the Christian church too about so what day is the Sabbath day? Well all of life after Christ is the Sabbath day. We have entered the Sabbath, we've entered God's rest.
Because we're satisfied and content with what he's done for us on our behalf, he's done this for us. Okay, we're going to write out a time before we do this last verse. We'll get one last verse.
And he gave to Moses when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai that two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God. Boom. It's over.
It's over. It's written in stone. You know, in our culture we say things that can be changed, we say well it's not written in stone. Right. Well this is written in stone. This is where it comes from right here.
It's lasting, it cannot be changed, it will not be changed. Right, right. Yeah, it's there. It's not on a piece of paper that could burn, it's on stone. God himself wrote it on the stone. Written with the finger of God. Whoa.
Whoa. So now we get to the end of this discourse with God. He's got his two tablets of stone and he turns around and he's getting ready to walk down the hill. But he's got this, the Ten Commandments for them. And this is not so much about how to build the tabernacle, in fact there's nothing in here about building the tabernacle on these stones.
On the stones. No, it's all about the nature of Israel as God's people living with God. And what that looks like in ten simple statements. So go back to chapter 19 and 20 of Exodus and read them. And look who God is and who we are consequently. How do God's people live? And you'll find that observing, keeping the Sabbath right in the middle.
It's there. Right? But the front part is all about who is God and what does that mean for us. And the second part is all about so how do we live, but right in the middle is glowing point, in the middle is keeping the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath. Putting God's work on our behalf in the center of our life, appreciating who God is in our midst. That's what the Sabbath is all about.
That's what we're supposed to do. Okay so we have to talk about the tablets of stone for a minute. Because again if you take your concordance and look, tablets of stone, you'll turn up a whole bunch of references right here in Exodus, a few in other places, but then you'll find in the New Testament 2 Corinthians 3 where Paul talks about God writing the law not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
And he's going to then unpack this idea of this new covenant that comes out of Jeremiah 31. Do you want to read that? Do you have it in front of you? Okay I have it. Do you have it? I have it. It's right here. Oh yeah this will change your life. So let me read this to you.
We've read it before. I'll start in verse 31. Behold days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. And I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach again each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them declares the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Wow. And that is the covenant that is written on tablets of our living hearts by God's Holy Spirit. So if you just heard that and said, wait, wait, wait, where is that? It's Jeremiah 31.
Go back and take a look at it. Verse 31 to 34 is what I just read. It's just astonishing. But here we have at the end of this chapter in Exodus with these 10 commandments on the stones and here in Jeremiah he says, yeah, but the intention is that instead of writing these things with the finger of God on stone, he's going to write them on our hearts. But again, that's the new covenant. In fact, that's what Jeremiah calls it is the new covenant. So no longer is the law some external thing you apply from the stones in your life. It's something that actually comes from the inside of us and works its way out into our actions. It's part of our hearts.
And as we read along in the chapter, written internally and flows by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God given to us. Exactly. Way different. Same content, different place that it's written. Different power.
Different power. Well, hey, that's jumping forward a lot of millennia to get to there, but we're glad you're with us. And next time we're going to come down off the mountain and things are going to be all rosy, right?
That's just going to be wonderful. Not so much. Not so much. So we'll see what happens.
It's really a stark contrast to these wonderful moments we've had at the top of Mount Sinai. So come back and join us next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content.
To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. Clumsy words. Clumsy, clumsy words. I like it.
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