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Exodus 39:22-31

22 Then he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of [o]blue; 23 and the opening of the robe was at the top in the center, as the opening of a coat of mail, with a binding all around its opening, so that it would not be torn. 24 They made pomegranates of [p]blue and purple and scarlet material and twisted linen on the hem of the robe. 25 They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all around on the hem of the [q]robe, 26 [r]alternating a bell and a pomegranate all around on the hem of the robe for the service, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

27 They made the tunics of finely woven linen for Aaron and his sons, 28 and the turban of fine linen, and the decorated [s]caps of fine linen, and the linen breeches of fine twisted linen, 29 and the sash of fine twisted linen, and [t]blue and purple and scarlet material, the work of the [u]weaver, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

30 They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and [v]inscribed it like the engravings of a signet, “Holy to the Lord.” 31 They [w]fastened a [x]blue cord to it, to [y]fasten it on the turban above, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Everything they did was “as the Lord had commanded…” There was to be no deviation here, no improvising, no shortcuts. God had commanded everything exactly as it was to be done, and so it was. God isn’t always so precise in His commands, but He IS exacting when it comes to holiness and purity. No blemish can come before Him, which is why we are wholly unqualified to enter fellowship with our Creator apart from the sacrifice of Christ that paid for our sins once and for all.

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Exodus 39:8-21

He made the breastpiece, the work of a skillful workman, like the workmanship of the ephod: of gold and of [i]blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. It was square; they made the breastpiece folded double, a span [j]long and a span [k]wide when folded double. 10 And they [l]mounted four rows of stones on it. The first row was a row of ruby, topaz, and emerald; 11 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond;12 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 13 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were set in gold filigree settings when they were [m]mounted.14 The stones were corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve, corresponding to their names, engraved with the engravings of a signet, each with its name for the twelve tribes. 15 They made on the breastpiece chains like cords, of twisted cordage work in pure gold. 16 They made two gold filigree settings and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastpiece. 17 Then they put the two gold cords in the two rings at the ends of the breastpiece. 18 They put the other two ends of the two cords on the two filigree settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod at the front of it.19 They made two gold rings and placed them on the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inner edge which was next to the ephod. 20 Furthermore, they made two gold rings and placed them on the bottom of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, on the front of it, close to the place where it joined, above the woven band of the ephod. 21 They bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a [n]blue cord, so that it would be on the woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece would not come loose from the ephod, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The ephod itself had the names of the sons of Israel, although it doesn’t specify if they were the actual birth sons, or the names of the tribes (slightly different). In any case, the twelve precious stones on the breastpiece made it clear that the high priest represented the twelve tribes before God. It is a reminder to those in leadership of any kind, to be aware of who we represent, before God AND man. To men we represent God, as well as those we lead, and even possibly our workplace. For those in spiritual leadership (no matter how small) we represent those we lead and love before God when we pray. Even a father or husband, or wife can have a leadership role in the family, a role which is of vital importance. Let us not forget that, and live accordingly.

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Exodus 39:1-7

39 Moreover, from the [a]blue and purple and scarlet material, they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place [b]as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

He made the ephod of gold, and of [c]blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen. Then they hammered out gold sheets and cut them into threads [d]to be woven in with the [e]blue and the purple and the scarlet material, and the fine linen, the work of a skillful workman. They made attaching shoulder pieces for [f]the ephod; it was attached at its two upper ends. The skillfully woven band which was on it was like its workmanship,[g]of the same material: of gold and of [h]blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

They made the onyx stones, set in gold filigree settings; they were engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel. And he placed them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as memorial stones for the sons of Israel, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The ephod was one of the most important priestly garments, and it shows from the material that was used to fashion it. The fine blue, purple and scarlet just wasn’t enough for the ephod. The workman went a step further and fashioned thread from gold. Yes, from real gold. With our modern machinery, that doesn’t seem such an incredible feat, but with the technology of Moses’ day, this must have been a painstaking and time consuming endeavor. But it was all worth it to ensure that the High Priest was adorned properly to meet with God and atone for the sins of the people (including himself). Least we get too carried away with adornments, however, we need to also keep this in context. The adornments were not to impress the people. The adornments were to please God, and no other. It is difficult to find a balance there, but the important thing is to keep our focus on the One who matters most in all the world.

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Exodus 38:21-31

21 [af]This is the number of the things for the [ag]tabernacle, the [ah]tabernacle of the testimony, as they were [ai]numbered according to the [aj]command of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 22 Now Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord had commanded Moses.23 With him was Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and a skillful workman and a [ak]weaver in [al]blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and fine linen.

24 All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the wave offering, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 25 The silver of those of the congregation who were [am]numbered was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; 26 a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were [an]numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27 The hundred talents of silver were for casting the [ao]sockets of the sanctuary and the [ap]sockets of the veil; one hundred [aq]sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a [ar]socket. 28 Of the 1,775 shekels, he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their tops and made [as]bands for them. 29 The bronze of the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30 With it he made the [at]sockets to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and the bronze altar and its bronze grating, and all the utensils of the altar, 31 and the [au]sockets of the court all around and the [av]sockets of the gate of the court, and all the pegs of the [aw]tabernacle and all the pegs of the court all around.

After reading this, it is interesting to remember that the Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt. They didn’t have a lot of posessions, and probably very little gold and silver. But when God was getting ready to deliver them from Egypt with the last plague, He told them to ask for precious items from their Egyptian masters, and the Egyptians were only too willing to be rid of them, at any cost.

So here we see, probably not everything, but a sizable portion of what God blessed them with on that day when they escaped Egypt. The amounts are pretty incredible when converted to modern measurements. Over a ton of gold, nearly four tons of silver, and two and a half tons of bronze were given as offerings. When God blesses us lavishly, it is only right that we be generous in giving back to Him.

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Exodus 38:9-20

Then he made the court: [h]for the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twisted linen, one hundred cubits; 10 their twenty pillars, and their twenty [i]sockets, made of bronze; the hooks of the pillars and their [j]bands were of silver. 11 For the north side there were one hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty [k]sockets were of bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their [l]bands were of silver. 12 For the west side there were hangings of fifty cubits with their ten pillars and their ten [m]sockets; the hooks of the pillars and their [n]bandswere of silver. 13 For the [o]east side fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for the one [p]side of the gate were fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three [q]sockets, 15 and so for the[r]other [s]side. [t]On both sides of the gate of the court were hangings of fifteen cubits, withtheir three pillars and their three [u]sockets. 16 All the hangings of the court all around were of fine twisted linen. 17 The [v]sockets for the pillars were of [w]bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their [x]bands, of silver; and the overlaying of their tops, of silver, and all the pillars of the court were furnished with silver [y]bands. 18 The screen of the gate of the court was the work of the [z]weaver, of [aa]blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. And the length was twenty cubits and the [ab]height was five cubits, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19 Their four pillars and their four [ac]sockets were of bronze; their hooks were of silver, and the overlaying of their tops and their [ad]bands were of silver. 20 All the pegs of the [ae]tabernacle and of the court all around were of bronze.

As the writer describes the construction, I am reminded of the purpose of Christ being born as a baby and coming to earth. When the tabernacle was constructed, there were layers before one was allowed to approach God. The common Jew was only permitted within the courtyard just described, and area equal to approximately one and a half lots in my subdivision. I don’t believe this area existed with the tabernacle, but one of the temples later would have an area called the Court of the Gentiles, so the average person like me would have only been allowed in there, nowhere near the Holy of Holies. Only the Priests and Levites were allowed into the tabernacle itself, and only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year to atone for the sins of the nation.

Christ came to remove the layers of separation. He came to restore relationship between the Creator and the Creation. He came because God loved us and wanted us back. The layers in the tabernacle and courtyard were a daily reminder of the sin that separated mankind from God. With the death of our Savior, the final veil was torn, granting access once more to the God of the Universe, the Almighty I AM…YHWH.

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Exodus 38:1-8

38 Then he made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, five [a]cubits [b]long, and five cubits [c]wide, square, and three cubits [d]high. He made its horns on its four corners, its horns [e]being of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with [f]bronze. He made all the utensils of the altar, the pails and the shovels and the basins, the flesh hooks and the firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze. He made for the altar a grating of bronze network beneath, under its ledge, reaching halfway up. He cast four rings on the four ends of the bronze grating as holders for the poles. He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. He inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made it hollow with planks.

Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, [g]from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

This altar was for offering animal sacrifices, and many of these were in atonement for sins committed. It is unlikely that the sacrifices were a pretty sight, and the altar was accordingly made of bronze instead of a precious metal like gold or silver. Fast forward a couple thousand years and we find another “altar” that was not very pretty, the cross. On that altar, Jesus didn’t just take care of past sins. He paid the price for all our sings for eternity with His own sinless life.

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Exodus 37:25-29

25 Then he made the altar of incense of acacia wood: a cubit [ab]long and a cubit [ac]wide, square, and two cubits [ad]high; its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it with pure gold, its top and its [ae]sides all around, and its horns; and he made a gold molding for it all around. 27 He made two golden rings for it under its molding, on its two sides—on opposite sides—as holders for poles with which to carry it. 28 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. 29 And he made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense of spices, the work of a perfumer.

There is an emphasis here (and throughout these passages) on purity. God isn’t terribly fond of impurities. He wants us to live holy lives, blameless unto Him. It is why He had to send His Son, Jesus, to this earth to die. He cannot tolerate sin in our lives, and if we are unable to pay the penalty, Jesus had to do it for us. Thank God for making it possible for our hearts to be purified, to be made right with God again.

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Exodus 37:17-24

17 Then he made the lampstand of pure gold. He made the lampstand of hammered work, its base and its shaft; its cups, its [r]bulbs and its flowers were of one piece with it. 18 There were six branches going out of its sides; three branches of the lampstand from the one side of it and three branches of the lampstand from the [s]other side of it; 19 three cups shaped like almond blossoms, a [t]bulb and a flower in one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, a [u]bulb and a flower in the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20 In the lampstand there were four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its [v]bulbs and its flowers; 21 and a [w]bulb was under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a [x]bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a[y]bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lampstand. 22 Their [z]bulbs and their branches were of one piece with it; the whole of itwas a single hammered work of pure gold. 23 He made its seven lamps with its snuffers and its [aa]trays of pure gold. 24 He made it and all its utensils from a talent of pure gold.

The workmanship here is pretty incredible. For the “technology” they must have had, and the detail of the lampstand (not that we can actually see the thing and know how precise it was), it seems pretty incredible. The workman put everything he had into his work, because it was for the glory of God. It was of a single piece, which was either a requirement of God, or just something they did to show a higher level of skill. Either way, it was his way of doing his absolute best for his Creator, and no doubt the Creator steadied his hand a bit along the way.

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Exodus 37:10-16

10 Then he made the table of acacia wood, two [l]cubits [m]long and a cubit [n]wide and one and a half cubits [o]high. 11 He overlaid it with pure gold, and made a gold molding for it all around. 12 He made a rim for it of a handbreadth all around, and made a gold molding for its rim all around. 13 He cast four gold rings for it and put the rings on the four corners that were on its four feet. 14 Close by the rim were the rings, the holders for the poles to carry the table. 15 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold, to carry the table. 16 He made the utensils which were on the table, its [p]dishes and its pans and its[q]bowls and its jars, with which to pour out drink offerings, of pure gold.

Included in this portion is the making of utensils and other dishes to be used in the presentation of offerings. The sacrifices were what they owed God to make up for their sin, but an offering was to show thanks. It comes out of a grateful heart, not grudgingly. In this time of year, let us be ever grateful for all the gifts God has given us, and let that gratitude flow out toward others as well.

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Exodus 37:1-10

37 Now Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; its length was two and a half [a]cubits, and its width one and a half cubits, and its height one and a half cubits; and he overlaid it with pure gold inside and out, and made a gold molding for it all around. He cast four rings of gold for it on its four feet; even two rings on one side of it, and two rings on the [b]other side of it. He made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. He put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry [c]it. He made a [d]mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits [e]long and one and a half cubits [f]wide. He made two cherubim of gold; he made them of hammered work [g]at the two ends of the mercy seat; one cherub [h]at the one end and one cherub [i]at the other end; he made the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat [j]at the two ends. The cherubim had their wings spread upward, covering the[k]mercy seat with their wings, with their faces toward each other; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat.

Here we see the fashioning of the ark and the mercy seat (which would sit on top of the ark. This would be the very place where God would come down and “sit” to grant mercy to His people in exchange for their sacrifices. Mercy being defined as “holding back that which is rightfully deserved.” For what have you been granted mercy this day? It is astounding to think that every day His mercies are renewed, and thank God for that, in light of mankind’s propensity to abound in sin. Indeed, thank God for that.