God's Glory Comes Down

Exodus   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:14
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Verse 2. Note the date. Cf. with Exodus 12:1-2.
Exodus 12:1–2 NASB95
Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.
The cycle is being completed. The beginning of the nation is now culminating in the erecting of the dwelling of God among His people.

1. The LORD’s orderly instructions, vs 1-15.

Cf. Exodus 3:6-8.
Exodus 3:6–8 NASB95
He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
· God has seen,
· God has heard,
· God is aware,
· God has come down to deliver,
· God has come to bring them to the promised land.
Through verse 15, there are at least 29 actions Moses is to do. They are given in a specific order (vs. 2-8):
· Set up the tabernacle tent
· Place the ark
· Place the veil to screen the ark
· Place the table and arrange what belongs on it
· Place the lampstand and mount the lamps
· Set the altar of incense before the ark
· Set up the veil for the doorway to the tabernacle tent.
· Place the altar of burnt offerings
· Place the laver and put water in it
· Set up the court all around
· Set up the veil for the gateway of the court.
After everything is set up and in place, Moses has more to do (vs.9-15). Moses takes the anointing oil and goes to work:
· Moses anoints the tabernacle tent and its contents, consecrates it and all its furnishings, and the LORD says it shall be holy. Implied in this instruction is that the anointing and consecrating follow the same order as the setting up...
· Moses then anoints the altar of burnt offerings and its utensils, consecrates it, and the LORD says it shall be most holy.
· Moses anoints the laver and its stand, consecrating it.
Moses moves from the contents to the ministers:
· Aaron and his sons were brought by Moses to the doorway of the tent and washed with water.
· Aaron was dressed in the high priestly garments, anointed, and consecrated to minister as a priest to the LORD.
· Aaron’s sons were dressed and anointed just like their father Aaron for the work of ministry as priests before the LORD as well. Their anointing qualifies them for a perpetual priesthood from generation to generation/
All of this Moses did, according to verse 16, according to all that the LORD had commanded him.

2. Moses’ meticulous obedience, vs. 16-33

The date is given to emphasize Moses’ obedience to the LORD as well as to give context to the actions in the following verses. The erecting of the tabernacle takes place one year to the day the Lord gave Moses the calendar for the new nation (Ex. 12:1-2), one year from when the Israelites left Egypt and ten months since they arrived at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1).
We want to point out the detail given in the completion of the tabernacle complex. This section from verse 17-33 shows step -by-step what Moses did in obedience to the LORD’s command.
Moses was the responsible party, but he probably did not do all the work in erecting the tabernacle and its courtyard all by himself, but supervised the work, making sure it was done right.
Verse 29 is the beginning of the offerings the LORD commanded as seen in Exodus 29:38-42. This falls logically in the list from verses 2-16, but very likely occurred after the laver was filled with water. Verses 31-32 inform us that Moses as well as Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet at the laver when they approached the altar and when they entered the tent of meeting.
Verses 33 says Moses finished the work. Everything is done…but something is missing. The people are waiting, possibly with bated breath for something the LORD has promised… to be among them.

3. The LORD’s Glorious Arrival, vs. 34-38

The presence of God was seen by Moses at the burning bush. There, the LORD promised He would come down and be with the children of Israel. The people had seen glimpses of the LORD’s glory before. They had seen it in the pillar of cloud and fire that had protected them from Pharaoh’s army and guided them through the wilderness. They had seen it in the miracle at the Red Sea, when God was glorified in both delivering Israel and destroying Egypt. They had seen glory in the fire and smoke that descended on the distant heights of Mount Sinai. Moses had the back of God’s glory when he met with the LORD on the mountain. What neither Moses nor the Israelites had yet seen was the glory of the LORD in all its radiant splendor, as it did when it
hovered over the tabernacle, filling that sacred space with glory.
This glory cloud was a theophany--a visible manifestation of the invisible God. God’s glory is the weightiness of His divine being, the infinite perfection of His triune deity. Glory is the whole God-ness of God. This is one of those occasions when He made His glory visible in a resplendent cloud of radiant light, descending on the tabernacle and filling it with light. The form of the verb that the Bible uses for filling (male’) is significant because it “reflects a dynamic, ongoing situation.” it was if the tabernacle were pulsing with radiation.”
This glory that filled the tabernacle was a spectacular display evidencing the radiance of God’s being. The God of the exodus was present in glory here in this place. When the Israelites looked at the tabernacle, they could see that God was in the house.
This place, which was the way to approach God, where He dwelt in the midst of His people, was designed as a place to meet with the living God through following specific directions. But when the glory came down, access was denied-even to Moses.
This points to the necessity for anyone to meet with God to come with a blood sacrifice for sin. The only way to approach the God of all glory is to come with a sacrifice of blood. Thus, the necessity of atonement on our behalf. But wait, there’s more!
This same God who dwelt in light unapproachable was with His people to save them. The glorious cloud that kept them away was also there to guide them. God came down in glory--to be with them.
Exodus 40:36–38 NASB95
Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.
God did not rescue them, just to leave them on their own. He didn’t just save them, He wanted to have a relationship with them. God’s immanence and transcendence, His nearness and the greatness of His glory are evidenced here.
This would have brought them great comfort for the future, to know that God would be with them every step of the way, guiding them by His glorious light and defending them by His glorious power. Day and night He would lead His people to the land of promise, the goal of their salvation. This glory of the LORD is the climax of Exodus, but not the climax of God’s redemption. These were only the first glimmerings of the glory that God has prepared for us in Jesus Christ.

4. The greater glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

“The book of Exodus really is his story.
· Jesus is the Moses of our salvation, the mediator who goes for us before God.
· Jesus is the Lamb of our Passover, the sacrifice for our sins.
· Jesus is our way out of Egypt, the deliverer who baptizes us in the sea of his grace.
· Jesus is our bread in the wilderness, the provider who gives us what we need for daily life.
· Jesus is our voice from the mountain, declaring his law for our lives.
· Jesus is the altar of our burning, through whom we offer praise up to God.
· Jesus is the light on our lampstand, the source of our life and light.
· Jesus is the basin of our cleansing, the sanctifier of our souls.
· Jesus is our great High Priest, who prays for us at the altar of incense.
· And Jesus is the blood on the mercy seat, the atonement that reconciles us to God. The great God of the exodus has saved us in Jesus Christ.
As we come to the end of Exodus, we see as well that Jesus is the glory in the tabernacle. This was true from the very moment of his conception. The Bible teaches that the physical body of Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of God:
Colossians 1:19 NASB95
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
Since glory is one of God’s essential attributes, when God caused all his fullness to dwell in Jesus Christ, his glory came down.
John 1:14 NASB95
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus Christ is our tabernacle, and as our tabernacle, he is full of the glory of God.”[1]
In the person of Jesus Christ, God’s glory came down to earth.
Hebrews 1:3a – “[Jesus] is the radiance of God’s glory.” Veiled in his perfect humanity, people could not always see His glory, yet they could catch glimpses of it from time to time in His teachings and in His miracles, seeing and hearing the power and truth of His deity. There were rare occasions, such as the Mount of Transfiguration, where God allowed the true glory of His Son to shine forth so people could see it.
But the fullness of His glory was not seen until He died for our sins and God raised Him from the dead. The Jesus was fully revealed in the glory of God. Then his disciples could see outwardly what was always true inwardly—that Jesus radiated the splendor of God’s glory. This is what Thomas saw, seeing the resurrected Christ, risen and glorified, and worshipped him: “My Lord and My God!” As soon as we see Jesus as the Lord of glory, we to are compelled to worship Him, too.
The Lord of glory is with us. His plan was not only to save us by dying on the cross for our sins, but to have a relationship with us that would last forever. To those who trust in Him, He has given the promise of His everlasting presence:
Matthew 28:20 NASB95
teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He is in our lives by the presence of His indwelling Spirit. He is guardian and our guide, our help and comfort for the road that lies ahead. In all our travels, and through all our troubles, the God of glory will be with us.
[W]e, too, have been delivered and are waiting to arrive at the final destination. We, like the Israelites, are poised to reach our rest. On this journey, we follow our holy Redeemer as he guides us to the Promised Land. Admittedly, there is no cloud overhead, but we have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. He brings us to the goal of our salvation just as surely as the cloud guided the Israelites to their ultimate destination. The people of God should take great comfort in this. The God of Exodus is still guiding. God is present with his people wherever they go, for he still leads and guides them, not to Canaan but to a “better country—a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:16).[2]
[1] Ryken, P. G., & Hughes, R. K. (2005). Exodus: saved for God’s glory (pp. 1161–1162). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
[2] Enns, P. (2000). Exodus(p. 602). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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