Exodus 36-40

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 22, 1997


Last week - Moses came down from Mount Sinai with a second set of stone tablets, and begins to tell the people about the Law of God.

Then he tells the people about the needs involved in building the Tabernacle, the people give willingly, and there's so much stuff, that Moses has to tell everyone to stop giving!

Exodus 36

:8-38 Summarize

It's at this point we have a recounting of the things that are made for the tabernacle.

Since we pretty much went into detail on these things as Moses was receiving the plans from God, we'll skip over them, and you can read them for extra credit homework if you like.

If you've missed earlier parts of our study in Exodus, you might want to get the tapes from Exodus 25-31.

I believe these are kind of foundational studies, as they lay down the framework on which all of our worship and service is built upon.

In it we picked up some principles from the tabernacle design on how God wants to be worshipped.

Concepts of how God is to be approached through sacrifice and cleansing.

The concepts of prayer as sweet incense, fellowship with God, and being lights in a dark world.

We also saw some principles involved in ministry as we saw how the priests were to work.

We looked at the priests' clothing and ordination.

We saw how we are to be cleansed with blood, and anointed with the Holy Spirit in all we do.

We saw how as priests, we are to learn to carry God's people on our shoulders and our heart as we approach God in prayer.

The rest of this chapter deals with the construction of the tent itself, with it's various curtains, loops, boards, sockets, and veils.

These things were constructed by "every wise hearted man" (vs.8), and apparently Bezeleel and Aholiab didn't directly work on these parts.

Exodus 37

In this chapter, we see Bezaleel making the items for the inside of the tabernacle:

:1 - the ark (the box for the stone tablets)

:6 - the mercy seat cover for the ark (also meant to picture God's throne) with it's cherubim

:10 - the table of showbread (the place of fellowship with God, like a dinner table with bread on it)

:17 - the golden candlestick (as we lights burning in a dark world)

:25 - the golden altar of incense (the place of prayer)

:29 - the holy anointing oil, and the incense for the altar (the Holy Spirit, prayer)

Exodus 38

In this chapter, Bezaleel makes the items for the courtyard of the Tabernacle.

:1 He makes the bronze altar of burnt offering.

:8 He makes the laver of brass for washing the priests' hands and feet.

:8 the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling,

This is a fascinating little insert into the passage, telling us where they got the brass to make the bronze laver out of.

Remember that the laver was a place for the priests to wash their hands and feet before ministry.

The laver was made out of the "lookingglasses" of the women.

In those days, hand mirrors weren't made out of glass, they were made out of polished metal, such as gold, silver, or brass.

A mirror is an item that we use out of vanity, because we care to make ourselves look good.

These women were willing to give up their thing of vanity, in order to make a place of cleansing.

To put it another way, the place of cleansing was made out of what these gals were willing to lay aside of their own selfish vanity.


Humility allows cleansing.

For the priests to be able to be washed and ready for service, the women gave up the symbols of their pride, their mirrors.

When we give up our pride, our boasting, we make it possible for cleansing to happen with each other.

Have you ever been in a church where everyone is obviously very concerned about how they look? Is that church a place where you can humbly come and ask for cleansing? Not when you're trying to out do each other!


(John 13:1-5 KJV) Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. {2} And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; {3} Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; {4} He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. {5} After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Jesus offered cleansing to the disciples, but it came when He himself took the place of a humble servant, even laying aside his regular clothes, to serve the other men.

From here, Bezaleel makes …

:9 The courtyard itself, the linen fence around the Tabernacle.

:21 Then the chapter ends with a summary of all the gold, silver, and brass used in the tabernacle.

Wiersbe: Scholars have estimated that in the construction of the tabernacle, the people used nearly a ton of gold, about three and a quarter tons of silver, and two and a quarter tons of bronze. It was not an inexpensive structure!

Exodus 39

In this chapter, Bezaleel makes the garments for the priests.

:1 The ephod

:8 The breast-plate

:22 The robes, caps, and crown.

:33 they brought the tabernacle unto Moses,

When the building is finished, everything is brought to Moses for inspection.

As we read through this, check yourself to see if you understand each of the items one more time.

:43 they had done it as the LORD had commanded,

The workers had made everything just right.

Exodus 40

:2 On the first day of the first month

This is the month Nisan, the same month that they came out of Egypt on, nearly one year ago.

They'll have fourteen days from the setting up of the tabernacle until their first annual remembrance of Passover.

:9 anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein … and it shall be holy

The concept was that whatever the holy anointing oil touched, that thing became "holy", it became separated to God for His service.


The Holy Spirit makes us holy.

We often have some interesting ideas when it comes to what the Holy Spirit it all about.

Some think of the gifts of the Spirit.

Some think of some of the excesses in some churches.

But one attribute we often overlook is that the Holy Spirit is about making us "holy".

Just as everything that the oil touched was made holy, so it is with the Spirit, which is symbolized by the oil.

Paul wrote:

1 Th 4:1-8 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. {2} For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. {3} For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: {4} That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; {5} Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: {6} That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. {7} For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. {8} He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

the lust of concupiscence - lust of passion

God has called us to holiness, He wants us to be holy, and that involves sexual purity.

If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with the Holy Spirit, because that's what the Holy Spirit is trying to do in your life, making you pure, anointing you, setting you apart for God's use.

:12 wash them with water

I don’t think this means that Aaron and his sons took a bath in front of everyone.

It's more likely that they washed their hands and feet in the laver which was in front of the tabernacle.

:16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him

Watch what happens from here.

Everything Moses is going to do, is going to be because God has commanded him.

Everything Moses sets up in this place of worship, is done because God has commanded him.

All the worship that Moses is going to institute here is because God has commanded him.


Worship according to God's ways.

This is worship that God desires, the way He wants it.

:19 he spread abroad the tent … as the LORD commanded Moses

The tabernacle itself is set up, with this design of heaven all through it, a model of heaven itself.

Our worship is to be like that in heaven, our worship ought to remind us of heaven.

:20-21 the ark … mercy seat … as the LORD commanded Moses

The ark contained God's standard for man, and it was topped with the very throne of God.

Our worship out to be aimed at getting to the throne of God, the very center of the universe, the center of our worship.

:23 the table … as the LORD had commanded Moses

The table with the bread was a picture of the fellowship, the intimacy that God desires with man, like sitting down to supper with the family.

Our worship out to be personal and intimate with our God.

:25 he lighted the lamps … as the LORD commanded Moses

The candlesticks were to be a picture of us being filled with the Spirit (the oil) and burning brightly for God in a dark world.

Our worship ought to fill you with the Spirit, set you on fire, and cause you to be a bright witness for the Lord.

:27 sweet incense … as the LORD commanded Moses

The incense was a picture of prayer.

Our worship ought to involve talking to God, pouring out our hearts in praise, adoration, as well as lifting up our requests to Him.

God wants to hear from us.

:29 burnt offering … as the LORD commanded Moses

The burnt offering was a picture of total consecration to God.

The animal on the altar was to be in your place, as it is totally consumed in the fire, and it is totally given to God.

Our worship ought to involve giving ourselves completely to God, leaving nothing for ourselves.

:32 they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses

The laver wasn't a place for a full bath, only the washing of the hands and feet, the filth that gets picked up during the day.

Our worship ought to involve cleansing, as we have been covered with filth from the world.

:33 Moses finished the work

So we see some pretty important principles in worship:

To be like that in heaven, our worship ought to remind us of heaven.

Aimed at getting to the throne of God, the very center of the universe, the center of our worship.

Personal and intimate with our God.

To fill you with the Spirit, set you on fire, and cause you to be a bright witness for the Lord.

Talking to God, pouring out our hearts in praise, adoration, as well as lifting up our requests to Him.

Giving ourselves completely to God, leaving nothing for ourselves.

Cleansing, as we have been covered with filth from the world.

:34 the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle

This is the net result of worship done according to God's commands.

Something very similar happened when Solomon set up the first temple:

(2 Chr 5:13-14 KJV) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; {14} So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.


True worship brings glory

When we praise God the way He desires to be praised, there's an awesome sense of His presence.

(Psa 22:3 KJV) But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

(Psa 22:3 NNAS) Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

It's not that God isn't already present, but it's that we aren't aware of it.

What worship really does is get our hearts to the place where we realize we're in God's presence.

:36 when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward


Be led by His presence.

Wherever the cloud went, the people went.

When the cloud moved, so did the people.

God wants to lead us and show us where to go.

(John 3:8 KJV) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

God wants those who are born of His Spirit to be able to be sensitive to go wherever the Spirit goes.

(Psa 32:8-9 KJV) I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. {9} Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

We have two choices in being led by the Lord -

We can be led by a bit and a bridle like a horse, being guided by "pain", like the times God has to hit us over the head with a 2x4 to get our attention.

Or we can be led by His eye on us, responding to God's slightest suggestions.

Is God in this?

Is this where God wants me?

What would Jesus do?