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Sermon26 Ex29 Guide

Exodus 20-31, recitation verse Ex 25:8

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

During last few weeks, we learned that God trained the Israelites in the Sinai wilderness before Mount Sinai, through ten commandments and the statutes of Tabernacle after making the covenant of Sinai, after delivering them from the slavery of Egypt, when they became a great nation of 2.5 M people, 430 years later after they entered Egypt, starting from the calling of Abraham and leading him to the promised land Canaan. This week, we would like to investigate more on the ten commandments and the statutes of Tabernacle to learn from them together.

1) Brad E. Kelle said in his book “Telling the Old Testament Story” that whole history of the Old Testament can be divided by five stories as follows:

- The Introduction of God’s Mission in the World (Gen 1-11)

- The Calling of God’s People (Gen 12-50)

- The Creation of God’s People (Ex 1-15)

- The Formation of God’s People (Ex 16-Deut)

- The Life of God’s People (Joshua – Esther)

a) The Voices of Israel’s Poets and Sages before, during and after Exile (Job-Songs of Songs)

b) The Voices of Israel’s Prophets before, during and after Exile (Isaiah-Malachi)

According to him, we can understand the content from Ex 15:22 to Deuteronomy is the story of the formation of the Israelites as His holy people through the ten commandments and the statutes of Tabernacle in the Sinai covenant.

2) Among those trainings, there are training through providing Manna and quails and waters, training through the wars with the Canaanites, training for social system for civil judgement, etc., yet, training with ten commandments and the statutes of Tabernacle was the foundation for the instruction of how to live as His people.

3) Ten commandments is composed of two parts – the commandments related to God and the commandments related to the human beings, as Jesus summarized them as the love of God and the love of our neighbors. In other words, as God loved the world as John 3:16 says, and specially loved the Israelites to save them from the slavery of Egypt to make them His people as Hosea 11:1, God also wanted that His people love Him so that He wrote that in the first tablet of ten commandments. But here what do you think to love God mean? To love God is to worship Him. As the divine love, “ἀγάπη(agape)”, means the love which goes along with admiration and can become adoration which involves recognition and judgment of value to value, set great story by and hold in high esteem, to love with deep respect[1], to love God results in to worship God as the first tablet where the first through the fourth commandments are written, that’s is, the first commandment means to worship only God since He is only true God, the second commandment which prohibits the idol worshipping, i.e., neither to worship His creatures such as the sun, the moon, stars nor to worship the idols which we create nor to worship God as we please based on our understanding, the third commandment means not to call His name in vain, since He is holy, and the fourth commandment means to keep the Sabbath, which God consecrated among seven days of the week. And the second parts of the commandments which are related to the humanity is to love our neighbors by applying the vertical love with God to the humanity horizontally, that’s to say, the fifth commandment is to respect the human authority which is God’s order for the world, the sixth commandment is to respect the human dignity as God’s image bearers, the seventh commandment is to respect the human sexuality and their spouses, the eighth commandment is to respect the right for the materials and their wealth, the ninth commandment is to respect his image and honor, and finally the tenth commandment is to try to make good and useful to the goodness of our neighbors by not to have any desire against love as Calvin said, that’s to say, not to desire or think any lust against God’s will.

4) And the statute of Tabernacle is for the regulations for the sanctuary where God dwells and meets His people and there the Israelites sacrifice to God, in order word, worship God. For the tabernacle, there is a courtyard, 50 x 100 cubits, surrounded by a curtain fence 7.5 feet high and on the eastern side, there is an entrance protected by linen curtains. Inside the courtyard, there are a bronze sacrificial altar, 5x5 cubits and 3 cubit high where the sacrifices are burnt, on which there’re horns on its four corners where the blood of the sacrifice was put for the purification, or through holding of which the sinners who killed someone without intention can be saved. And God commanded the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. Generally speaking, the reason was because the dedication to God for the burnt offering, the peace with God grain offering and the gratitude to God peace offering, the atonement of God for sin offering and the reparation for guilt offering should be continued. And the north of the sacrificial altar was used for the place to kill the sacrifices. The bronze basin was used used for the priests to wash their hands and feet before going into the tent of meeting or coming near the altar to minister to burn the offering. The tabernacle, i.e., the tent of meeting, had two compartments - the Holy place, 10 x 20 cubits and the Most Holy place, 10 x 10 cubits with the height of 10 cubits, framed with gold-plated wooden frames, which were covered with four layers of curtain, the curtain, made of linen and embroidered with cherubim, the curtains of goats hair, the coverings of tanned rams skins and the covering of goatskins on top. Inside the Holy place, there were a golden table for the bread (every Sabbath, the breads should be replaced new and signifies the bread of life, Jesus), lampstand (it should always be kept burning), and altar of incense (the incense should be offered continuously and signifies the medication of Christ). The Holy place is for the place of holy people so that it stands for that His people had to live as the light of the world through the help of the Holy Spirit with the word and the prayer. And in the Most Holy place, there were the ark of the covenant in which two tablets of the covenant, the golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded were, and the atonement cover for the ark where God said He will meet His people. This place was the place where the presence of God who provides the spiritual and physical bread, was in God’s love and God’s order. So, the courtyard was for the atonement and purification, while the Holy place for His holy people, but the Most Holy place is for God who is the source of holiness so that only once a year, in the Day of Atonement, the high priest could enter for the atonement of the Israelites. When Jesus died in the cross, the curtain of the Most Holy place was torn down, so that the believers can meet God the Holy through the sacrificial blood of the Lord.

5) Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, we would like to think about the reason why God redeemed the Israelites and planted them in Canaan. The reason why God led in His steadfast love the people you redeemed and have guided them by His strength to His holy abode as Ex 15:13 said, was to dwell among the people of Israel as their God as Ex 29:45-46, since the Mount Zion was His abode and sanctuary as Ex 15:17 says “You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.” In other words, the reason why God called His people, redeemed from Egypt and planted them in holy Mount Zion was His love as Hosea 11:1 and His presence among them as their God. The presence in Eden before the fall was blocked by the Cherubim and the flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life, yet, through the covenant of Sinai, God recovered the place where He will be present and dwell in His people and Jesus became His sanctuary when He came to this world and in the end, God will be His temple as Rev 21:22 says. Therefore, we, His people, have to live in front of Him, as 1 Cor 3:16 says “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Secondly then we have to think about the spirit of the Mosaic covenant, I mean, the spirit of the Mosaic covenant is love. As God is love (1 John 4:16), God put love in the center of the image of God in humanity (Anthony Hoekma, “Created in God’s Image”, p.22), and the spirit of ten commandments is love (Mt 22:35-40), love toward God should be expressed in the worship of God. And also in the meeting in the tent of meeting with God comes from the love of God and love with God. And finally, as the tabernacle should be installed in the middle of their tents of 12 tribes and the tabernacle should go in the front, we have to live with God as the master of our life, letting Him to lead our life. Therefore I pray that in love, we may love Him and live with Him as the master of our life and in the presence of God.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 As today's passage says, the purpose of the covenant of Sinai was the dwelling of God in His people. In other words, God wills to abide in His creation among in His people. Then after thinking of what the presence of God means in our daily life, I hope you can share your idea and thought on that with your group members.

Q2 Secondly, in today's passage, it is said that the purpose of the covenant of Sinai was the presence of God and ten commandments as the instruction of how to live and the statutes of tabernacle as the instruction of how to sacrifice, were in the center of that covenant. Then after reviewing how you live the life of the word and the life of worship, I hope you can share your reality and thought of how to live those life with your group members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] Spicq, C., & Ernest, J. D. (1994). Theological lexicon of the New Testament (Vol. 1, pp. 11–13). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.


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