Exodus Devotional | Day 1: God Stays With Us and Goes With Us
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
God Stays With Us and Goes With Us, Day 1
“33 And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.” - (Exodus 40:33)
Above, you’ll read two brief sentences that are the end of a long, laborious four chapters (Exodus 37-40). God lays out specific instructions for how his people were to worship him and commune with him. Altars, tables, lampstands, curtains...curtain rods. Everything had to be measured, inlaid with gold, and set up in just the right place. The priests, before they could go speak with God, had to go through intense ritual washing and dress up in heavy, hot, funky robes.
Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? It certainly was--by God’s design. But, why so detailed? Why so specific? Why was God soooooo picky?
Think of it this way: if, for her birthday, I bought my wife Shannon tickets to a NASCAR race, a new fishing rod, and a bottle of expensive wine...and then I wrote her a love letter, telling her how much I love her blue eyes and blonde hair; how adorable it is to see her go nuts when she watches Miami Dolphins’ games...I’d be sleeping on the couch for a while. And then some.
You see, my acts and offerings of love to her don’t fit who she actually is. She doesn’t care about any of those things and she has brown hair and brown eyes. My way of showing her love actually shows that I don’t really know her. It shows that I don’t really care about how she wants to be loved and honored. In fact, some of the ways I might be tempted to love her just reflect the ways that I want to be loved, myself. That doesn’t mean Shannon’s picky--it means she’s a person with character and passions just like you and me. The ways we want to be treated, especially in words or acts of love, are a reflection of who we are and what we care about.
When we go back and re-read Exodus 37-40, we find that God is telling his people about himself; he’s describing some of his character and how he intends to be loved and honored. No, having everything inlaid with gold doesn’t make God materialistic or greedy--but wrapping everything up in something so valuable is a sign that God’s worshippers...his people...find him valuable. Indeed, to hand over so much wealth to God was a sacrificial commitment, showing that they’d give up all their treasure, just to know and be close to God.
Which is why I want us to caution and question our hearts when we say things like: “I have my own way of worshipping God,” or “I can’t go to this or that church because I just don’t like the music style.” We do each have our own, unique relationship with God, worshipping him in personal ways. And, no, it’s not automatically a sin to have a worship music style preference. The cautioning question, however, needs to be a test of who’s being loved here: do I care more about how God likes to be worshipped and loved, or do I care more about what I like?
To care about what the Bible might teach us in rightly worshipping God is an endeavor in knowing God, enjoying and marveling about his character, and loving what he loves.
Be honest with yourself and the Lord--in what ways do you tend to disregard how God wants to be worshipped and, instead, focus on how you want to worship him?
There’s been a surge within Christianity of people who don’t really think studying the Bible or theology is important--they just want to love Jesus and love on others. How, do you think, can learning more about God actually lead to better and stronger acts of love toward him and others?