69. Exodus 37: “God’s ‘High End’ Gifts to Ancient Israel”
Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening
Service on 12/22/2016
(edited March 2021)
Well, it’s the Season of Giving. I notice that even the chain stores are offering several “high-end” gifts in their ads at this time of year. I just saw a ring for $2,500 and golden diamond earrings -ON SALE!- for over $500! Fine products, I’m sure, but these stores normally advertise inexpensive watches and clothing. I’m wearing some of their rest of the year clothing, right now, actually! But, like I said, this a Season for special gifts. Tonight, we’re going back into the Book of Exodus with Ancient Israel. With the Lord’s help, of course, let’s look at some of the gifts God gave His Chosen People in the time of Moses:
Verse 1: “And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it:”
Bezaleel was called by God, and a skilled worker. He was doing the Lord’s business and assisting Moses by carrying out many of the directives they had received from the Lord on Mt. Sinai. Those directives included the Old Covenant Laws of God and a blueprint for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.
Verses 2-5: “And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about. And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it; even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it. And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark.”
I mentioned earlier some gold earrings in a Holiday ad. They are marked 10 ct. which, I think, means they are partially gold. God’s gifts of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant to Ancient Israel are much more precious than any of the Christmas gifts I’ve ever seen. God is providing pure gold for His gifts. That would be overly expensive for most of us today. How extravagant! What amazing gifts these are!
Verses 6-9: “And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat; One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.”
The tabernacle was a place where they would “meet” with God as they journeyed. This mercy seat was a great gift, but the real gift was the Giver! The mercy seat was the exact place where they would find the presence of God among them.
Verse 10: “And he made the table of shittim wood: two cubits was the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof:”
What is this table going to be? It’s to be very special, also. Check this out:
Verses 11-16: “And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made thereunto a crown of gold round about. Also he made thereunto a border of an handbreadth round about; and made a crown of gold for the border thereof round about. And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four feet thereof. Over against the border were the rings, the places for the staves to bear the table. And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table. And he made the vessels which were upon the table, his dishes, and his spoons, and his bowls, and his covers to cover withal, of pure gold.”
The next gift within the Tabernacle is a lampstand.
Verse 17: “And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:”
You guessed it. Like everything in this Tabernacle, this lampstand is just extraordinary:
Verses 18-24: “And six branches going out of the sides thereof; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side thereof, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side thereof: Three bowls made after the fashion of almonds in one branch, a knop and a flower; and three bowls made like almonds in another branch, a knop and a flower: so throughout the six branches going out of the candlestick. And in the candlestick were four bowls made like almonds, his knops, and his flowers: And a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches going out of it. Their knops and their branches were of the same: all of it was one beaten work of pure gold. And he made his seven lamps, and his snuffers, and his snuffdishes, of pure gold. Of a talent of pure gold made he it, and all the vessels thereof.”
And God’s not done giving yet. Nobody can out give God:
Verse 25: “And he made the incense altar of shittim wood: the length of it was a cubit, and the breadth of it a cubit; it was foursquare; and two cubits was the height of it; the horns thereof were of the same.”
So, in the Tabernacle the eyes would be treated to all that glistening gold and the gorgeous light from those lamps. But that would not be the only stimulation for the senses. There would be a Heavenly aroma there also.
Verses 26-29: “And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns of it: also he made unto it a crown of gold round about. And he made two rings of gold for it under the crown thereof, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides thereof, to be places for the staves to bear it withal. And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary.”
All these particular gifts are now lost to us, today. The Tabernacle itself, the ark of the Old Covenant, the golden table, the lampstand, and the sweet spices are all lost somewhere in the past.
We still have the accounts of these things here in God’s Word, as well as the Laws of the Old Covenant. But, as believers, we now live under what the New Testament Book of Hebrews calls a “NEW” and better Covenant. What better time of year than now to remember that God has specifically gifted us with Jesus, the Son of Mary and Son of Man, and yet also the Son of God! The Lord, in Christ, has come to the earth in a way that He never did in the days Moses. He has come to actually live among us. To eat, pray, heal and help the broken, and finally to die and rise from the grave to heal the souls of all believers.
These are the Gifts of the Better Covenant the Apostle Paul writes about in the Book of Hebrews. Gifts that make even the Tabernacle, and later on the Temple of God in Jerusalem, pale in comparison. Please don’t get me wrong. We are not better people than were they. That’s not what makes our New Covenant better and our Gifts better. But they were given earthly things like pure gold and fine incense, but we have, by God’s Grace, been promised the Heavenly version of all these things foreshadowed in the old Tabernacle and in the old animal sacrifices.
By the way, even though we have already received more than we could have ever hoped for, out greatest gift is still “on order.” One day Jesus will come back to the Earth and join us, in person! Then we who believe will gain access to a Temple in Heaven. A Temple not made with Bezaleel’s or any other man’s or woman’s hands. Listen as Paul describes that:
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”
The sure promises of all these Gifts are available, right now, to all who will come to God today through faith in His only Begotten Son. That’s a good reason, beloved, to trust in Christ.
I do enjoy giving and receiving my Christmas presents each year, but if we are honest, I think we can agree that none of those physical gifts we purchase at the stores are perfect. But Jesus is. The Perfect and Eternal Gift!
To close tonight I want to mention another gift that God is giving to mankind. And this one, miraculously I think, is not just for believers. The gift I’m referring to now, Believer, is YOU! I don’t fully understand it, of course, but I can tell you that somehow, someway, you and are being fully equipped to bring the Glory of God and the presence of Lord, through His Holy Spirit, not just to the Church, but also to a lost and dying World today! Please look with me at how WE are meant to be the Tabernacle of the Lord on this Earth in our day:
We are the TABERNACLE
I Cor 6:19-20
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
We are the LAMP
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
We are the INCENSE (Though some don’t prefer our aroma!):
II Cor 2:14-17
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
Let’s make sure we “deliver” God’s gifts this year, at Christmas and on into and throughout 2017. Amen?
Merry Christmas to you all and I think Mrs. Ashton has a little gift for each you, correct?
Great, let’s pray.