Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 12:23
Bible Book: Genesis
Verse: 1 – 38
Text: Exodus 40
According to Exodus 5:1, 8:1, 8:20. 9:1, 9:13 and 10:3 Moses continually asked the Pharaoh to allow Israel to go into the desert to hold a festival (5:1) and worship the Lord (8.1, etc.). Exodus 3:8 says that the Lord had promised to “rescue them (the Israelites) from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey”. Had Moses then been trying to deceive the Pharaoh? Had he thought that they would perhaps get a chance to leave Egypt if the Pharaoh thought they were only going to hold a festival for God? Had Moses’ request been a concealed lie?
Upon reading Exodus 40 I considered the above-mentioned questions once more.
The story of the deliverance from Egypt reaches its climax in Exodus 40. This climax is the fact that Israel built the tabernacle strictly according to God’s prescriptions and sanctified it with the priests (40:12-15) so that the sacrificial service could begin. Verse 17 reads like a climax, “So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year.”
To confirm that the occasion was indeed a special highlight for this exodus nation, the author continues in verse 34 with the real climax, “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
The promised land of milk and honey was still far beyond the horizon, but these exodus people were already celebrating and worshipping the Lord. There in the desert! Because God was in their midst.
So Moses hadn’t lied to the Pharaoh. It is rather superficial to think that God’s liberation is only about the “land of Canaan”. Although Israel was on its way to Canaan, this didn’t mean that core aspects of their deliverance from Egypt would realise there and then. On their journey through the desert they learned what it meant to be God’s people (Exodus 19:1-24:11) and what it meant that the tabernacle of God was in their midst (Exodus 24:12-40:38), so that they could serve God.
For many individuals and communities HIV and AIDS have become a journey through the desert. Of course we have to look for God’s deliverance from this pandemic, and the church of Christ should be instrumental in making it a reality. But it doesn’t mean that our worshipping of God is postponed or suspended.
John 1:14 says that the glory of God came to us when the Word became flesh and He made his dwelling among us. This is when God’s glory (his grace and truth) became clear. So it is not without reason that Matthew writes that Jesus is called Immanuel, for this name means “God with us” (Matt 1:23).
Author: N du Toit (Ds)