Redemption equals Exodus in the Old Testament
The proper order is redemption, then the law. It is not works in order to be redeemed. The law was given to a people that were already God’s people. They were not honoring the stipulation in order to become God’s people; they were obeying the stipulations out of respect and love for the God that had redeemed them. The law was never intended to be a system of legal observances, whereby, if you obeyed them you could earn God’s acceptance. The commandments are stipulations of the covenant relationship which is rooted in grace. They are the basic statements of the quality of life that should characterize those who belong to God. All Scripture knows only one way of salvation, the grace of God. God reveals his redemptive purpose, always based on grace, not on man’s ability to obligate God to save him because he has kept the law. You do not do in order to become. You become in order to do. All of God’s people since the beginning have lived under his grace, not under a law. God provided redemption and then requested his children to live in covenant with him.
As is true in most biblical literature, there is a display of a thrust outward from the particular to the general, from the events or act, to a spiritual meaning behind it. Although each commandment speaks directly to a specific act, it implies a general principle behind it. Each of the commandments, then, expresses a principle in shorthand form.
- No other gods: God’s uniqueness and supremacy.
- No graven images: God’s concern for proper worship.
- Not taking God’s name in vain: the dignity of God’s name and being.
- Keep Sabbath day holy: God’s concern for His creatures’ time.
- Honor parents: Recognition of legitimate authority.
- No murder: Respect for life.
- No adultery: Respect for the sanctity of marriage, home and sexuality.
- No stealing: Respect for property.
- No false witness: Respect for another’s good name and reputation.
- Avoid coveting: Contentment.
As you will notice the first four are directed toward stipulations, while the last six are directed toward humankind. Some suggest that the pattern is actually 1-9. The first one directed toward God while all the others are directed toward humankind. I lean toward the latter.
The Story Of The Building Of The Tabernacle: 25.1-40.38
The Tabernacle was Israel’s portable worship center and was a great object lesson given by God for the benefit of Israel. It taught them some basic truths about the character of God and how they should relate to him. While still on Mount Sinai, Moses was given instruction by God to make and furnish the Tabernacle. He was to do exactly as God told him. Specifications were given for the altar, courtyard, lampstand, garments for the high priest to wear. He was provided with the instructions on how the priesthood were to be consecrated. He was told the specifics about the altar of incense, the basin, anointing oil, and incense. Moses was told of the gifted craftsmen who were to build the Tabernacle and its furnishings. When the people saw that Moses was on the mountain too long, they got restless. Aaron made an idol in the form of a golden calf for the people to worship. Moses was instructed to leave the mountain. When he returned to the valley below, he broke the tablets that God had given him, and had 3,000 idolaters executed, and prayed for the people of Israel. Moses appealed to God to release him from his leadership of these people, but God would not. God gave him new stone tables on Sinai. When he returned from this encounter, he had to wear a veil over his face because of the glory of God. The children of Israel contributed what was needed to build the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were constructed. Finally, the Tabernacle was set up and God’s presence filled the tent. Exodus 25.8 is the key verse. Its picture shows God in the midst of his children, easily accessible by all of his children. The inner shrine demonstrates the holiness of God. It was called a dwelling place, showing God co-dwelling with his people. It was a tent of meeting, which displayed that God did meet his people and reveal himself to them. It was a tent of testimony, a reminder that within it was the covenant that regulated the life of Israel.
Questions to Ponder
- Of the ten covenant stipulations which one(s) have you broken this week?
- Which ones do you break most often?
- What can you do to distance yourself from habitual breaking of the ten covenant stipulations?
- Did your “folk theology” tell you that you were not responsible for the Ten Commandments?
- Exodus and Leviticus for Everyone (The Old Testament for Everyone)
- Exodus (The NIV Application Commentary)
- How to Read Exodus
- The Message of Exodus: The Days of Our Pilgrimage (Bible Speaks Today)