God’s Glory Revealed to an Idolatrous Nation
It seems odd that God chose the Jews and that He showed them mercy again and again. But do we have room for pride? Are we any different?
Note: Last week’s reading was Exodus 21-40.
In reading through Exodus we see the truth of that statement.: “How odd of God to choose the Jews.” They grumbled about water and food after crossing the Red Sea on dry land. They became impatient with Moses and asked for an idol to worship. Aaron produced a golden calf which they worshipped. God would have destroyed them and started over with Moses had he not pleaded with the Lord to spare them.
And God heard Moses. The book ends with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle which was completed down to the last detail that God commanded (Exodus 40).
Yes, it seems odd that God chose the Jews and that He showed them mercy again and again. But are we any different? Are we any less prone to fashion idols and trust in them over our God? John Calvin wrote “The human mind is, so to speak, a perpetual forge of idols” (Institutes 1.11.8). God’s mercy and grace was great to the Old Covenant Jews and also to us who come to Him only by the atoning work of His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Reading or Skimming?
If you are like me, you find these long chapters with details about the tabernacle and its furnishings to be hard reading. This week I was asked, “Is it disrespectful of God’s Word to skim through chapters 25-31 and 35-39 of Exodus?” That is a question for which we will each have to seek God’s wisdom. I do know God inspired the sixty-six books of the Bible. He revealed them to us for our salvation and sanctification. We may not disregard them. We are not being commanded to make a tabernacle or a temple in order to worship God today. That was for Moses and ancient Israel. Jesus Christ is our temple and we have come not to Mount Sinai but to Mount Zion and to Him who is our mediator (John 2:18-22; Hebrews 12:18-24).
This week our schedule takes us to the Epistle to the Hebrews which sheds much light on the purpose of the Old Testament priesthood and temple. Meanwhile, when reading Exodus 25-31 and 35-39, we can get help from a good study Bible (like the ESV Study Bible) with illustrations of the tabernacle, the furnishings, and the priestly garments. You might find yourself reading more than skimming. And you might find yourself saying, “how odd of God to choose me.”
This week’s reading: Hebrews and James.