Home > Theology > What is the purpose of the specific instructions given in Exodus 25-30?

What is the purpose of the specific instructions given in Exodus 25-30?

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s easy to get just a little bit bored reading these chapters, I’ll admit. But at the same time, it leads me to realize a few things that can be practically applied today. Of course, the original intent was simply to provide instructions to these Jews, but anything spoken from God is important as it sheds light on who He is.

Just in case you’re not familiar with this passage, here’s a sample excerpt that captures its essence:

Exodus 25:10-16:

10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.”

While I’m reading it, here are some things that came to mind:

– When God gives us orders to do something, He wants it done HIS way, not ours. God trumps human logic and planning.

– God delights in total obedience and is aware of when we cut corners. I can imagine some of the Jews grumbling in their hearts, like, “Do we really need to use our purple fabrics? Why not our brown?” (Purple was rare and expensive in those days.)

– The construction of these things, like the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, is probably considered ideal in some way. Whether it’s for durability or other purposes, God knows what He’s doing. One explicit example is Exodus 28:32: “32 It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear.” (Another example is the exact dimensions of Noah’s Ark, which modern builders know today to be ideal dimensions for a boat that size.)

– At times, God mentions specific materials like “pure gold.” Obviously, this was considered a precious metal even back then, so part of His instructions involve giving up material wealth sacrificially. Impure gold or overlaying just the outside with gold would have been displeasing to God.

– Symbolism matters, it’s not just a literary device. For example, the use of the lampstands in Exodus 25:31 is later reiterated thousands of years later in Revelation as a symbol of the church.

– As these Jews were building these things, I can imagine them diligently and continually referring back to the instructions, taking painstaking care to follow God’s words precisely. I think this was God’s intentional way of providing opportunities for obedience (and therefore, opportunities for blessing to be poured out). If there are fewer instructions, then there is less reward in store for obedience.

I’m sure there’s deeper commentary on these types of passages, but I’m just sharing the thoughts that came to my mind.

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