Drawing Near

Drawing Near March 11, 2013

Have you ever noticed that the book of Exodus isn’tjust about that? The Israelites leave Egypt in chapter 12, but the bookkeeps going until chapter 40! Why? We get a clue from the familiar demand Godmakes of Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” Every time that phrase appears (9x), itincludes this reason: “so that they may worship me.”

To put it another way, God’s people need much more thanfreedom. So, God brings them to Mount Sinai,shows them His glory, and delivers His ten laws for life. You might think,“Surely now they are ready for life in the Promised Land. They havetheir freedom. They have a national constitution. They’re set.” But even theTen Commandments bring us only to the halfway point of the book. Why twentymore chapters?

The entire second half of the book is devoted todetailed instructions for the Israelites to build… what? What item could theyconstruct that would be most helpful to this fledgling nation as they move intotheir new land? A war machine for conquest? An efficient and impressive capitalcity? A system of roads for transportation and communication? Nope. God hasthem build a tent. But not just any tent. A tent designed with such detail,you’d think someone had OCD. These final chapters are filled with measurements,floor plans, framing instructions, equipment, clothes, and even the materialsused to fashion it all.

To put it in one word, the rest of Exodus is aboutworship. Or, as I’ve put it in the title for this final study through Exodus21-40, it’s about “Drawing Near.” How can sinful people draw near to a holyGod? How can they live with Him in their midst? This is why the tent isso important. God said: “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell intheir midst” (Ex 25:8). Everything else about the Promised Land will take careof itself—waging war, developing culture, managing their kingdom—as long as Godis with them.

Not that He might suddenly abandon them. No, it’s notthe possibility of His leaving that threatens their prosperity. Whatreally makes them vulnerable is His being there. He is holy, and theyare profane. He is righteous, and they are sinful. He is wise, and they arefoolish. So how in the world can they ever draw near to such a God? Stay tunedas we embark on Exodus, Part 3!