TiO 45 – Exodus – The Presence of God

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The Main Idea

From Exodus 23-28 Pastor Laurence taught that the presence of God is the most important requirement for our lives and that the instructions given to the people of Israel form the basis for the presence of God in their community.

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: How do you feel about Ikea?

Q2: Would you rather pay more for a piece of furniture that was hand crafted or less for something that you could put together yourself?

Q3: Do you make things with wood? Talk about this skill and what you make.

Dig a Little Deeper

This week Laurence walked us through Exodus 23-28. In these chapters we see the following:

Chapter 23:

  • The end of the commands given along with the 10 commandments (vss. 1-19)
  • An angel will be sent to go before Israel and protect them and drive out their enemies before them (vss. 20-33) but they should not make deals with their enemies nor worship their gods.

Chapter 24:

  • The people agree to obey the commands of God
  • Moses sets the people apart for serving God through sacrifices
  • Moses meets God on Mount Sinai for 40 days

Chapter 25:

  • God gives Moses instructions for building the ark of the covenant in which shall be placed the 10 commandments given by God
  • God gives instructions for building a table and a lampstand

Chapter 26:

  • God gives instructions for building a tabernacle (tent) in which God will live

Chapter 27:

  • God gives instructions for building an altar for the tabernacle as well as a court area

Chapter 28:

  • God gives instructions for making the clothing of the priests

 

Read Exodus 25:1-9

Q1: God asks the people to do two things. What are they?

Q2: God asks the people to bring materials. What are they?

Q3: God tells the people why he wants them to do these things and to bring these materials. Why does he ask this, that is, what is God’s final purpose for the items that are built?

Q4: Verse 2 is quite specific about who materials are to be collected from. What do you think is the significance of who God points out?

Throughout chapters 23-28 instructions are given for various items to be built. The materials are specific but if you read carefully there is still a lot of room for interpretation in terms of what the final products are to look like.

Q5: Why do you think that God is being so specific about these instructions?

Laurence pointed out 3 principals which make room for the presence of God:

  • Choose to live generously: and the presence of God will live among us
  • Choose to live mission-ready: and the presence of God will move out into our neighbourhoods
  • Choose to live in community: and the presence of God will move with power in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

The creation of the tabernacle was a change from the way that God was to show his presence to the people. At first he appeared in a burning bush to Moses only. Then he appeared as a pillar of cloud and fire which moved ahead of the people. Then the pillar was replaced with an angel.

Q6: How is the tabernacle different from the other ways in which God’s presence was revealed to the people?

Next Steps

Pastor Laurence spoke of the presence of God. In the book of Exodus the presence of God was manifest: that means you could see it and it was evident. God’s presence was visible to Moses in the burning bush. God’s presence was visible to the people of Israel in the pillar of cloud and fire. And it was to be made visible in the tabernacle.

For us, God’s presence is not as easy to see. We rarely see visible signs of the presence of God.

Q1: How do we know that God is present with us?

Q2: People speak of God being “really” present or “more” present in certain circumstances. Is that just our response to him changing or is it true?

The people of Israel in Exodus were told to do some pretty specific things in order to ensure that the presence of God would be with them. We are not called to build tents or arks or priestly clothes.

Q3: How do we ensure the presence of God in our lives?

Pray that you would live in the presence of God and that his presence would make your life and the life of our church.

The Scriptures

In this section we are provide the scriptures referenced in this study. Some are core to the lesson, others can optionally be read and discussed as part of your time together.

Exodus 25:1-9 (NRSV)

            The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering; from all whose hearts prompt them to give you shall receive the offering for me. This is the offering that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, fine leather, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breastpiece. And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them. In accordance with all that I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.

Exodus 24: 1-8

Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the Lord. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

Jude 24-25

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

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