We’ve finally reached one of those passages (not including the odd genealogy) where if we’re honest we’re tempted to just skim read through. Almost seven chapters of building instructions. This may seem incredibly dry, but this is a significant moment. God is creating a way for his presence to live with his people, something that was lost after Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden.
The solution was a tent that housed God’s presence and could move with the Israelites as they moved. This section is divided into seven smaller sections, each one starting with “The Lord spoke/said to Moses”. The number seven is an important number as it symbolises wholeness.
The first thing God calls for is an offering. This is something he wants everyone to be a part of. Everyone is to contribute to the building of this tabernacle because he wants them to take ownership of it. This is their tabernacle that they’re helping to build.
We believe in a similar thing in the church today. We encourage people to give a portion of their earnings into what the church does, not as a tax, or a membership fee, but as a sense of ownership. When you give, you give with a sense of “I’m helping support everything my church does”.
The point of collecting these resources is to build the sanctuary, which will be a sacred place. The world has been contaminated by people’s sin, both in their bad actions but also the selfishness and wickedness in their hearts. If God is going to be among them, he needs a clean place, a holy place, that is not contaminated by people’s sin. This is why the instructions are so important and the resources are so expensive. This place needs to be perfect.
The first thing they are to make is an ark, basically a box that’s going to hold all the important things that God’s given them, the first of which is going to be the two tablets with the Ten Commandments on them. Notice that it is to be made with golden rings attached and wooden poles. This is so the wooden poles can be slid through the golden rings, and then people can lift up poles and carry the ark without ever touching it. This is to stop human sin from ever contaminating the ark.
This ark would serve as the centre of God’s presence, and so on the top is are two cherubim. Cherubim were the spiritual guardians of God’s presence. We read about one back in Genesis 3:24, that guarded the garden of Eden from the fallen Adam and Eve. These beings have wings and are various mashups of human and animal features (Ezekiel 10).
There is a table made that would hold sacred loaves that would be made fresh each week, and a lampstand to produce light. Each of these items would be used in the inner part of the sanctuary. Finally, we get the design for the tabernacle. This is the tent that would make up the sanctuary. Little cherubim are to be woven into the fabric.
This psalm fits into the category of lament psalm. Biblical lament is whenever a person takes their pains, hurts, and frustrations before God. It tends to include four steps; turning to God, bringing the complaint, making a request of God, and then declaring trust in God.
This psalm is attributed to David and has some interesting things of note about its structure. The first is that it is an acrostic. Each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The second is that it is a chiasm, where the passage reflects on itself.
a) Psalm 25:1 - God is my hope
b) Psalm 25:2 - Protect me from shame
c) Psalm 25:3 - But shame the treacherous
d) Psalm 25:4-5a - Be my salvation
e) Psalm 25:5b - I will wait
f) Psalm 25:6 - Remember your mercy
g) Psalm 25:7 - Forget my sins
h) Psalm 25:8-9 - Instruct the meek
i) Psalm 25:10-12 - Be faithful and forgive me, Lord
h) Psalm 25:12-13 - Instruct the God-fearing
g) Psalm 25:14-15 - God’s friendship keeps me from sin
f) Psalm 25:16a - Be gracious to me
e) Psalm 25:16b - I will wait
d) Psalm 25:17-18 - Be my salvation
c) Psalm 25:19 - Take note of the violent
b) Psalm 25:20 - Protect me from shame
a) Psalm 25:21-22 - God is my hope
The various steps are woven throughout this psalm, rather than having sections of their own. The psalmist opens by turning to God and declaring their trust in him. They ask that he protect the from shame and their enemies.
They focus inward and ask God to lead them and teach them, forgiving their sins. In this they recognise their own failings and shortcomings. They appeal to God’s faithfulness and love. This combination of God’s faithfulness and love leading him to lead the psalmist and forgive their sins makes up a good section of the psalm (Psalm 25:4-15).
Next up is a clearer focus on the struggles the psalmist is facing. They feel lonely and troubled (Psalm 25:16-18). They have many enemies who seek them harm (Psalm 25:19). Having laid out their complaint, the psalmist ends with one more request for protection and a declaration of trust that God will intervene.
As will all lament psalms, Psalm 25 shows us how to work through our pains, bringing them honestly before God, which also holding on to him and trusting in him.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
The guys at the BibleProject look at what it means for heaven and earth to overlap, and point to the tabernacle as one of the places where we see this happen.
The Naked Bible Podcast is for those that want intense Bible study. Be warned, many will find these podcasts go too deep for them. There are five episodes, averaging an hour each, covering these three chapters. But for those that persevere this will be a rich source of teaching for you.Check the podcast out here
Understanding the context of your passage is always important. BibleProject always do an incredible job of breaking down each book so you can see how your passage fits into the wider story.
BibleProject have done an animated recap of Exodus 1-18 to help you fit today's passage into the overarching story of Exodus.
Spoken Gospel outlines the book of Exous and point out some of the key themes, all in the medium of spoken word.
This Bible study devotional covers Exodus chapters 25-27. Here, God lays out his plans for the tabernacle in which he will dwell with his people.
As always, we are committed to showing you how Jesus fulfills these specific passages. In Exodus 25-27, we see that Jesus is the final tabernacle in which God dwells and through whom God opened up a way into his presence.