March 28th: Bible Meditation for Exodus 39
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Bible Readings for March 28th
Exodus 39 | John 18 | Proverbs 15 | Philippians 2
With the construction of the priestly garments, all the plans Yahweh gave Moses were brought to completion. Yahweh had established a tabernacle in the midst of Israel where he could dwell. In Exodus 39:32–43, we read a final survey of all that was built and constructed, recording that the work was totally complete, just as Yahweh himself had commanded.
What we are supposed to recognize at this point is that Yahweh has given Israel a thorough and complete set of instructions for establishing pure worship. Yahweh wants his people to approach him through worship, and he has laid out comprehensive plans to ensure that they have a way to approach him without being consumed by the blazing fire of his holiness. This is a perfect system of worship in every way.
In every way, that is, except to accomplish lasting purification and lasting heart change.
Sometimes, Christians incorrectly suggest that everything under the old covenant was bad and misleading, as though God had attempted a massive experiment by giving the law but had failed miserably. That isn’t, however, what the New Testament teaches us at all. Jesus himself said that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill every last bit of it, crossing every ‘t’ and dotting every ‘i’ along the way (Matt. 5:17–20). Then, Paul tells us explicitly in 2 Corinthians 3:7 that the old covenant had a very real glory—it was good and righteous and holy.
The problem was that its glory was the fading glory of a ministry of condemnation, not the glory of a ministry that could lastingly make people righteous (2 Cor. 3:9).
So, the correct Christian view of the old covenant is to hold it in the highest regard as a holy arrangement God made with his people. But, it is also correct to see the new covenant as so far superior to the old covenant that “what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it” (2 Cor. 3:10)—a new ministry of righteousness, by the Spirit, through Christ, that has a lasting, permanent glory.
This new covenant is a better covenant, enacted on better promises (Heb. 8:6). Again, this isn’t to say that the old covenant was bad but that it was simply incomplete. The ministry of the old covenant announced everything necessary for God’s people to be reconciled to him, but it wasn’t powerful enough to actually accomplish that goal. Everything we have read here has profound implications for Christian theology, since Yahweh uses this part of his revelation to us to give us deeper insight into the work of Jesus Christ.
Let us give thanks, then, that God has not only given us the shadows but that he has also given us the substance of his reconciling ministry through his own Son Jesus Christ (Col. 2:17).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.