33 Then he [Moses] hung the curtains forming the courtyard around the Tabernacle and the altar. And he set up the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard. So at last Moses finished the work.
34 Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
35 Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
36 Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it.
37 But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted.
38 The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys. NLT
The tabernacle is being set up for the first time. God has given Moses all the plans for the tabernacle that are recorded in Exodus. They have been skillfully created with precise and lavish detail. At this moment of completion, though, the tabernacle is still only an elaborate tent…waiting for that “cloud” cover.
That cloud had first appeared behind the people of Israel as they fled, like a barrier of fog to confuse the Egyptian army. Then the cloud was ahead of them leading by day and night toward an unseen promise. Those are two very significant aspects of that cloud they would always remember. The cloud HAD protected their back as they fled from the enemy and the cloud was NOW actively leading them to freedom. That moment in time when Moses hangs that final curtain at the entrance, and that cloud settles “down over” the tabernacle foreshadowing something that would FOREVER change the history of their future, as well as ours.
Long before the cross, there was the Exodus where one final curtain and the “glory of the Lord” changed an elaborate tent into a tabernacle of promise. The place where God began to reveal His precise and lavish plan of restoration for living and walking among His people once again… Jesus!
I Peter: 1:10 The prophets searched carefully and tried to learn about this salvation. They prophesied about the grace that was coming to you. 11 The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets, telling in advance about the sufferings of Christ and about the glory that would follow those sufferings. The prophets tried to learn about what the Spirit was showing them, when those things would happen, and what the world would be like at that time. 12 It was shown them that their service was not for themselves but for you, when they told about the truths you have now heard. Those who preached the Good News to you told you those things with the help of the Holy Spirit who was sent from heaven—things into which angels desire to look. NCV
Walking through the Coronavirus pandemic has been like a daily reminder of exactly how a walk of faith begins. We’ve realized an awareness of needing to be saved. Circumstances have revealed our best efforts to live well are not powerful enough to make us feel safe without help and following certain guidelines. “Feeling safe is not proof you are safe…You can need to be saved and not know it. For example, if a jet taking off from the airport were losing altitude and heading straight for this sanctuary right now, you would need to be saved; but you wouldn’t know it unless someone came running in here and shouted what was happening. So you can see that feeling safe is no proof that you are safe.a”
“About this salvation:”
“Salvation [soteria from soter = Savior] is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction.b“
“About this salvation:” salvation is the inheritance of a believer in Jesus Christ and Grace is the promised allowance for the expenses of life. That’s the “Good News.” Your life as a follower of Jesus Christ is now under a contract revealed long ago by diligent people writing on behalf of the Holy Spirit, “not for themselves but for you” today. Today…when many of us see “suffering” as never before, we need an outpouring of that allowance of “grace” and “restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction” because the expenses have been too great for us to handle without help. Come Holy Spirit!
Inheritance: property passing to those entitled to succeed
Allowance: a sum granted as a reimbursement for expenses
a John Piper, Desiring God
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
“I don’t know.” That’s probably the most consistent thought in many of our minds these days. We must act on the advice of experts but we are dealing with unknown risk levels. No matter how much information we consume about mitigating the danger of our exposure to Corona virus it’s not enough to ease our minds completely when the time comes for one of those essential trips out of the safety of the exile of self-isolation. Jeremiah reminds us God has a plan and Corona virus is not the only danger of our exile.
“A people in such a position as the Jews in Babylon were in danger in two ways: either to be buoyed up with false hopes, and so to fall into foolish expectations; or, to fall into despair, and have no hope at all, and so become a sullen and degraded people, who would be unfit for restoration, and unable to play the part which God ordained for them in the history of mankind.” (Spurgeon 1887).
God knows the plan even if I haven’t a clue what it is. Exile from the familiarity of daily life has given me a new awareness I need to be equipped to play the part God has set for my restoration. He’s given me expert advice about the one part of my future and hope I am in charge of. I can do this one thing to be prepared even in the exile of self-isolation! “…Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat a meal. (Gen. 37:23–25 NKJV)
“His eyes were wide with fear. His voice was hoarse from screaming. It wasn’t that his brothers didn’t hear him.”
I post on Sundays and then on Wednesdays and by early Tuesday morning, July 4, 2017, I was still looking for some fresh Biblical take on “freedom.” I’d been stumped by my “idea” until I read that quote from You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado. Joseph’s story became a real story of freedom for me.
When I read that quote I could imagine how Joseph felt lying there in that pit with not a clue that he might one day look at this as his day of freedom. The freedom from that pit began with his brother’s betrayal and led to him being enslaved, trapped and imprisoned. It was those days after freedom that God used to really free Joseph. They taught him that freedom is more than “being freed.” Freedom is focus on being “free” despite circumstances.
The Biblical record of those days after freedom has given us the benefit of hindsight of that truth. Joseph was 17 when his brothers freed him from the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites who sold him to Potiphar who put him in prison. He was in his 30s when he was freed from prison by Pharaoh and set “over all the land of Egypt.”
All those years later Joseph spoke these words of true freedom to those same brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus says your son Joseph: “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen. Joseph was 110 when he died, a truly free man.