Day 44 (Feb. 13): Ark underway, a table, lampstand, altars, wash basin, courtyard, and priest attire

Tabernacle pieces. Other skilled workers joined them to make everything that God required. Sweet Publishing /
Sweet Publishing /

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Exodus 37-39:31
(1446 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 37:1-29): Can you remind us again what the significance is to all the gold?

A. It was the most valuable material available, and therefore required the greatest sacrifice on the part of God’s people.

Q. (37:17-24): What is the significance of the almond blossom design for the lampstand?  The one that comes to my mind is maybe God is the stem and we are the branches.  And from us, with God as our stronghold, the stem, we can spread his word to others, the buds?  Or, in this case it may be just Israelites?  Am I in the ballpark?

A. There are two significances to the almond tree (which will prominently appear again in Numbers and also in Jeremiah).  First, the almond tree was the first tree to bloom in the Middle East after the winter, making it a symbol of new life and renewal.

The other symbolism of the almond tree is a word play.  The word for almond (shâqêd)in Hebrew is very similar to the word for “lookout,” “watchful,” or “unresting.”  So, as the shape and form of an almond tree, with ever burning candles, the Menorah would have been a powerful symbol of God’s protectiveness and watching over His people day and night.  Cool, huh?

Q. (37:24): Where could the Israelites find 75 pounds of gold to make this.  Is gold easy to find in the desert?  If they used gold they already had, then where did they get it.  What I’m asking is where did the gold come from originally?  I always think of gold in Alaska and the West Coast.

A. They got it from the Egyptians when they left Egypt, in addition to whatever the people had themselves before they left.  There is no indication that the people were mining gold at this point.

Q. (37:25): Any significance to the horns?

A. The horn is an ancient symbol of power, and it still is to some extent.  It’s another symbol to watch for in subsequent stories.

Q. (38:1-7):  Why bronze?  Is it because it has a higher melting point needed for the burnt offerings?

A. Yes, Israel was in the midst of the Bronze Age during this time.  (We will see how other tribes enter the iron age as the story progresses.)  Bronze was the primary material used to make tools and other items during this time.  While not as tough as iron, bronze is tough stuff that can stand up to high heat.  Generally, items that went inside the tent were made of gold and silver — though silver is used both places— and items in the courtyard — the altar, washbasin, etc. — were made of bronze.

Q. (38:9-20) Is linen symbolic?

A. While not as expensive as the precious metals or stones, there would have been intense effort put into making the twisted linen, making it a valuable material.  It is just another example of the people (probably women in this case) making important sacrifices for God and the greater good of the tribes.

Q. (38:24-31): The inventory is to show how much the Israelites sacrificed their own belongings to make the Tabernacle as God instructed?

A. Yes.  And, also to show the investment that the people made for God.

Q. (39:30): The trust God has in Aaron after he pulled his shenanigan has me baffled.  Also, can you tell us the difference between Aaron’s and Moses’ duties?  Moses did not wear all of this fancy attire, right?

A. Aaron never seems to be punished for his role in the calf incident, kind of like other folks in our story so far that weren’t punished for their deceit — Jacob and Abraham — or other sins.  I don’t really know why.

Moses’ role in liberating the people is unique and won’t be carried on by someone else — though technically Joshua will become the leader — where as Aaron’s role as high priest will be an ongoing role for the people, hence the fancy duds.  The high priest will be THE person chosen to go into God’s presence on the Day of Atonement, (What is that, you ask?  The answer is coming up soon!) which will make that person the most important person in the entire nation, even more important than the leader or king.  I’d say he deserves something nice for that level of responsibility.

For further study: What was the fate of the Ark of the Covenant?

Shop: Share your faith by wearing God’s Word!

Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 39:32-40:38

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