So. About today’s reading. Pretty uneventful. Just Bezalel and the guys building the ark, table, lampstand, and altar according to the exact measurements and instructions God gave Moses in Exodus 25–27. Today’s chapter is literally giving me “nothing to see here” vibes. But, if we lean in real close, I think we find a hidden gem in this seemingly mundane chapter.
Between God giving Moses the construction plans for His home, the tabernacle, in Exodus 25–31, and the execution of those plans in Exodus 37–40 was the golden calf of Exodus 32. Israel was on the verge of losing it all. God was so angry He contemplated killing them all and starting over with Moses, which would’ve been entirely just and righteous for Him to do. Thankfully, for their sake, Moses swayed God to spare them. However, there is still uncertainty in the air. God had chosen to forgive and even fulfill His promise by agreeing to still leading them to the land of milk and honey, but He was on the fence as to whether or not He would reconcile with them.
Though forgiveness and reconciliation are often treated as synonyms, they’re two different steps. It’s beautiful when these two work together, but imagine with me for a moment what would’ve happened if God had chosen only to forgive Israel and not go with them.
The tabernacle and its furnishings were not just representative of God’s presence with Israel; it was of the place where God dwelled. With Bezalel and the guys measuring out acacia wood and setting gold on the mercy seat, it testified to the people of Israel that God was going with them. Their work, which took place in full view of all the people, revealed that God was indeed Yahweh—full of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciling love.
Though this chapter is often skipped over to get to the so-called good stuff, it is an important link in the story of God. It also previews the work Christ would do with another kind of wood before the eyes of many so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. Let us rejoice and celebrate our God, who offers us forgiveness and extends the gift of reconciliation to us.