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January 30 Today’s Reading: Exodus 35-37
Rest to Service
Exodus 35 is all about serving God. In the previous chapters we are told about the pattern God gave Moses in the Mount. Here the work is actually begun; and it is begun with another declaration of God’s command that the children of Israel must keep the sabbath. In this chapter we see the children of Israel serving God with willing hearts. Here are God’s chosen people making sacrifices with joy and laboring with gladness; but the chapter begins with a commandment to keep the sabbath day holy.
So the first thing evident in this chapter is the fact that service begins with rest. We cannot do anything for God until we quit trying to do something to appease God. We cannot serve the Lord until we rest in Christ, our blessed Sabbath Rest. We cannot bring anything to God until we find rest in Christ.
Remember the Tabernacle was designed of God and given by God to portray and typify our Lord Jesus Christ and the full accomplishment of salvation by Him and in Him. So, before the work of erecting the Tabernacle is begun, the Lord God gives this commandment again. — “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.” — Before we are fit to serve the holy Lord God, we must rest in Christ. Before we can bring anything to him, we must receive grace from him.
This is seventh and last mention of the sabbath in the Book of Exodus, the Book of Redemption and Deliverance. It was Solomon, “a man of rest” (1 Chronicles 22), who alone could build a house to Jehovah’s name. Both the sabbath days of the Old Testament and Solomon, the man of rest, typified our Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Sabbath, in whom and by whom we rest.
No Fire Kindled
But in verse 3 an additional feature is here added to the observance of the sabbath. Even the lighting of a fire on the sabbath day is here prohibited! — “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.” The Lord never mentioned that before. Why is it added here? There may be other reasons for this additional requirement; but I am sure that this is intended to show us at least these two things: — (1.) Faith in Christ is a complete cessation of works, a total dependence upon the Son of God for our entire salvation. And (2.) faith in Christ is the means by which God the Holy Spirit purges our consciences of guilt, and imputes to the believing sinner the righteousness of Christ, as he did to Abraham. Once the conscience is purged, once guilt is removed from the conscience, having faith in the Son of God, trusting Christ alone as our Savior, resting in Him, every believer calls the Sabbath a delight (Isaiah 58:13-14).
In the rest of the chapter we see the high honor God puts upon his people. He so highly honored the children of Israel that he allowed every man and woman in the nation to have a hand in making the Tabernacle. God did not need Israel’s assistance. Everything the children of Israel brought to Him, He had given them. Yet, the Lord God condescended to use the people He brought out of Egypt to establish His place of worship and all the things connected with His worship while they were in the wilderness.
Great as that privilege was, high as that honor was, it pales into insignificance, when compared to the great, high honor and extraordinary privilege the Lord God has placed upon you and me, upon every believing sinner in this world. God almighty has chosen us as His witnesses and His servants in this world (Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8; Acts 1:8; John 20:20-21; 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:1). Roll this over in your heart’s meditation this day: — This is the great, high honor the Lord God has put upon us in this Gospel Day (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).