Lent 2018: See the Lord’s Salvation

Day 40: The Glory of the Lord Fills the Tabernacle

Exodus 40:1-38, Matthew 3:16-17, Acts 2:1-4

 

“Does Indiana Jones get crushed by a boulder?” my ten-year-old son asked.

“Why do you ask?” I said.

“Because in my LEGO Raiders of the Lost Ark video game, he gets run over by a boulder and breaks into a bunch of pieces,” he said. “Is that what happens in the movie?”

This was a pivotal moment for both of us. My son’s question sent me on a run to the store to buy the DVD so I could remedy his problem of never having seen one of the finest movies ever to hit the big screen. Also, his question prompted me, his father, to impart a life lesson he can still repeat word for word to this day: Let the storyteller tell the story in the way they want to tell it. In other words, whether Indy got squashed by a boulder is none of his business until he has seen the film. It is not my place to spoil it for him—to give away the beginning, middle, or end.

Today we come to the end of Exodus, to the climax. It’s been a long road for the people of Israel. A lot has happened in the beginning and middle of this story: 400 years of slavery, baby Moses set adrift in the reeds of the Nile, the plagues, the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea, the wilderness wanderings, the giving of the Law, the gold calf, the manna, the water from the rock, the pillar of cloud and fire. And through everything, the Lord has been teaching His people how to worship Him—how to build a tabernacle, how to furnish it, how to staff it, and how to behave in it.

We’ve let the storyteller tell the story in the way he wants to tell it, and now we’ve come to the end. What happens?

God’s glory descends. We’re not talking about a sunbeam, or even a flood of light. We’re talking about a glory so intense not even Moses could enter—Moses who saw the burning bush, Moses whom God Himself had passed in front of.

For the entire book of Exodus, God has made His presence known through symbols—pillars in the sky, food from heaven, water from stone, and so forth. But here, God’s glory descends, and it is unlike anything the people have seen. The display of power and authority is overwhelming. The sense of security against any outside foe is strong.

But as glorious as Exodus’s last scene is, we know the Storyteller is not finished. Exodus is a wonderful set-up for Easter week because we’re reminded that God’s ultimate deliverance did not end with people in a desert, or with His glory filling a tent. God’s presence among His people is most gloriously displayed in the incarnation of Jesus, who came to us, born of a virgin, for the purpose of doing what we celebrate at Easter—defeating sin and death forever.

As you finish reading Exodus today, let the power and glory of the Lord’s presence wash over you. But remember, this is not the final act. There is more. Read on. Let the Storyteller tell the story in the way He wants to tell it.

Written by Russ Ramsey