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Passage: Exodus 29:38-46

Exodus 29:38-46 – I Will Meet with You

Summary

God's stated purpose for the tabernacle, priesthood, and sacrificial system was to be continually present among Israel as the one who brought them out of Egypt and thus was their God.

Analysis

A hasty scan through the extensive instructions for building the tabernacle might result in missing these verses. They articulate the importance of the instructions. It is serious business to have God dwell in the midst of the community. There is concern that God's presence not be episodic. In one sense, it is clear that there is not a literal "exodus from Egypt" every day. But it would also not be desirable to have God merely pop in every once in a while. The tabernacle was to meet the need for everyday continuity ("throughout your generations" [29:42]). The presence of God does not merely trickle down from the priesthood. Aaron and his sons are, indeed, consecrated but here God also meets with the Israelites as well as the priests. God's dwelling among the Israelites is stressed through repetition in verses 45 and 46. The pronoun relationship of the covenant is expressed: "I will be their God." And at the core is the event that grounds the covenant, namely, the exodus from Egypt. All of the specificity around the tabernacle is not to derive something from God. Rather, it grows out of God's desire to dwell among the Israelites.