Priests ministering in the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting with THE LORD.

Preparing to read Exodus 31-35

What is happening in Exodus 31-35? Moses begins to relay to the whole Israelite community "the things the Lord commanded." Watch for three big things in these chapters, and the first one is a doozy.

Right off the bat they are told how important the Sabbath is. If God rested, then people are going to rest, and if someone doesn't rest on the Sabbath, they "must be put to death." This is really hard to swallow, but try to read portions like this with an open mind to accepting Bible texts on their own terms, not on our terms.

Second, watch for the phrase "free will offering" and "everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the Lord for the Tent of Meeting."

Finally, watch for the names Bazalel and Oholiab--they've got skills, and they are not afraid to use them.

Reading chapters at the end of Exodus are going to seem redundant and irrelevant, but we continue to say this: read them anyway. One reason they are repetitive is because Bible texts were read aloud. Today, if we heard a sermon read aloud or read the transcript, we'd also see redundancy. 

We also might feel like we're reading a manual for sewing the tabernacle, which doesn't apply to us. What does apply to us is this all-important question: "What is important to God?" For good reasons, this Tent of Meeting is important to God. It's a place where God graciously dwells with His people. This is an unprecedented act of kindness to allow people to participate as a community in contributing the gold and fabrics for the place God dwells.

What are you contributing as the materials for God to be seen, His voice to be heard, and His presence felt in your home, neighborhood, workplace, and church?


God Who Chooses to Dwell Among Us, we confess that reading Old Testament texts can feel tedious and off-putting. Tedious because of the redundant texts that don't seem relevant and off-putting because it seems extreme to put someone to death because of breaking the Sabbath. Give us grace to read your word on your terms not ours.

Action Step

Plant flower bulbs in your garden or craft something from natural materials that reminds you of the way Bazalel and Oholiab skillfully made gold lampstands, tables, altars, and curtains for the Tent of Meeting.


Greg Taylor

Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.

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