SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 1, 2018

Exodus  40:34-38

  1. What a fitting conclusion to the book of Exodus! The book began with the descendants of Jacob enslaved in Egypt and ends with them experiencing the glory of God. They go from bondage to glory. Under divine guidance, Moses selected Spirit-filled men to build the place of worship, the tabernacle. It has been almost a year since they left Egypt, when God gives the instructions for the setting up of the tabernacle. Emphasis is given several times in this chapter as to how Moses has so carefully followed the plan for the construction of the tabernacle that God had given him. He was a faithful servant and did exactly what his Heavenly Lord had instructed him to do. And then on the day when every piece of furniture was in place, the tent had been stretched, and the people were watching with expectancy, God Himself came in a cloud of glory and settled on the tent. The tent itself was enveloped in the cloud while in the Holy of Holies was the outshining of the glory of God. It was a historic and unforgettable moment. The glory of the Lord was now in the tent. The Hebrew word for glory has in it the root idea of being heavy or weighty. It is associated in a figurative sense with the impressiveness or worthiness of a person. Typically, someone honored in that ancient culture had high position and consequent of wealth. So, when we speak of the glory of God, we are speaking of the worthiness of His person.

  2. The glory settling into the tent signified the presence of God amid His people. The glory involved a self-revelation of God. God is demonstrating to His people that He is a holy and sovereign person. As we look at this closing paragraph in the book of Exodus, there are some basic lessons that we can learn about the glory of God.

  3. Verses 34-35. When Moses records, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle,” he is reporting that God has come to dwell in the midst of His people. This is the fulfillment of a desire that was in the heart of God. He instructed Moses to build the tent so that He could dwell in the midst of His people to manifest Himself. From that day forward, it has been the mark of the people of God that God dwelt in their midst. For hundreds of years it was in the tent that God dwelled. Then in the day of Solomon, it was in the temple, which was based on the pattern of the tent that God dwelled. In the day of the Lord Jesus, it was in His body that the glory of God dwelt. Beginning with the Acts of the Apostles it has been in the church, a house made out of living stones, that the glory of God has been present. But the mark of the people of God is always the presence of God in the midst of His people. The thing that sets the church apart from all other religious organizations and benevolent causes is that the living, eternal God through the Holy Spirit is indwelling the church. The glory of the Lord is in the heart of His people. Moses reports for us an interesting detail about what happened that day. “Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Note that word carefully. It is a reminder to us of the limitations that are upon our humanity. Even the best of men, one of the greatest to ever live, could not move into the tabernacle if the glory was being manifested in the tabernacle. Few who have ever lived have been privileged to see and to know what Moses knew. Yet, Moses was very much a human being. He was a “flesh and blood” person just like you. The fact that he could not walk into the glory manifestation and live is a revelation of the frailty and weakness of our human existence. Even when we are at our best, we are not capable of living in the divine glory. In his letter to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul states this in a memorable fashion: “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (I Corinthians 15:50). Our present human condition is such that it is not suited to live in the glory. It was designed for an earthly existence. The glory is of heaven. As long as you are in your flesh, you are not suited for living in the glory. It is a fact that should keep us humble. It is a fact that reminds us of that chasm that exists between who God is and who we are. God is the eternal Holy Spirit and we are temporal flesh and blood.

  4. Verses 36-37. As we continue our reading in the Old Testament and moved through the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy and then into the historical book of Joshua, we discover that it is the presence of God as the glory cloud in the midst of His people that gives to His people strength in the battles they fight. God is their protection. In fact, when they were fleeing from Egypt, this very cloud provided protection. The cloud stood between the people of Israel and the pursuing Egyptian army to protect the people of Israel. When they were moving away from their enemies, at night the cloud was over them as a pillar of fire for their protection.

  5. Verse 38. The closing comment from Moses in this chapter is that the glory became the guide for the people. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the clouds stood still, they stood still. Oh, the comfort of knowing that you have the All-wise and Eternal God as your guide through the journey of the wilderness. Israel was moving in to unexplored territory as far as they were concerned. But it was not unexplored to their guide. He directed them through the wilderness like a shepherd herding a flock of sheep through dangerous territory. This distinguishing mark of the divine presence is there for the guidance and the direction of the people of God. When we ignore the cloud, we stumble off into the wilderness and die. When we follow the cloud, put ourselves under the direction of the indwelling Spirit of God, our way is safe.

click here to select another lesson