Exodus 40:31-38: What to Do When You Don't Know What's Going On

Krissa Lox

Active Member
Exodus 40:31-38

And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses.

And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.

For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

At the time the Israelites were instructed to build the tabernacle, they were going through a pretty awkward and unpleasant time. They had just seen God do amazing things on their behalf to bring them out of slavery and been given promises of a wonderful future ahead, but their present circumstances consisted of being surrounded on all sides by a wilderness that they had no idea what to do with.

For us who know the whole of the story, we can see that going through the wilderness was part of the process of moving from slavery to freedom. But to those who were actually living through it without knowing how it would all play out, it must have been terrifying.

So, perhaps realizing that the people needed more assurance in going forward than just the word of a man who talked to thundering clouds, the Lord instructed a tabernacle to be built so that He could dwell among and lead His people in a more direct and visible manner that everyone could see rather than having to rely only on the words of a few select "elite" however trustworthy they may be.

While the Levitical priesthood was also established in this time, its purpose was to keep the area of the tabernacle and those who approached it cleansed enough from defilement that the Lord could continue dwelling there, to care for His people from among them rather than from a more distant place on high. IE: the priesthood was meant to facilitate the connection between God and His people, not to usurp it, and it's probably not a coincidence that when the practices of the priesthood tended toward the latter, He sent a new Tabernacle into the earth in the form of Jesus Christ to reclaim the means to dwell among and guide His people directly without corrupt mediators getting in the way.

While I have no special insights as to what's going on in the world right now other than having the same Bible to read and access to God through prayer as anyone else, I would venture to say we seem very much to have entered a wilderness time where no one knows the terrain we are in or how to provide for ourselves and our families while going through it, and an added layer of complexity of multiple "elite" voices claiming that our only hope is to unquestioningly follow their lead.

I would not go so far as to say all such voices are necessarily corrupt or ill-intentioned, but I will point out the precedent set in Exodus that even with Moses' leadership - who could probably be considered as trustworthy as any earthly man could be - God did not expect the people to move on his word alone, but created a means to communicate with His people directly and visibly to verify the way He wanted them to go.

From this, I have confidence that whatever is the true nature of events happening in the world, God is not going to abandon His people to leave them to figure out what to do or who to trust on their own. But we might need to do some cleansing and set apart some dedicated space for Him in our lives so that He can more effectively reach us with His consolation and guidance.