SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- God gives Moses details instructions about things he wants the Israelites to do:
- God wants Moses to collect an offering from "everyone whose hearts prompts them to give."
- He also wants Moses' people to construct items -- an ark, an "atonement cover," a table, a lampstand, and lamps -- that meet very specific criteria. (Note that, in this case, the word "ark" refers to a container that resembles a well-decorated trunk. The "atonement cover" was the lid on this ark.)
- Once all of these instructions are followed, God says (in verse 8) that he will dwell among the people. God made these requests of Moses because he wanted them to create an environment in which he could more closely relate to his people.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- God wants to "dwell among" people who follow him -- that is, he loves us and wants us to share our life with him.
- The book of Exodus details the lives of God's people before Jesus came to earth. Before Jesus, God's people had to follow hundreds of weird-sounding rules and adhere to very certain specifications in order to connect with God.
- Jesus came to serve as a sacrifice through which we can enter into a relationship with God. This relationship is based on love instead of following rules. God used Jesus to make it easier for him to dwell among us.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you allowed God to love you just the way you are? He's not interested in the wrong things you've done or the inadequacy you may feel. He loves you unconditionally and wants a relationship with you. He wants to dwell among you.
- If you're having difficulty accepting God's love, talk to him about your fears or hesitations. He wants to work with you to get you to a place where you can accept his love and embrace the great plans he has for your life.
- If you've accepted God's love, how can you share that with other people this week? Maybe you could invite a coworker to church, or have a loving conversation with a friend who is going through a tough time. Ask God to show you how you can demonstrate his love.