Exodus Series: Exodus 35:1-40:38 Overview

The last study in the Explore the Bible series on Exodus is “How Do You Contribute? (Exodus 35:1-40:38).” Last week we saw that Moses was the mediator between the people and God. God renewed His covenant with Israel after the golden calf because of the work of the mediator. This week we will see how the obedience of the people to God’s command gave them a place where God dwelt among them.


  1. Moses emphasizes the Sabbath and the consequence of death for not resting on it (35:1-3)
  2. Contributions for the tabernacle (35:4-29)
    1. Moses calls for contributions – gifts and labor from the generous of heart (35:4-19) – the generosity of heart is emphasized in their giving, as it should be in our giving
    2. The people respond with the contributions (35:20-29)
  3. Obedience to the commands of God for a holy place of worship (35:30-39:43)
    1. Those gifted with skill construct the Ark (37:1-9)
    2. Those gifted with skill construct the Table for the Bread of the Presence (37:10-16)
    3. Those gifted with skill construct the Lampstand (37:17-24)
    4. Those gifted with skill construct the Altar of Incense and its incense (37:25-29)
    5. Those gifted with skill construct the Altar of Burnt Offering (38:1-7)
    6. Those gifted with skill construct the Bronze Basin (38:8)
    7. Those gifted with skill construct the Court of the Tabernacle (38:9-20)
    8. The record of how much material was used to construct the tabernacle (38:21-31)
    9. Making the garments for the priests (39:1-31) – special emphasis on doing “as the LORD had commanded Moses” (v. 1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31)
    10. Summary of the work and its presentation before Moses who saw everything as done “as the LORD has commanded” (v. 32, 43) (38:32-43)
  4. Beginning to use the tabernacle (40:1-38)
    1. God instruct Moses on when and how to put the pieces together and anoint and consecrate the priests (40:1-15)
    2. Moses does as God says (40:6-33)
    3. The glory of the LORD takes up residence in the tabernacle (40:34-38)

Brief Comments
I’ll point to two things on this last week. As with too many of the Explore the Bible lessons there is a mad rush to application. First, I’ll draw out some points concerning this week’s application. Second, we’ll look at what the passage is teaching and the application we derive from that.

The title of the Explore the Bible series for this section is “How do you contribute?” I can see a few answers to that question in this week’s text. God commands the people to give of their possessions. The people response in obedience. The women even make new yarns and threads to contribute. In fact, the tabernacle is constructed out of all new materials (with the possible exception of the mirrors, 38:8). How often do we give our old and used possessions as our donations instead of what is new? The people also gave from generous hearts. Likewise, we should prepare our hearts so that they are generous and give generously. Lastly, God gave specific people gifts to be able to create and construct what was needed in the temple. Today, we need to use our gifts to serve the people of God so that they will know Him more intimately (as the tabernacle was constructed so God could live among His people).

This section of Exodus is about the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a place where God would dwell. God gave commandments for its construction so that He could dwell among His people and sanctify them. So when we read this section of Exodus we learn about the generous giving of the people and the obedience of the people. But the goal is that God would live in their presence. That is why the people gave and worked. The true believers among them longed to know God, to live in His presence and be conformed to His will. A few weeks ago we read Exodus 29:43, “There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by My glory.” God spoke of the tabernacle being the place of meeting and it being sanctified by His glory. From it we learn that God’s presence sanctifies. It makes holy. Now that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins, we should seek to be sanctified as the tabernacle was sanctified. If we are to become more like Christ, sanctified, then what must we do? We need to love God because He loved us first. We need to obey Him by loving His people and our neighbors too (Matthew 22:37-40). We need to give generously and use our skills to improve our relationship with God and other people’s relationships with God, as we are shown in the Exodus passage for this week. We must to anything that brings us into the glory of God for by that we are made like Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 reads, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” We have to behold the glory of the LORD to be transformed into His likeness. And how do we do that? Read and study and memorize your Bible. In John 17:17 Jesus prayed to God about us, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” If you want to follow the example of the Israelites in this week’s passage then seek whatever way possible but especially God’s word to draw close to Him and be like Him!

That is all for this series. I’m contemplating continuing on with these Explore the Bible blogs. Let me know what you think of that or of the Exodus ones or anything else – joshua.e.cottrell[at sign]gmail[dot/period]com.

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