Summary: Old truths with a modern application - PowerPoint slides are available for this talk on request - email:

The Tabernacle

Reading: Exodus chapter 40.


• After going on a diet, a woman was really feeling good about herself;

• Especially when she was able to fit into a pair of jeans she had outgrown long ago.

• "Look, look!" she shouted while running downstairs to show her husband.

• "I can wear my old jeans again!"

• Her husband looked at her for a long time,

• Obviously struggling with knowing what to say.

• Finally, he just had to say it,

• "Darling, I love you, but those are my jeans."

Sometimes in life we get it wrong:

• So it is always good experience when we actually get it right!

• In Exodus chapter 40 Moses got it right!

• And as we look at the passage we will see;

• That there is nothing hard or complicated as to why he got it right;

• He just applied a couple of very obvious simple principles to the situation!

• And lo and behold it produced the right results!


• 3 Key words to divide up this chapter:

• 2 of those words are the simple principles he practiced;

• And 1 word to describe the end results.

Key word No 1: Instructions (vs 1-16):


• Most of us live by the unwritten rule; “When all else fails read the instructions”.

• Occasionally it can be worth reading the instructions:

• e.g. On a Boots hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.

• e.g. On Asda’s frozen dinners: Serving suggestion: Defrost.

• e.g.On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert: (printed on bottom of the box) - Do not turn upside down.

• e.g. On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: Product will be hot after heating.

• e.g. On packaging for a Rowenta iron: Do not iron clothes on body.

• e.g. On Boot’s Children’s cough medicine: Do not drive car or operate machinery.

• e.g.On Nytol sleep aid: Warning: may cause drowsiness.

• e.g. On a food processor: Not to be used for the other use (Now I’m curious.)

• e.g. On Sainsbury’s peanuts: Warning: contains nuts.

• e.g. On an American Airlines packet of nuts: Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.

• e.g. On a Swedish chainsaw:

• Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands - (Raise your hand if you’ve tried this...)

• e.g. On a child’s Superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

• e.g. On a hotel provided shower cap in a box: FITS ONE HEAD.

• e.g. On B&Q Christmas lights: For indoor or outdoor use only.

• e.g. On a Korean kitchen knife: Warning: keep out of children.

In verses 1-16: God gives Moses instructions regarding setting up the Tabernacle:

• Unlike the examples I have just given you;

• I am glad to say that these instructions are clear, practical and they work!


• God tells Moses how to assemble everything.

• Scan the passage with me (let your eyes do some work!)

• Verse 1: “Then the Lord said…”

• Verse 3: “Place the ark of the testimony…”

• Verse 4: “Bring in…and set out…”

• Verse 4: “Bring in…and set up…”

• Verse 5: “Place the gold…”

• Verse 5: “Put the curtain at the entrance…”

• Verse 6: “Place the altar…”

• Verse 7: “Place the basin...”

• Verse 7: “Put water in it”

• Verse 8: “Set up the courtyard around it…”

• Verse 9: “Take the anointing oil…”

• Verse 9: “Consecrate it…..”

• Verse 10: “Then anoint….”

• Verse 10: “…and the altar…”

• Verse 11: “Anoint the basin…”

• Verse 12: “Bring Aaron and his sons …”

• Verse 12: “Wash them with water…”

• Verse 13: “Then dress them…”

• Verse 13: “Anoint him…”

• Verse 13: “Place the ark of the testimony…”

• Verse 13: “And consecrate him…”

• Verse 14: “Bring me his sons…”

• Verse 14: “…dress them in tunics

• Verse 15: “Anoint them…”

• I make that 24 instructions, 24 commands in just 16 verses;

• If you look harder you probably find a few more;

• The passage is just one instruction after another.

In these instructions God tells Moses 3 things:

• Verses 1-5: How to arrange the furniture within the tabernacle.

• Verses 6-11: How to arrange the items in the courtyard.

• Verses 12-16: How Moses is to anoint Aaron and his sons to minister as priests.

• Got that?

• 24+ instructions that break down in to three sections;

• Verses 1-5: How to arrange the furniture within the tabernacle.

• Verses 6-11: How to arrange the items in the courtyard.

• Verses 12-16: How Moses is to anoint Aaron and his sons to minister as priests.


• Moses started by putting up the tent;

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