Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. — Exodus 40:34
The day I was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost was a day of wonder and awe. The Lord had saved my soul and forgiven me of my sins when I was a young girl. Then, I had prayed for a long while to align my heart with God’s will and to surrender every corner and aspect of my life to Him. When I did, He sanctified me, removing the inbred nature of sin. When the Holy Ghost came in and God’s glory filled my soul, I was overwhelmed and in awe of the presence of God that permeated my being.
Perhaps that is how Moses felt on the day when the cloud covered the tent and “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” He could not enter the Tabernacle because of the overpowering presence of God. In my mind’s eye, I can picture him hesitating and waiting upon the Lord as the cloud rushed in, filling every inch of the place.
The Children of Israel had not witnessed God’s presence in this way before. Certainly He had performed marvelous works for them prior to that time, but now whenever the congregation looked at the Tabernacle, they could see God’s visible presence.
God wants to be that continual presence in our hearts today. He wishes to permeate every part of our lives — our decision-making, our plans, our hopes, our dreams. Consider the words of an old hymn by Fanny Crosby:
Thou the Spring of all my comfort,
More than life to me,
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
Whom in heav’n but Thee?1
The word spring gives a visual picture of a bubbling fountain infusing our souls with joy from our Savior. He floods everything. He fills every crevice. He gives the power to follow His leading and direction.
The Holy Spirit is willing to enter each clean and holy heart. God invites us to experience His continual presence within our souls for daily empowering and guiding.
In this chapter, God called Moses to bring together all of the parts that had been made beforehand and assemble the Tabernacle according to His instructions. Notice that the directions in verses 2-16 are mirrored by the actual work in verses 17-33.
The Tabernacle was set up “in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month” (verse 17). That was fourteen days less than one year from the time the Israelites had left Egypt. The assembly process is noted beginning with the Tabernacle itself and then the furnishings from the innermost area outward. The court around the Tabernacle, the altar, and the court gate are mentioned last.
Then God’s holy presence filled the Tabernacle in a visible way: God gave His approval to the work that had been done. His glory was so overpowering that Moses could not enter. This physical manifestation of God’s presence was a powerful and moving sign to the congregation that God was among them. They were following the true God, and He would lead and guide them in the time and direction they should go. Each day the cloud, and each night the pillar of fire, provided proof of God’s presence. God did not withdraw those signs until they entered into the Promised Land. Once they had reached their goal, the cloud inhabited the Holy of Holies, where it resided upon the mercy seat.
The Book of Exodus began with the Children of Israel as slaves in Egypt and ends with them being free and having God’s presence with them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. The construction of the Tabernacle
D. The construction of the building
1. The Tabernacle assembled
c. The assembling of the parts (40:1-33)
(1) The instructions for the assembling (40:1-16)
(2) The assembling of the Tabernacle (40:17-33)
2. The Tabernacle accepted (40:34-38)
Allow God to be the Spring of your life, the Presence with which you are filled, and the Guide you willingly follow!
1. Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, Fanny Jane Crosby and William Howard Doane, Public Domain.