The Establishing of Israel’s Worship

Discovery for Students

The Establishing of Israel’s Worship


Exodus 24:12 through 40:38

“Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.” (Exodus 39:32)


This final portion of the Book of Exodus focuses on Israel’s worship. Moses had been on the mountain with God, where he received the covenant which was to be established with the people (Exodus 19:3-7). Chapter 24 details the people’s promise to obey the covenant and its ratification. Moses built an altar with twelve pillars (representing the twelve tribes) and there the people vowed obedience to God. After sealing the covenant with blood, the spiritual and political representatives of the people ascended the mount with Moses, where they saw a visible manifestation of God. Following that, Moses was commanded to come again to the mount to receive further instructions for God’s special people and establish the rites and ceremonies that would define their worship.

In Chapters 25-31, God gave Moses specific directions regarding the construction of a tabernacle where His Spirit would dwell. While at first glance these instructions may appear to be merely ancient and complicated structural details, they are in fact a rich treasure trove of symbolism. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Tabernacle and its furnishings were a picture of God’s great plan for the salvation of humanity — God’s new and better way, described in the New Testament in the Book of Hebrews.

Chapters 32-34 record how Israel turned to idolatry while Moses was on the mountain. We are told of God’s punishment for the people’s rebellion and their subsequent restoration to God.

In chapters 35-40, we read how God’s plans for a place of worship were carried out by those who built the Tabernacle. Much of this material is a repetition of the details given earlier to Moses in chapters 25-31, witnessing to the fact that God’s instructions were carried out precisely. On the appointed day, almost a year after leaving Egypt, Moses set up the Tabernacle and all the furnishings just as God had directed. When he finished the work, “a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).


  1. God told Moses to ask the Children of Israel to bring an offering in order to build the Tabernacle. What condition did He place on the offering and why? Exodus 25:1-8
  2. In Exodus 25:10-16, 21 we read the first instructions God gave Moses relating to the Ark of the Covenant, which was part of the furnishings of the Tabernacle. What item was the Ark to contain, and why was this article so important?
  3. Exodus chapters 25-27 describe the Tabernacle and its furnishings. List at least five items for which God gave the details. Why do you think God gave such exacting and specific instructions?
  4. Why did the Children of Israel have Aaron make them a golden calf? Exodus 32:1-8
  5. What were the qualifications of Bezaleel and Aholiab, the men whom God chose to supervise the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:30-35; 36:1-2, 4, 8)? How do their qualifications parallel God’s requirements for workers today?
  6. Chapter 36 gives details regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. What might be the significance of the following facts?

    There was only one sanctuary, not many.

    The Tabernacle was located at the center of Israel’s encampment.

    The Tabernacle and its furnishing were portable.

  7. Aaron and his sons were chosen to minister inside the Tabernacle (see Exodus 28:1-3). The first 31 verses of chapter 39 describe the preparation of the holy garments to be worn by Aaron. Why do you think God required special clothing for Aaron?
  8. The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle when it was completed (Exodus 40:33-34). What can we expect to happen if we do everything God asks of us?


God delineated minute details regarding the place and methods of worship for the Children of Israel, showing us the care we must take in our worship of Him if we desire His blessing upon our lives.