In a recent chapel message, I noted that in Exodus 40:16-33 the phrase, “the LORD commanded him” is used in v. 16 and “as the LORD had commanded Moses” occurs seven times (vv. 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32; cf. Exod 7:6, 10, 20). Clearly, a key concept in the erection of the tabernacle is one of obedience.
Obedience in the Bible is both a negative and positive idea. Negatively, obedience takes three forms. First, obedience means that we do not do what we are not supposed to do (e.g., the “thou shalt nots”). Second, obedience means that we do not do what we are not to do when we are not to do it (e.g., work on the Sabbath in the OT). Third, obedience entails refraining from doing things in a manner we are not supposed to (e.g., moving the ark [2 Sam 6:1-8]).
Positively, obedience also commonly takes three forms as can be seen in Exodus 40. First, in obedience one does what God tells you to do. Moses demonstrates this marvelously. See 40:1-2 and 40:33. Secondly, obedience involves doing what God tells you to do when he tells you to do it. The Lord tells Moses, that he is to ierect the tabernacle “on the first day of the first month” and according to 40:17, “in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected.” And thirdly, obedience is doing what God tells you to do how He tells you to do it. Notice the sevenfold repetition of “as the LORD had commanded Moses.” Furthermore, Moses completes the tasks in erecting the tabernacle in exactly the same order that the Lord had commanded in 40:1–8.
Let me conclude with the same challenge that I made in chapel.
· Do what God tells you to do – No matter the cost
· Do what God tells you to do when he tells you to do it – No matter the time
· Do what God tells you to do how He tells you to do it – No matter the difficulty