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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 38

Mackintosh's Notes on the PentateuchMackintosh's Notes

Verses 1-31

Exodus 35 - 40

These chapters contain a recapitulation of the various parts of the tabernacle and its furniture; and inasmuch as, I have already given what I believe to be the import of the more prominent parts, it were needless to add more. There are, however, two things in this section from which we may deduce most profitable instruction, and these are, first, the voluntary devotedness ; and, secondly, the implicit obedience of the people with respect to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation. And first, as to their voluntary devotedness, we read, "And all the consecration of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold : and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord. And every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers' skins, brought them. Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass, brought the Lord's offering: and every man with whom was found shittim wood? for any work of the service, brought it. And all the women that were wise-hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair. And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod, and for the breastplate: and spice and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring, for all manner of work which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses." ( Ex. 35: 20-29 .) And, again, we read, "And all the wise men that; wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; and they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make, . . . . for the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much." (Ver. 4-7.)

A lovely picture this of devotedness to the work of the sanctuary! It needed no effort to move the hearts of the people to give, no earnest appeals, no impressive arguments. Oh! no; their " hearts stirred them up." This was the true way. The streams of voluntary devotedness flowed from within. "Rulers," "men," "women" - all felt it to he their sweet privilege to give to the Lord, not with a narrow heart or niggard hand, but after such a princely fashion that they had " enough and too much."

Then, as to their implicit obedience , we read, " according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel made all the work. And Moses did look upon all the work, and, behold, they had done it as the Lord had commanded, even so had they done it: and Moses blessed them." ( Ex. 39: 42 , 43 ) The Lord had given the most minute instructions concerning the entire work of the tabernacle. Every pin, every socket, every loop, every tach, was accurately set forth. There was no room left for man's expediency, his reason, or his common sense. Jehovah did not give a great outline and leave man to fill it up He left no margin whatever in which man might enter his regulations. By no means. "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. ( Ex. 25: 40 ; Ex. 26: 30 ; Heb. 8: 5 ) This left no room for human device. If man had been allowed to make a single pin, that pin would, most assuredly, have been out of place in the judgement of God. We can see what man's "graving tool" produces in Ex. 32 . Thank God, it had no place in the tabernacle. They did, in this matter, just what they were told - nothing more - nothing less. Salutary lesson this for the professing church! There are many things in the history of Israel which we should earnestly seek to avoid - their impatient murmurings, their legal vows, and their idolatry; but in those two things may we imitate them. May our devotedness be more whole hearted, and our obedience more implicit. We may safely assert, that if all had not been done "according to the pattern showed in the mount," we should not have to read, "then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." ( Ex. 40: 34 , 35 ) The tabernacle was, in all respects, according to the divine pattern , and, therefore, it could be filled with the divine glory . There is a volume of instruction in this. We are too prone to regard the Word of God as insufficient for the most minute details connected with His worship, and service. This is a great mistake, a mistake which has proved the fruitful source of evils and errors, in the professing Church. The word of God is amply sufficient for everything, whether as regards personal salvation and walk, or the order and rule of the assembly. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ( 2 Tim. 3: 16 , 17 ) This settles the question. If the Word of God furnishes a man thoroughly unto " all good works," it follows, as a, necessary consequence, that whatever I find not in its pages, cannot possibly be a good work. and, further, be it remembered, that the divine glory cannot connect itself with ought that is not according to the divine pattern.

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Beloved reader, we have now travelled together through this most precious book. We have, I fondly hope, reaped some profit from our study. I trust we have gathered up some refreshing thoughts of Jesus and His sacrifice as we passed along. Feeble, indeed, must be our most vigorous thoughts, and shallow our deepest apprehensions, as to the mind of God in all that this Book contains. It is happy to remember that through grace, we are on our way to that glory where we shall know, even as we are known; and where we shall bask in the sunshine of His countenance who is the beginning and ending of all the ways of God, whether in creation, in providence, or redemption. To Him I do most affectionately commend you, in body, soul, and spirit. May you know the deep blessedness of having your portion in Christ, and be kept in patient waiting for His glorious advent. Amen.

C. H. M.

Bibliographical Information
Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Exodus 38". Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nfp/exodus-38.html.
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