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Final Instructions on Mount Sinai

Exodus 30:1-31:18
I. Context
Who are the main characters in this passage? What do we know about them?

This passage is, like several before it, a one-way discourse between God and Moses where God is giving
specific instruction to him. We know that Moses has been selected by God to be God's ambassador to the
Israelites. This passage gives us insight into the detailed nature of God's character. Also, we are reminded that
God is a purposeful god; there are reasons he has things done they way he does.

When and where does this passage take place?

Since this is a continuation of the previous passages, we know that Exodus 19:1 tells us that the israelites arrived
at Sinai exactly three months after leaving Egypt, which would be around the end of May/beginning of June by our
calendar. At the end of Chapter 24, we are told that Moses dwelt with God on the mountain for 40 days. This
section of scripture appears to be during the last part of this 40 day period on Mount Sinai.

What is going on? (Summary of Events)

Chapter 30 consists of five sections. The first section, verses 1-10, describe the Altar of Incense which was to
be placed before the curtain that veiled the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron was to burn fragrant insense on it every
morning and evening and was to offer atonement once a year on its horns. The second section, verses 11-16,
describe the offering required of every Israelite as a ransom for his life, a payment for atonement and to be counted
among his people. The third section, verses 17-21, describe the basin that was to be used by Aaron and his sons to
wash their hands and feet when they performed their duties. The fourth and fifth sections, verses 22-33 and 34-38,
describe the ingredients and usage of the anointing oil and insense, respectively.
Chapter 31 consists of two sections. In the first section, verses 1-11, the Lord is describing how he has chosen
Bezalel, son of Uri, and annointed Oholiab, son of Ahisamach, to be the lead artizans and workers for the
construction of the tabernacle. Further, the Lord tells Moses that he has empowered all the craftsmen of Israel to
be able to make all the things that were requred for the tabernacle. In the second section, the Lord focuses on the
importance of observing the Sabbaths as the Lord had commanded them to do and further establishes it as a lasting
covenant between him and his people.
The passage ends with verse 18 of chapter 31 where the Lord finishes speaking to Moses and gives him the two
stone tablets with the Testimony inscribed on them by the finger of God.

II. Interpretation

What principles are illustrated in this passage? What would you consider the theme of this passage?

What do we learn of God's character based upon the types and nature of these instruction? Does this passage point us
toward or connect with Christ? If so, how?

Why do you think it was so important for God to give such specific detail in his instructions, both in what to make for the
tabernacle and how it was to be used?

III. Application

This entire discourse on Mount Sinai centers around sanctification and consecration. Notice how it is man's responsibility
to set apart those things God commanded, but it is God who consecrates them, makes them holy. The general flow might
be something like this: God commands, man obeys, God makes it holy. This is a great reminder to us that we offer
ourselves freely of our own will to God, but it is only God who has the ability to make holy what we offer to him through
the eternally-sufficient sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ.