Exodus 30-31: Written by God

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Exodus 30-31: Written by God

February 11, 2024


Exodus 30-31; Psalm 34; Matthew 14:22-36; Acts  20:13-38 

Exodus 30-31:

These last two chapters before the infamous golden calf end with the delivery of two stone tablets to Moses (31:18). God describes how the tent of meeting is to be organized and gives instructions for the Day of Atonement (Ex. 30), a day whose fulfillment is found in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins. 

There is then Oholiab and Bezalel, gifted with knowledge and all craftsmanship, who are commissioned to make the ark and the furnishings and the mercy seat (31:1-11). Bezalel is “filled with the Spirit of God” (31:3), showing that such indwelling and infusing of God’s Spirit is related not only to more narrowly defined “spiritual” matters but practical matters like building. God gifts carpenters as much as preachers, mechanics as much as lecturers, and both have their role to play in the building up of the kingdom of God. 

The chapters conclude with a description of the Sabbath (31:12-17). This is “throughout your generations” (31:13, 16) for a particular purpose. The Sabbath is not simply for relaxation but to act as a “sign” (31:13, 17) that they “may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you” (31:13). When Jesus came and appeared to break the Sabbath, according to the Pharisaic narrow interpretations, he said that he was “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5). The Sabbath was intended to be a sign to point to Christ as the Lord, in whom is our rest from guilt, condemnation, and judgment. 

The Sabbath also echoes the created order of the universe: “in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed” (31:17). If God rested one day in seven, who are we to think that we do not also need a similar pattern of rest? Our bodies appear to be made for such an order: one day out of every seven given over to worship, rest, and renewal. The atheistic Soviet Union attempted for a time to change this pattern by introducing a ten-day work week—thinking it would increase productivity—but they found that it was unsustainable and had to revert back to the pattern set up by God in creation. 

We conclude these chapters with the reminder that the Law of God was “written with the finger of God” (31:18). God’s moral Law is unchangeable, for it represents his unchangeable character. It comes as a result of redemption, that then leads to obedience, an obedience which trembles at God’s Word that comes from God’s mouth and God’s Law, written by the finger of God himself. 


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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