Exodus 38

Exodus 38
by Pastor David Groendyk


As we continue our tour through the construction of the tabernacle and its contents, let’s remind ourselves of the significance of each of the pieces that are under construction in this chapter.

The altar of burnt offering (vv. 1–7; see also Ex. 27:1–8) was the place where all the sacrifices would be offered. You can read about all the different kinds of sacrifices in Leviticus 1–7, but the common denominator between all of them was that the sacrifices made the people right with God. This was how atonement was made between the people and God, how the people paid the debt they owed God for their sins, how they showed that there was peace between God and man, and how they represented total dedication to God. In order for man to dwell with God, a sacrifice must be made. Without a sacrifice, we are still guilty of our sins and owe God a debt. We are unacceptable in God’s sight and he looks upon us in wrath. It’s only when a sacrifice is made that we’re made right, our sin taken away, and God looks upon us favorably. Praise God that he sent his once-and-for-all sacrifice to take away the guilt owed for our sins in Jesus Christ! Have you trusted in Christ’s sacrifice to take away your sins? Are you at peace with God?

The bronze basin (v. 8; see also Ex. 30:17–21) was for Aaron and the other priests to wash in before they offered a sacrifice or did any sort of ministering. Even the priests who served God regularly had to be cleansed on a regular basis. They were required to wash their hands and feet; if they didn’t wash, they would die. This washing was less about physical hygiene and more about spiritual cleansing. And while Jesus also spiritually cleanses us once and for all (just like his one-time sacrifice on the altar takes away our guilt), there is also an ongoing aspect of this cleansing for us. We’re commanded as Christians to continually confess our sins to God asking for forgiveness. Why? Because there will never be a time in this life that we don’t have sin (see 1 John 1:5–10). The Christian life is one where we are constantly identifying, confessing, and repenting of sin. We must take great pains to live our lives with consciences clear of any sin we may be committing (Acts 24:16). Only when we are cleansed from sin can we draw near to God with confidence and boldness (Heb. 10:22). Is there any un-confessed sin in your life that you need to repent of? Draw near to God in confession today, and he will welcome you with open arms.

The court (or courtyard) (vv. 9–20; see also Ex. 27:9–19) surrounded the actual building and had a fence all around it. The courtyard separated the dwelling place of God from the dwelling place of the Israelites. It was a buffer. Inside the courtyard, before entering the actual tabernacle, were the altar of burnt offerings and the bronze basin, which prepared the individual to meet with God. The only way into the courtyard was through the gate on the east side. There was no other way in. No one else would even be able to see into the courtyard because of the fence. There was only one way to see or approach God. Likewise, Christ is our one and only entrance to God. He is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), the door for the sheep (John 10:7–9), the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5). Without his sacrifice and purification, we could never come to the Father. What other ways do men and women try to come to God without Christ?

Finally, notice that God’s people had been bought with a price (v. 26; see also Ex. 30:11–16). Every person who is redeemed by God has a cost. The silver that the Israelites had to pay was a paltry representation of what it costs God to save sinners. The true cost is the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:19–20). Are you beginning to see how important Jesus Christ is to the Christian? Without Christ, there is no salvation, and there is no hope. Is Christ central to your life? Is he the most valuable piece of your life? Do you live your whole life for him?