Monday, 14 February 2011

Sabbath and Spoils

Observations on Exodus 35-37

Jordan says that given that the Israelites are on the move and not at home, it's unlikely that this somewhat extreme prohibition (capital punishment) on work during the Sabbath referred to a bit of DIY, or even their jobs as that most of them weren't able to practice their trade during the trek up to the land of promise anyway!

Instead, Moses talks about the kindling of fire. It's not that they can't make a cup of tea, but rather "unauthorised fire". On the Sabbath, the only fire that could be offered to the LORD was that which was stoked was the altar in God's appointed place of worship.

Fire is symbolic of the presence of God and so to stoke one's own fire on the Sabbath was symbolic of setting oneself up against the LORD. Aaron's sons would learn this lesson the hard way!

The People bring more than enough Egyptian plunder and personal wealth to build the Tabernacle. God made a new and acceptable place of worship (Tabernacle) out of the precious materials of a destroyed land (Egypt). God will do the same at the end of history as we know it, when he brings people of every tribe, nation and tongue to be his temple in the renewed world.

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