The Bible Knowledge Commentary offers some details on the ransom: “Whenever a census was taken each Israelite 20 years old or more was to pay a tax to help maintain the tabernacle and services. This tax was considered a ransom (Exodus 30:12) because its payment guaranteed protection from plagues. This helped motivate each male to pay. It was also considered an atonement, a covering for sins. When counted, each adult male, whether rich or poor, was to pay a half shekel, one-fifth of an ounce. A “gerah” was a Babylonian weight. The shekel was silver. This practice became the basis of the later temple tax (Nehemiah 10:32, though the amount then was reduced to one-third of a shekel) that became an annual tax in the time of Christ (Matthew 17:24).”
The next item to be made for the Tabernacle was the Bronze Laver. It was here where water was kept so the priests could wash their hands and feet just prior to entering into the Tabernacle service.
If the priests neglected to wash in the Bronze Laver, they were to be put to death (you may have noticed several capital offenses mentioned in this section, punishable by death Exodus 30:33, 38; 31:14). Indeed, God is holy.
Moses was commanded to make a sanctified anointing oil as well as a sanctified incense. The oil was symbolic of the Holy Spirit, the incense was symbolic of prayer. These would be beautiful symbols, but if we don’t guard our hearts we might look to these things, even something like holy water – as being good enough in-and-of itself. What if you burnt incense but didn’t pray? What if you were anointed with holy oil, but refused to be holy? What if you dipped your hands in holy water, but chose not to repent and be cleansed of your sin? All these things in the Tabernacle are a means to an end and point beyond itself – may we remember that, and always hold to the substance, and not the shadow.
Colossians 2:17 (NKJV) “…which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
(see also Hebrews 8:5; 10:1)
I believe everyone of us has talents we’re born with, and gifts we’re born-again with. The key is to discover those gifts, develop, and deploy them for the Kingdom of God. Here we have Bezalel named by God to lead the way with the workmanship of the Tabernacle. God also named Aholiab to assist, as well other gifted artisans who had the Spirit upon them, and wisdom within them – even in their hearts! God is an amazing artist, beautiful and creative; He fashioned us all to function in a special place in the Body of Christ. Have you discovered your place yet?
1 Peter 4:10 (NKJV) “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
The Jews were to keep the Sabbath and rest on the 7th day (what a beautiful gift). It’s too bad that over the years they made so many rules for the Sabbath, that it became a burden rather than a blessing.
The Old Covenant had the law written with the “finger” of God on tablets of stone. The New Covenant would also be written by Him, but on our hearts instead. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 3:3 (NKJV) “…clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”
Jesus was not only betrayed by a friend, but with a kiss…which made it hurt so much more. It had been prophesied in the Old Testament.
Psalm 41:9 (NKJV) “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
Psalm 55:12–14 (NKJV) “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. 13 But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.”
Although He was betrayed by His friend (with a kiss), He simply laid down His life. The Apostles forsook Him (Matthew 26:56), the Temple Guards arrested Him, the religious leaders illegally tried Him, condemned Him, spat in His face, struck Him, mocked Him, and sentenced Him to death, even the death of the cross – but somehow it didn’t move Him; Jesus was strengthened through it all. It was the greatest expression of love in all of eternity – love demonstrated and directed by God…for you and me. (Romans 5:8)
This Psalm was no doubt written after David confessed his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah. Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 12) and finally, in honest humility David confessed his sin. He had languished in his misery, “separated” from God, for close to a year.
In my many days as a pastor I’ve seen people deny it till their blue in the face, even when they’re full-on guilty and the evidence is right there in front of them. If we refuse to confess our sin, it will eat away at our soul, and destroy us from within.
Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) ”He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Psalm 32:8-9 reminds me that God wants to draw me close to Him and longs to guide me through the instruction of His Word. May I not be like a stubborn mule, who refuses God’s voice and therefore requires circumstantial discipline to draw me near to hear the Lord. Will I learn the easy way, or the hard way? Some people never learn.
Proverbs 8 emphasizes the fact that God utilized wisdom in His creation. It also personifies wisdom to such an extent, that some have said this is Jesus. But we need to be careful in pouring too much theology into such imagery.
Jesus was the agent of creation according to John 1:3; but Jesus was not “brought forth” (Proverbs 8:24), He was not created. As a member of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) Jesus has always existed.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I believe God is showing us in Proverbs 8 what He did with wisdom, and wooing us with what we might do with this wisdom from above.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.