Read Exodus 37-38 at Bible Gateway.
These two chapters are part of a massive chiastic structure which has as its two bookends, the blueprints for the tabernacle given, and the blueprints for the tabernacle followed in its construction:
1A: Exo 25:1-31:11, Tabernacle offering commanded + tabernacle instructions given + Bezalel called;
1B: Exo 31:12, YHVH spoke to Moses;
1C: Exo 31:13-17, Sabbath commandment;
1D: Exo 31:18a, YHVH made an end of speaking with Moses;
1E: Exo 31:18b, YHVH gave Moses the two tablets of the Testimony;
1F: Exo 32:1-6, Idolatry committed + the covenant broken;
1G: Exo 32:7-20, Moses intercedes for the wrath of YHVH to turn from them;
1H: Exo 32:21-29, Idolaters restrained at the entrance to their tents;
1I: Exo 32:30-32, Confession of sin and plea for forgiveness;
CENTRAL AXIS: Exo 32:33-33:3, Consequence for sin = separation from YHVH’s presence;
2I: Exo 33:4-6, Repentance of sin;
2H: Exo 33:7-11, Every man worshiped at the entrance to their tents;
2G: Exo 33:12-34:9, Moses intercedes for the Presence of YHVH to go with them;
2F: Exo 34:10-27, Idolatry forbidden + the covenant renewed;
2E: Exo 34:29a, Moses came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony;
2D: Exo 34:29b-35, When YHVH spoke with Moses his face shone;
2C: Exo 35:1-3, Sabbath commandment;
2B: Exo 35:4, Moses spoke to all the congregation of Israel;
2A: Exo 35:5-39:31, Tabernacle offering brought + Bezalel called + tabernacle instructions followed.
Now there is a lot that the Scripture is teaching by all the various pairings in this structure. But we find at the heart of it, that separation from YHVH is the consequence for sin. This is exactly the same gospel that was preached from Genesis, at the Fall of Man, and the sin of Cain, and the Flood of Noah.
What is interesting here, though, is that wrapping around the judgment for sin, is Moses’ intercession and intervention. Two consequences should have come about as a result of Israel’s idolatry: 1) the children of Israel should have been consumed in the wrath of God, down to the last man, woman, and child. They were not. 2) The LORD’s Presence should not have gone up with them. However, He did.
What is Scripture teaching us? The Torah has been given to God’s people. These are not unbelievers and pagans. These are the ones who applied the blood of the Lamb to the doorposts of their houses and were baptized through the Red Sea. These are the ones who said to Moses, All that the LORD has commanded, we will do and be obedient. Scripture is revealing the grace of God poured out upon His people for their transgression of Torah, through the intervention of the Messiah (Moses as a type), the Mediator between God and men!
Or another way to say it: The Old Covenant is a covenant of grace under Moses, just as the New Covenant is a covenant of grace under Messiah!
For further study: In these chapters, Bezalel is making the tabernacle and all its furnishings according to the instructions and blueprints Moses received on Mount Sinai. The Scripture could have just said, So Bezalel made the tabernacle and all its furnishings according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, and been done with it. Why does Scripture take five chapters to say what could have been said in one sentence? There is a reason all this detail is being repeated.
The repeat draws our attention. It is by noticing the two repeats that someone is able to find the chiastic structure above that preaches the gospel of grace. But when someone begins to compare the two repeats, it is discovered that they are not exact repeats. There are significant differences between the two. Contrast is a teaching tool of Scripture! Note the similarities and especially the differences between the two repeats. What is Scripture teaching these intentional differences?
Christine, we have been following this cycle from the beginning and my husband has just not cared about the chiastic structures until this one! We even went to a conference with Tony Robinson…but He just didn’t get it, but this particular chapter’s structure made it crystal clear to him. YEAH! So cool, your insight of the breaking of the covenant and the tent of meeting placed outside the camp.