Israel’s journey to Exodus 24 has been long. As you saw yesterday, the nation started with God’s call of a barren couple. While Abraham and Sarah were not likely the couple you and I would have chosen to start a nation, they were exactly the couple God was looking for. In His grace, He chose them. In His grace, He gave them a child of promise. And in His grace, He grew that child into a large family.


But the family wasn’t perfect. The child of promise had a family full of problems. Joseph, Jacob’ favorite son, was harassed by his brothers, and eventually sold into slavery in Egypt. There, he rose through the ranks – from a slave to the right hand man of the leader of the country! And God used Joseph to save the family of blessing from a famine, moving them under Joseph’s protective provision. God’s family settled in Egypt.


But, the promise seemed to have encountered another problem. A new Egyptian leader who didn’t know about Joseph rose to power. And, as Joseph’s family grew larger and stronger, Pharaoh looked around and was threatened. This family had become a nation — a nation that might threaten his power.  And so he subjected them to harsh labor, treating them as slaves rather than as visitors in his country. The nation was oppressed for generations, until God miraculously brought them out – right through the middle of Red Sea.


Now, if you’ve been in the church for a while, these stories are likely familiar to you. If you’re like me, you can remember growing up on flannel graphs of the Red Sea crossing. But, we’re all probably less concerned with the question of this study: where is God’s presence? Have you ever wondered about the presence of God within these stories? How is God leading His people? Is He near them? Do they know Him? And how does He speak to them?


These questions are vital to us as we seek to understand what it means to the nation of Israel when God calls them to build a tabernacle.


Read the following passages. Note how God speaks to His people or leads them.


Genesis 15:1-6


Exodus 3:1-12


Exodus 13:17-22


God has met His people in various ways throughout their national history. He called Abraham through a vision and called him into a covenant with Himself. He met Moses in a mysterious burning bush that wasn’t consumed. He led His newly freed people with a cloud during day, and a pillar of fire by night. All of these things proclaim the power and glory of God!


But …


We might notice, they come and go. Abraham’s vision ended. The bush eventually ceased burning. The pillar of cloud and fire would appear and disappear – and one day it appeared for the last time.


What do you think this meant to the people of Israel?


Read Exodus 25:8.


God calls His people to build a tabernacle. And embedded in that call is a promise: a promise to be near them. God is going to come and dwell in their midst. No longer will He come and go, in their estimation, unpredictably. But He will be near them.


How do you see the Gospel in this? How does this draw your heart to worship God?




Thank God that He has promised to come near His people – both in the tabernacle, and in Christ.


Author: amygannett

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