Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 35-36

Opening Prayer: Almighty and gracious God, we come before you as your bride, and we ask that you would wash us with the water of your word. Wash us that we might be made spotless and equipped to serve in your house. Through Jesus Christ, Amen! IntroductionHere, the instructions for building the tabernacle are beginning…

When Worship Becomes Liturgical Clap Trap

In nearly every letter of the New Testament, the apostles insist that Christians must live out the gospel in their families. As we seek to build this church, this must be one of the central results of our gathering here. Husbands who worship here must be characterized by loving their wives, cherishing their wives, and…

Wise Men and Magic

Continuing my binge of posts: “Wise men” only show up in Ex. 7:11 and 36:4. In 7:11 they’re Egyptians who are helping the magicians to do enchantments to make their staffs turn into serpents like Aaron’s. In 36:4 they’re Israelites who are apparently helping Bezalel and Aholiab and the other “wise hearted” artisans to turn…

Tovia Ann: Real Baby

I’ve been meaning to mention that last week we heard Tovia give us a real good cry for the first time. I should say that Tovia is the sort of baby that does a lot of grunting and squeaking and twisting and turning and frowning when things aren’t quite like she would prefer. She’s fairly…

Sumpter Plans

Most folks have probably heard by now or have at least heard rumors that we are moving. ‘Tis true. I have accepted a call to serve as pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho, and we will be moving at the beginning of July. I’m very thankful that Holy Trinity here in Greenville has…

Double Creation Narratives

Exodus 25-31 form a single unit of seven speeches: “And God spoke to Moses saying…” The fact that there are seven speeches already suggests a parallel to Genesis 1, but the order of the speeches seems to confirm this pattern as well (e.g. the last speech is a restatement of the Sabbath command). After this…

Bezalel and Aholiab and the Midwives

Given the parallels between the wise women of the early chapters of Exodus and the wise women who are building the tabernacle toward the end of Exodus, it seems clear that Bezalel and Aholiab, the chief artisans of the tabernacle, are in some sense parallel to Shiphrah and Puah, the faithful Hebrew midwives. As Shiphrah…

Wisdom is a Woman

Given that “wisdom” is central to Yahweh’s building project, it is hardly surprising that women are the ones singled out for their contributions to the building of the tabernacle (35:22, 35, 36, 38:8). There were clearly men leading the building project, but it is women who are identified most directly with being “gifted artisan” or…

Wisdom Builds a House

At the beginning of Exodus it is Pharaoh who decides to deal “shrewdly” with the Hebrews and forces them to build his storage cities. The word in Hebrew is literally “wisely” (1:10). Later, it is Pharaoh who summons his “wise men” to perform enchantments to counter Moses and Aaron (7:11). Of course Yahweh confounds the…

New Covenants

We have noted this morning that when we refer to the “Sinai Covenant” we are really referring to two covenants. The covenant is originally established with the nation of Israel, the law is given and explained, and the whole deal is sealed with a feast. But this covenant is broken in the golden calf incident,…