Repetition for a Reason

When it comes to me and my activities, “no news is good news.” I’m glad I continue to be active and pain free! Debbie is a continuing a prolonged transition from being a case manager to being an “R.N. Resource Specialist”. This will lighten her work load and allow her to support and mentor other case managers based on her experience of 25 years of hospice care.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “The Israelites had done all the work following the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Moses inspected all the work and saw that they had followed the Lord’s instructions. So Moses blessed them.” Exodus 39:42,43 GW

When reading through Exodus it is easy to gloss over the final chapters of the book. After all, chapters 37-39 are mostly a repeat of chapters 28-30. I was reading the commentary on Exodus of a Jewish author that I respect highly and he seemed to dismiss these chapters as simply a repeat of the instructions the Lord gave to Moses.

So, why the repetition? Does the Lord delight in redundancy? What we must remember in scripture is what is repeated is of importance. From the beginning to the end of chapter 39 of Exodus you read, “They followed the Lord’s instructions to Moses.” Not just once, but seven times this phrase is repeated. After each aspect of building the tabernacle we find the conclusion, “They followed the Lord’s instructions to Moses.”

Then we have the culmination. Moses inspects the work, ensures everything is done properly according to the Lord’s instructions and then “blesses” the people and the workers. It is not just the effort that is blessed. It is not just the fact the project is completed. It had to be completed exactly as the Lord had instructed.

The true “grand finale” comes at the end of chapter 40 the final chapter in Exodus. Now it is Moses’ turn. As Moses assumes his responsibilities we read, “Moses followed the Lord’s instructions.” Once again we find this phrase repeated seven times, as the Lord instructs Moses to now set up the “tent.” The leader as well as the people are under the same mandate to obey the Lord’s instructions. (This is what later kept Moses from the Promised Land)

Then we read, “Finally, Moses finished the work. Then the column of smoke covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tent. Moses couldn’t go into the tent of meeting, because the smoke settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tent.” (Exodus 40:34-35 GW)

For a people who “got is wrong” so often and disobeyed and failed so frequently, it is important to know that they got this right. The instructions of building the tent or tabernacle was exactly as the Lord instructed. They heard and knew what they were to do and they did it. The result was the the blessing of the Lord and the Lord’s presence revealed in a powerful way.

While our obedience does not bring our salvation, it is evidence of our salvation. Paul declared, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV) But he goes on and reminds us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Obedience reveals our life in Christ and our love for Christ.. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 ESV)

In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV) If you want to stand firm, withstand the storms of life, then hold on to God’s Word and live by it. “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

In the Upper Room as Jesus washed the disciple’s feet and told them about the importance of servanthood, He said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)

Some of Paul’s final words to the Philippians were, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9 NLT)

Often times we want the peace without the practice. But we realize that the blessing and abiding presence of the Lord comes from the “doing” more than just the “knowing.”

Perhaps the greatest summary comes from the words of the old hymn, “trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Do I need to repeat that???