The Holy Spirit - Learning from Exodus
Moses was preserved in ‘a basket made of bulrushes’ (Exodus 2:3). Born again, we are preserved through God’s Word and Spirit - ‘the living and abiding Word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23). Moses was drawn out of the water (Exodus 2:10). Israel was drawn out of the bondage in Egypt (Exodus 6:6-8). Like Israel, we have been redeemed by blood (Exodus 12:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Redeemed by the Lord, we are to be consecrated to Him. In 20:1-2, ‘the Ten Commandments’ are introduced by a declaration of God’s salvation. Our obedience to God is to be grounded in this: He has redeemed us!
God’s purpose is moving forward. Pharaoh becomes more determined in his rebellion. Pharaoh’s stubborn unbelief becomes his own undoing. Pharaoh doesn’t want God. God confirms him in his unbelief (Exodus 10:28-29). God says, ‘You can go your own way, but you will be spiritually dead’ (Psalm 106:13-15). God says, ‘Do not harden your heart. You may be very close to the point of no return’ (Hebrews 3:8; Proverbs 29:1). Before you lose all inclination to return to the Lord, let Christ’s love touch your heart. Only His love can ‘create in you a clean heart’. Only His love can ‘put a new and right Spirit within you’ (Psalm 51:10).
God delivered His people from their bondage (Exodus 13:3,14,16). There is, in the Exodus, a great picture of the Gospel, which sets us free. Christ sets us free. He does this by His Word of ‘truth’ (John 8:32,36). The Gospel says, ‘Sin will have no dominion over you... You have been set free from sin’ (Romans 6:14,18,22). Through ‘the Spirit of God’, we have received ‘not... the spirit of slavery... but... the spirit of sonship’ (Romans 8:14-15). Israel’s deliverance from the land of bondage was also deliverance for a new life in ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Exodus 13:5). We look back in grateful remembrance. We look forward in eager anticipation. We have received ‘the first fruits of the Spirit’. There is more to come - ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God... the redemption of our bodies’ (Romans 8:21-23).
Before law, there is Gospel - what God has done for us (Exodus 19:4). We are to obey in the Spirit of grace, as those who have been redeemed by His mercy (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10).
Before our love for Him, there is God's love for us. He is the God of redemption. He has redeemed us. We are His people. This is His doing. All the glory belongs to Him (Exodus 20:1-2). We are to live as His people. He is to have first place in our lives (Exodus 20:3). The ‘law’ is ‘holy’ and ‘good’, but it cannot make us holy and good - without ‘the new life of the Spirit’ (Romans 7:12,6: 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:3). ‘Moses’ cannot save! There is only one Saviour - Jesus! Not under law, we yield ourselves to the God of salvation (Romans 6:13-14). Our obedience comes from faith in Christ - not legalism (Romans 1:5-6)! Our holiness comes from the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
To Israel, He sent 'an angel...' (Exodus 23:20). To us, He has sent Christ: He is the Way to the place prepared for us (John 14:2-3,6). Through the Holy Spirit, Christ continues His ministry among us (John 14:25-26). ‘Pay attention’ to the words of Christ. ‘Listen’ for the voice of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 23:21). Do not ‘quench’ or ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). It may take time - ‘little by little’ (Exodus 23:30) - but God will work through his obedient people - ‘I will... you shall...’ (Exodus 23:30-31).
Moses worshipped on ‘the mountain of God’ (Exodus 24:12-18). We worship ‘in spirit and truth’ (John 4:19-24). We come to the Father through Christ and in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). We come on the basis of Christ’s blood shed for us (Hebrews 10:19-22). We come as those to whom the Spirit has been given (John 1:33; 3:34). With ‘the Spirit of God’ living in us and helping us as we pray, let us feast on Christ, the Truth, the living Word, to whom the written and spoken words point us (Romans 8:9,26; John 14:6; 1:1,14; 17:17).
A ‘royal priesthood’, we have been called by God - to let His light shine (1 Peter 2:9). He has called us to serve Him (Exodus 28:1 John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 13:2; 9:15; Hebrews 5:4). The divine call is accompanied by a divine empowering - ‘the Holy Spirit sent from heaven’ (1 Peter 1:12). We are precious to God - Our ‘names’ are written on His heart (9-12,21,29-30; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; John 10:3). In Christ we are cleansed (29:4 1 John 1:7), anointed (29:7; 1 John 2:27) and robed (Exodus 29:5-6,8-9; Isaiah 61:10). In Christ, we have ‘the best robe’ (Exodus 28:2; Luke 15:22; Revelation 7:9-10,13-14). In Him, we are ‘consecrated’ by the Word and ‘anointed’ by the Spirit (Exodus 28:3,41; John 17:17; John 14:16-17,26; John 16:13-14).
The Word of God (‘the testimony’) declares the mercy of God, leading to our meeting with God (Exodus 30:6). We highlight several features of our worship: (a) ‘the blood of the sin offering of atonement’ (Exodus 30:10) - This points to the ‘how much more’ sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for us (Hebrews 9:13-14); (b) ‘washing’ (Exodus 30:18) - Christ ‘has washed us from our sins in His blood’ (Revelation 1:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-6); (c) ‘holy anointing oil’ (Exodus 30:25) - We are to be ‘consecrated’, ‘most holy’, servants of the Lord, ‘making holiness perfect in the fear of God’, living in the power of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 30:29-30; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Zechariah 4:6); (d) ‘incense’ (Exodus 30:35) - We are to be ‘the aroma of Christ’, spreading His ‘fragrance’ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). Christlike living is grounded in prayer (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4; Luke 18:1; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
‘Called’ by God and ‘filled’ with His Spirit (Exodus 31:1-3), Bezalel had the support of Oholiab and ‘all able men’ (Exodus 31:6). Few may be called and equipped to lead, but many are required for God’s work to be done - effectively (1 Corinthians 12:4-10). ‘All’ of us receive our strength from the ‘Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:11). We offer ourselves in service with this faith, ‘Jesus is Lord’. Faith is God’s gift: ‘no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’. There are many gifts. They are varied expressions of one gift - the faith which confesses that ‘Jesus is Lord’ (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The work of God is shared by many different people with many different gifts. The work is done according to (a) the Lord’s command (Exodus 35:1,4,10; Exodus 36:1,5); (b) heartfelt obedience (Exodus 35:21; Exodus 36:3,5-7); (c) the God-given abilities (Exodus 35:24-25; Exodus 36:2,4,8). There is something for ‘everyone’ to do - everyone ‘whose heart is stirred whose spirit is moved’ (Exodus 35:21). Many gifts are needed (Exodus 31-35). Underlying them all, there is this: ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ (Exodus 35:31).