Scripture Reading: Exodus 39:33-40:33
We’re just around the corner from the end of this study of the book of Exodus. Appropriately, then, this lesson is called, “Finish The Work.”
Today is “payday” for Moses and for all the people traveling with him. They’re about to reach the culmination of all that they’ve worked for, and all that they’ve been set free for: to worship God.
The details of their work, as listed in Exodus chapters 39 and 40, might seem trivial, dull and something to skip over to someone just skimming through the Bible. But if you’ve ever worked on a building project yourself, you know that when the end of the project starts coming into view, those days can be some of the most exciting and beautiful days of the entire project!
Can you imagine what the people who were building this place of worship must have thought as they saw it all finally coming together? They’ve just carved all these beautiful things, gilded them with gold, and decorated them with all kinds of precious stones. They’ve just crafted beautiful works of art that were conceived in the very mind of God Himself.
Then they started bringing them forward to Moses, letting him look over each item to see that it was finished exactly as God had described them to him on the mountain. They begin to put it all together, standing each piece up in its place. They light the lamps, burn the incense, and put the tablets of stone, the very words of God, into the ark of the covenant, and Wow! The work is finally complete!
The whole process concludes with these words:
“So all the work on the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses….And so Moses finished the work” (Exodus 39:32, 40:33b).
What a powerful moment! Have you ever heard about something called the “212 Principle,” popularized in a book by Mac Anderson and Sam Parker? At 211 degrees Fahrenheit, water is hot, but at 212 degrees, water boils. And when water boils, you get steam, and steam can power a locomotive. Although there’s only one degree of difference between 211 and 212, that extra degree can be enough to take all the previous effort over the top!
I don’t know what kind of project you might be working on right now. I don’t know if you’re at 211 degrees, or 150, or 98.6! But I do know that we all have a tendency to wear out when we’re working on a project, even a project that God has clearly called us to do. We can get to the point where we’re not sure if we can take one more step. We’re not sure that we can raise the temperature one more degree. But let me encourage you that if God’s called you to do it, keep on doing it!
The American inventor, Thomas Edison, worked non-stop for several years to perfect the light bulb. He tested over 6,000 materials to use for filaments―everything from bamboo to cedar to hickory. After thousands of tests and a pile of failed materials that stacked up outside his house high enough to reach his second floor window, Edison finally hit upon a material that burned long enough, and bright enough, for commercial success: carbonized cotton.
Edison’s perseverance paid off, not only for himself, but for all of us who have benefited from his perseverance. Edison said, “Many of life’s failures were men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
The Apostle Paul, who knew how hard it was to persevere in the work of the Lord year after year, even in the face of endless persecution, hardship and personal suffering, still had enough confidence in the end result of that perseverance that he wrote to the people living in Galatia: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Don’t become weary in doing good! Finish the work! At the proper time, you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up.
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.