READ: Exodus 24-25
THINK: Aren't religious sacrifices kind of a crude, grotesque-even tragic-ritual? That's essentially the point. People's sin and spiritual defiance are ugly things that alienate them from God and ultimately lead to death and eternal separation from Him. Sin is so contrary to God's perfect character that it requires the most extreme penalty: death. In fact, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 10:22). But animal blood could never eliminate our guilt. In God's plan, the Old Testament rituals were only a shadow of the perfect sacrifice that Jesus, God's Son, would make to pay the price for sin. His blood is the only thing that could permanently cover our sin and open the way for us to enjoy God's presence if we accept His forgiveness and entrust our lives to Him.
RESPOND: Do you think the people really intended to obey everything in God's law (cf. 24:3,7)? Why or why not? What was the significance of God sealing His covenant with Israel through blood sacrifice? (See 24:8 note.) What did the blood symbolize for the Israelites? What does "the blood of the covenant" ultimately symbolize for us today? (See 24:8 note, subpoint 2.) How are obedience and sacrifice related? (See 24:8 note, subpoint 3.) What was the tabernacle and its purpose? (See 25:9 note.) What key items were in it? (See illustration of the Tabernacle and Its Furnishings, p. 137 in the FBSE.) What did the tabernacle represent? (See 25:9 note.) In what way is the tabernacle prophetic-pointing to future events? (See 25:9 note, subpoint 5.) How was the tabernacle to be funded and furnished (25:1-7)? What was the "Ark of the Covenant," what did it symbolize, what did it contain, and what purpose did it serve? (See 25:10, 25:16; 25:17 and 25:18 notes.) Where was the Ark placed and why? In what ways do Christ's followers experience His presence, and why is this vital? What precautions must we take regarding God's presence? How were the bread and lampstand symbolic of God's presence? (See 25:30 and 25:31 notes.)
PRAY: Express your gratitude to Christ for providing the ultimate sacrifice for sin with His own life.
ACT: Spend extra time today enjoying God's presence. If you go to church, worship with greater passion. Take a walk in a favorite spot and spend the time praying and praising God. Also, set aside some extra funds for missions.
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