“According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:42-43).
Is it really important to follow exactly what God tells us to do? Would God be pleased with us if we just did about 90% of what He tells us to do? Would His grace make up the rest?
As the book of Exodus closes, we observe the children of Israel had just finished making all the materials for the erection of the tabernacle. They had gone through some ups and downs in their walk thus far with God. They had walked through the Red Sea by faith as they escaped the Egyptians (Exodus 14:21-27), but then had complained about where they would get their food to eat and water to drink (Exodus 16:2-3; 17:1-3). They had heard the voice of God as He gave the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17), but then had failed God by worshipping a golden calf when Moses delayed coming down from the mountain (Exodus 32:1-6). After God had forgiven them, they brought forth fruits of repentance by giving such an abundance of items for the construction of the tabernacle that they had to be restrained from giving more (Exodus 36:6).
It is eye-opening to observe that the later chapters of the book of Exodus go into great detail of how God’s people had carried out the construction of the items of the tabernacle (cf. Exodus 35:4-39:41). They carried out in exact detail the construction of these items as God had earlier instructed Moses (cf. Exodus 25:1-27:21). Along with the opening verses above (Exodus 39:42-43), Moses also records: “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished. And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did” (Exodus 39:32).
A question that begs to be asked as one reads these verses is: “Why does God bother going into such great detail in the Scriptures telling us of Israel’s doing this?” Like all of the Old Testament Scriptures, these were written for our learning (Romans 15:4). As Christians, we demonstrate our love for God by obeying His precise commandments (John 14:15). When we obey God in such a manner, we are not trying to earn our salvation, but are showing our love and appreciation for God (John 15:14). In reminding us we have been saved by placing our faith in God’s grace and the gift of His Son for our sins, the apostle Paul also reminds us that we have works of God to do: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Like Israel, neither I nor my brethren in Christ are always perfect in our walk with God. We all struggle with sin. While we seek to honor God by resisting temptation, we also seek to glorify God by carrying out the commands which He has given us (Matthew 5:13-16). I appreciate my brethren who seek to show their love to God by obeying His commands. Today, I will not be satisfied with just following some of God’s commands. I will seek to follow all of them!
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:8-11).