First United Methodist Church of Conway, South Carolina
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Week 5

Annotated Reading Guide
January 25 -31
(Catching up – If you’re behind in your reading, here is a tip… chapters 25-31 give
instructions for building the Tabernacle and its furnishings and in chapters 35-40 those
instructions are carried out. You may want to skip 25-31 and use Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday to catch up on your reading. You can do this and still get most of the details.)
Jan 25:     Exodus 22-24 – Laws and Festivals, and Ratifying the Covenant
This section contains a variety of laws. As you read, try to get a feeling for God’s intention in the laws. What will obeying these laws accomplish? How will observance make life different for those who choose to depend upon God? 
As you read about the covenant ceremony, notice the importance of orderly worship and holy places. Consider how our worship is ordered and the holy places we have.
Jan 26:    Exodus 25-27 – The Tabernacle and Its Furnishings
These chapters remind us that there is a divide between Creator and the created. Thus we approach our Creator in awe and reverence. We are further separated by our sin. Thus, even when approaching God as the redeemed, there is place and need for respect, reverence and distance.
As you read about the items in the tabernacle consider how they are reflected in our church today? How do objects of holiness and reverence enrich our times of worship? 
Jan 27:     Exodus 28-29 – Priestly Vestments and Consecration
The tribe of Aaron is set apart as priests. Because the priests have special responsibilities and a special relationship with God, attention is given to their attire. Special care must be taken even for those who are set apart to approach the holy places of God.
Jan 28:     Exodus 30-31 – Final Instructions for the Tabernacle
These chapters bring to a conclusion the instructions for the Tabernacle and its furnishings. The instructions began in Exodus 25:1 with these words, “the LORD spoke to Moses…” That phrase is picked up again in the reading today where it is repeated six times. The seventh time the phrase occurs is in God’s instructions about the Sabbath. Reminding us of the creation story in Genesis 1, we see that the Tabernacle is a kind of second creation – again establishing a right and on-going relationship between God and the people of God.
Jan 29:     Exodus 32-34 – Sin Threatens to Destroy the Israelites
Moses and Joshua are on Mount Sinai getting the “official” instructions for the Tabernacle – the concrete expression of God’s presence with the Israelites.  Meanwhile, instead of waiting patiently and supporting their leaders with prayer, the Israelites “take matters in their own hands” and make a god to keep them company. It takes a bit of doing, but finally God and Moses get things sorted out and bring redemption to the Israelites. 
Jan 30:     Exodus 35-37 – Constructing the Tabernacle
The work is carried out just as God instructed. Notice that the generosity of the offering prompts Moses to tell the people to stop giving!
Jan 31:     Exodus 38-40 – The Blessing of God’s Presence
The work is completed, the Tabernacle erected and inhabited by the presence of God. What the people sought in their golden calf, through faithfulness they now receive.