NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum.
Bible Passages: Exodus 39:42-43; 40:1-4, 34-38
Discussion Questions: How do the things seen in nature point to God’s glory? What does seeing the glory of God reveal about God’s character? What does the glory of God reveal about humanity? How can a person keep the proper perspective of God and humanity?
Food for thought:
The August solar eclipse caught our attention like very few events. We rushed to secure the proper glasses, arranged to be in the perfect place to experience the shadow, and downloaded apps so we could track it. Try as we may, we could not ignore the phenomenon. News broadcasts followed the eclipse, telecasting from various points along the way. Most of us wanted to see the eclipse, but were still cautious as we glanced at the sun through our special glasses.
Imagine the scene described in Exodus 40 as God made His presence known by descending on the tabernacle. We are told that the cloud filled the tabernacle and no one was able to enter. Paul tells us that God dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). The presence of God must have been a frightening sight and yet simultaneously profoundly beautiful. The people knew they were unworthy witnesses of God’s glory as unholy creatures. Yet at the same time, God initiated the relationship, choosing to reveal His glory to them as a beautiful act of grace. No one could ignore God’s presence nor could they be neutral. God’s presence always demands attention.
Believers today must approach entering into God’s presence with the same attitudes found in Exodus 40. God’s presence makes us uncomfortable since our sins are exposed. Imperfection is always overwhelmed when in the presence of perfection. We must never forget that Jesus is more than a friend; He is also our Holy God. At the same time, we should be overwhelmed with gratitude because He chooses to make Himself known to us. Just as God chose the Israelites, He chooses to offer us salvation so we too can enjoy His presence. He assures us that we can approach Him through faith in Jesus, declaring us holy. Failing to approach Him leads to condemnation. However, failing to approach Him with respectful fear leads to contempt.
Explore the Bible
Explore the Bible is an ongoing Bible study curriculum that helps groups dig into the key truths of each Bible book, while keeping the group on pace to study through the Bible books in a systematic way. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/ExploreTheBible.