Exodus 40:33-34. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
Did you notice how the language at the end of Exodus echoes the language at the beginning of Genesis?
Genesis 2:2. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done.
We all know that Genesis is the book of beginnings, of creation. But what we may not know is that Exodus is the book of new beginnings, of new creation. Genesis begins in chaos, “without form and void.” But then God adds shape and beauty to the “wilderness.” He plants a garden paradise there. A place to live with man. A place for man to serve and worship him.
By the time we get to Exodus all of creation has gone terrible awry. People aren’t serving and worshiping God in a garden, they are enslaved in a desert. Creation needs a reboot. A do-over. And so Exodus becomes a new creation story. A re-creation.
But before you can have a re-creation you must have a de-creation. The ten plagues were the needed reversal of Genesis 1-2. The anti-creation. A return to chaos. Man loses control of nature. Life turns to death. The waters that God joined together in Genesis are split in two in Exodus. And the Hebrews are led into the chaos and emptiness of the wilderness.
But it is there that God will meet them on a mountain and begin to re-create them as a people. To add shape and beauty to their lives. To bring order to their chaos. To re-plant the garden as a tabernacle where he will meet with them, and be their God, and they will serve and worship him, and be his people.
Just as God finished his creation work in Genesis, here now in Exodus 40, he has finished his re-creation work through Moses – So Moses finished the work. And it was good – the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
But God’s de-creation and re-creation work in Exodus is only a shadow. The ten plagues didn’t actually judge all sin, and the tabernacle didn’t actually bring salvation. Exodus shows us the truth that before creation can be fixed, it must be broken. Before there can be new life, there must be death. But something way beyond Exodus is needed.
Jesus came to Earth to save creation. How? By becoming the creation and then allowing himself to be de-created on the cross. He became “without form and void.” He was torn in half like the sea. He died.
But then, in a glorious resurrection, he was re-created. A new humanity forged through death, made alive by the Spirit, and covenanting with God on Zion’s mountain. That’s our Christ!
Jesus’ story is our ultimate Exodus story. His de-creation and re-creation is our salvation. Because we are in Christ, we too have been de-created. We have died with Christ. We were crucified with him on that cross. The plague of death has done its work in us. And, because we are in Christ, we have been re-created in his likeness by his Spirit through our resurrection with him. We have passed through the waters of the Spirit into God’s own life. We have become his new creation by our covenant with God through our union with Jesus.
Now it is from this position of new creation that we can allow God each day to de-create us and re-create us over and over again, transforming us into the likeness of Christ through the process of death and resurrection. Christ destroying the sin that remains in us as he de-creates our selfish mental strongholds one by one. Christ re-creating us by his mind renewing grace and faithfulness, as he takes us deeper into his life changing love.
“To live is Christ” means that the de-creation and re-creation work of God in us is finished. We are the new creation. Right now! The glory of God has entered the tabernacle of God – us, the church. And it means that now we can fearlessly walk through the glorious cycle of de-creation and re-creation each day because we know that the work is already finished.
Do you see yourself as God’s finished work? Ongoing work? How are both true at the same time?
You in Christ
How does knowing that you are the new creation in Christ allow you to worship and serve him today in freedom?
Christ in you
What part of your life will you allow Christ to de-create and then re-create today?