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.
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 terrestrial “wilderness.” He plants a garden paradise as his earthly temple where he will dwell with man. A place where man will serve and worship God.
But by the time we get to Exodus all of creation has gone terrible awry. God’s people aren’t worshiping him in a garden-temple. They’ve forgotten God in the desert of Egypt. They aren’t serving God, ruling with dominion over creation. They’re enslaved by a mad man, building his towers. By time we get to Exodus, 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. And that’s what the ten plagues were – the needed reversal of Genesis 1-2. The anti-creation. A return to chaos. Man losing his control over nature. Life turning to death. At the Red Sea, the waters that God joined together in Genesis are split in two in Exodus. And the Hebrews are led into the “formless void” of the wilderness.
And it is there that God will meet them on a mountain and begin to re-create them as his people. His covenant will add shape and beauty to their lives. It will bring order to their chaos. God will re-plant the garden as a tabernacle where he will meet with them. And he will be their God, and they will serve and worship him, and they will be his people.
And 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 truly re-create us. How? By first becoming the creation and then by allowing himself to be de-created on the cross. Jesus became “without form and void.” He was torn in half like the sea. He entered the chaos of death.
But then, in a glorious resurrection, Christ was re-created. In him the new humanity was forged through death, made alive by the Spirit, and brought into a new covenant with God on Zion’s mountain. That’s our Christ!
Jesus’ story is our ultimate Exodus story. In him we too have been de-created. We died with Christ. We were crucified with him on that cross. But also in him we have been re-created by our union with his resurrection. Now it is from our 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.
“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 today we can fearlessly walk through the glorious cycle of de-creation and re-creation 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?
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