“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”  Exodus 40:34

In Exodus 40:16-33, Moses assembles the tabernacle.  He does so carefully, thoroughly, obediently.  The paragraph begins with a prospective summary in verse 16 and ends with a retrospective summary in verse 33, emphasizing the completeness of Moses’ obedience.  In between, seven times the text records that his work was “as the Lord commanded.”  What more could one hope for?

But the book doesn’t end with “So Moses finished the work” (verse 33).  There is still another, better paragraph to go.  In that final paragraph, verses 34-38, we read of what only God can do.  God’s glory comes down and covers the completed tabernacle.  After all, that was the whole point to begin with: “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst” (Exodus 25:8).

Our aim as pastors is not only that our churches will be well assembled, thoughtfully and carefully and biblically obedient in their doctrine and structures.  That is important.  But it is not ultimate.  We desire the dwelling of the risen Christ among us.  We desire his felt presence.  We desire him.

If we are not experiencing his glory coming down upon us, we need to ask if we have been disobedient in any aspect of what we have built or failed to build.  But even if we have built well, we need to ask if we have settled for mere constructional obedience.  The Lord has more for us than that.  He has himself to give!

This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition