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Exodus 26:1-27:21; Matthew 25:1-30; Psalms 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11 (The Voice)

Exodus 26-27

The valuable materials used to make the congregation tent and its furnishings are provided by the Egyptians when the Israelites make their exodus.

26 Eternal One: Make the interior of the congregation tent out of 10 curtains made of the finest woven linens. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet threads, beautifully embroidered by skilled workers with images of winged guardians. Make each curtain 42 feet long and 6 feet wide. Attach five of the curtains together to form one larger curtain. Then take the other five, and attach them to form a second curtain. Make loops out of material dyed blue and attach them on the outer edge of both sets of curtains. Attach 50 more loops to the long edge on both sets of curtains so that the loops match up with one another. Make 50 gold clasps to connect the curtains together so that all the curtains for the interior of the congregation tent form one continuous piece.

Next make 11 panels of tent fabric out of goat hair to cover the congregation tent and protect the beautiful embroidered curtains inside. Each of the 11 panels is to be 45 feet long and 6 feet wide. Attach five panels together to form a single wide panel. Then attach the remaining six to form a second panel. Fold the larger panel over at the front of the tent. 10 Make 50 loops on the long edge of each of these panels and 11 50 bronze clasps to connect the panels together, so that this covering for the congregation tent may function as one continuous piece. 12 The extra length of the leather tent panels—the remaining half panel—will hang over the back of the congregation tent. 13 The extra length in the sides of the tent panels should be left to overlap so that the tent is covered completely. 14 You must add two more layers to protect the congregation tent: an inner layer made of red-dyed rams’ skins and an outer layer made of sea-cow hides.

15 Construct the supporting frame panels for the congregation tent out of the acacia wood. 16 Each panel should be 15 feet high and 27 inches wide. 17 For every panel, carve two tenons so that one panel fits perfectly into the next. 18 You will need 20 frame panels for the south wall of the congregation tent. 19 Make 40 silver bases to support the 20 frame panels, two bases beneath each panel so that each fits securely into the bases for support.

20 Make 20 frame panels for the north[a] wall of the tent as well, 21 sitting on 40 silver bases—two bases beneath each of the 20 panels.

22 For the back wall of the congregation tent (the side that faces west), make six frame panels. 23 Make two special panels for each corner on the back side of the tent. 24 They are to come together with the side panels at the bottom to make a strong corner and attach at the top to the first ring. This is how both corner panels should be made. 25 So there are to be eight frame panels on the back wall that fit into 16 silver bases—two bases beneath each panel.

26-27 Make five crossbars of acacia wood to connect the frame panels on each of three sides of the tent: north, south, and west. 28 Run one bar from corner to corner in the middle, halfway up the panels. 29 Overlay the frame panels with gold and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Overlay the crossbars with gold as well. 30 Set up the congregation tent according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain.

31 As for the interior of the congregation tent, have your skilled workers take the blue, purple, and scarlet threads, as well as the finest woven linens, and make a veil that is richly decorated with images of winged guardians. 32 Erect four posts made of acacia wood overlaid with gold onto four silver bases. When the veil is complete, hang it on the four posts using gold hooks 33 suspended beneath the clasps that hold together the curtains; and place the covenant chest, which holds the sacred tablets, behind the veil. The veil will separate the two rooms and serve to divide the holy place from the most holy place.

At the very center of Israel’s camp is the congregation tent. It is the heart of the nation, a place of unique revelation, and a constant reminder of God’s presence and actions which create and form His people. Everything must be portable because this is not a settled population but a people on the move. God describes exactly how this large tent and its furnishings are to be constructed. Each layer covering the tent and the detailed work on the covenant chest, the seat of mercy, the table of presence, the lampstand, and all the utensils are physical reminders of deep, spiritual realities. The building, assembling, disassembling, and reassembling of the tent are labor-intensive; yet it is a work of obedience and devotion calling Israel to remember their special relationship with God. These are signs—located right in the center of the camp—that point to the fact that His graciousness is ever before them.

34 Place the seat of mercy—where sins are atoned—on top of the covenant chest in the most holy place. 35 Put the table outside the veil on the north side of the tent, and set the lampstand facing it on the south side.

36 As for the entrance to the congregation tent, have your skilled workers take the blue, purple, and scarlet threads, as well as the finest woven linens, and make another richly embroidered curtain. 37 Erect five posts made of acacia overlaid with gold onto five bases cast in bronze. Hang the richly embroidered curtain on the five posts using gold hooks.

27 Eternal One: Make the altar of burnt offering from acacia wood. It should be square and measure seven and a half feet by seven and a half feet. Make it four and a half feet high. Construct it with horns on each of the four corners so that the top forms one whole piece, and overlay it with bronze. Fashion buckets and shovels for the ashes, basins, forks, and fire pans out of bronze. Make a grate out of bronze, and attach four bronze rings at each of its four corners. Place the grate beneath the ledge of the altar, halfway up from the base. Make poles out of acacia wood for the altar, and overlay them with bronze. Slide the poles through the rings on both sides of the altar so that it can be moved. Make the altar out of wooden planks, and make it hollow—exactly like the pattern you were shown on the mountain.

9-10 Then enclose the courtyard in front of the congregation tent with large fabric panels made of finely woven linen on the south side that run 150 feet on silver hooks and rings supported by 20 bronze posts set securely into 20 bronze bases. 11 The north side is to be made the same way: hang a series of panels for 150 feet on silver hooks and rings supported by 20 bronze posts set securely into 20 bronze bases. 12 The fabric panels on the west end of the court are to run 75 feet (10 posts set into 10 bases). 13 The east end of the court facing the sunrise is to be 75 feet wide. 14-15 Fabric panels, measuring 22½ feet wide, are to be hung on each end of the east entrance, held up by three posts set into three bases. 16 The entrance to the court is to be a 30-foot fabric screen, made out of finely woven linen richly embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. It is to be held up by four posts set into four bases.

17 All the posts that define the courtyard are to have silver bands and silver hooks, and be set into bronze bases. 18 The courtyard itself is to be 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. The finely woven linen panels should be seven and a half feet high including the height of the bronze bases. 19 As for the items used in the ceremonies held in the congregation tent and the tent pegs used both inside and outside the tent, they are to be made of bronze.

20 Direct the Israelites to bring you oil from olives whipped until it is clear in order to keep the lamps burning continually and producing the best light possible. 21 From dusk till dawn—inside the tent but outside the veil shrouding the most holy place—Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning in My presence. This directive stands forever and must be carried out by the priests and people of Israel throughout all generations.

Footnotes:

  1. 26:20 Greek manuscripts read “south.”
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Matthew 25:1-30

25 Jesus: Or picture the kingdom of heaven this way. It will be like ten bridesmaids who each picked up a lantern and went out to meet a certain bridegroom. 2-4 Five of these women were sensible, good with details, and remembered to bring small flasks of oil for their lanterns. But five of them were flighty, too caught up in the excitement of their jaunt, and forgot to bring oil with them. The bridegroom did not turn up right away. Indeed, all the women, while waiting, found themselves falling asleep. And then in the middle of the night, they heard someone call, “The bridegroom is here, finally! Wake up and greet him!” The women got up and trimmed the wicks of their lanterns and prepared to go greet the groom. The five women who had no oil turned to their friends for help.

Ill-prepared Bridesmaids: Please give us some of your oil! Our lanterns are flickering and will go out soon.

But the five women who’d come prepared with oil said they didn’t have enough.

Prepared Bridesmaids: If we give you some of our oil, we’ll all run out too soon! You’d better go wake up a dealer and buy your own supply.

10 So the five ill-prepared women went in search of oil to buy, and while they were gone, the groom arrived. The five who stood ready with their lanterns accompanied him to the wedding party, and after they arrived, the door was shut.

11 Finally the rest of the women turned up at the party. They knocked on the door.

Ill-prepared Bridesmaids: Master, open up and let us in!

Bridegroom (refusing): 12 I certainly don’t know you.

13 So stay awake; you neither know the day nor hour [when the Son of Man will come].[a]

Jesus provides a picture of the coming reality of the kingdom of heaven. As they approach the time of His sacrifice, Jesus makes sure the disciples know that soon it will be too late; the door of opportunity will close, and for many the door will remain shut. He gives them another image of the same reality to bring the picture into focus. Once they were bridesmaids waiting for their bridegroom; now they are slaves waiting for their Master. This time they are given responsibilities that will be rewarded. The blessings of the Kingdom bring risks along with the benefits.

Jesus: 14 This is how it will be. It will be like a landowner who is going on a trip. He instructed his slaves about caring for his property. 15 He gave five talents to one slave, two to the next, and then one talent to the last slave—each according to his ability. Then the man left.

16 Promptly the man who had been given five talents went out and bartered and sold and turned his five talents into ten. 17 And the one who had received two talents went to the market and turned his two into four. 18 And the slave who had received just one talent? He dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money there.

19 Eventually the master came back from his travels, found his slaves, and settled up with them. 20 The slave who had been given five talents came forward and told his master how he’d turned five into ten; then he handed the whole lot over to his master.

Master: 21 Excellent. You’ve proved yourself not only clever but loyal. You’ve executed a rather small task masterfully, so now I am going to put you in charge of something larger. But before you go back to work, come join my great feast and celebration.

22 Then the slave who had been given two talents came forward and told his master how he’d turned two into four, and he handed all four talents to his master.

Master: 23 Excellent. You’ve proved yourself not only clever but loyal. You’ve executed a rather small task masterfully, so now I am going to put you in charge of something larger. But before you go back to work, come join my great feast and celebration.

24 Finally the man who had been given one talent came forward.

Servant: Master, I know you are a hard man, difficult in every way. You can make a healthy sum when others would fail. You profit when other people are doing the work. You grow rich on the backs of others. 25 So I was afraid, dug a hole, and hid the talent in the ground. Here it is. You can have it.

26 The master was furious.

Master: You are a pathetic excuse for a servant! You have disproved my trust in you and squandered my generosity. You know I always make a profit! 27 You could have at least put this talent in the bank; then I could have earned a little interest on it! 28 Take that one talent away, and give it to the servant who doubled my money from five to ten.

29 You see, everything was taken away from the man who had nothing, but the man who had something got even more. 30 And as for the slave who made no profit but buried his talent in the ground? His master ordered his slaves to tie him up and throw him outside into the utter darkness where there is miserable mourning and great fear.

Footnotes:

  1. 25:13 The earliest manuscripts omit this portion.
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Psalm 31:1-8

Psalm 31

For the worship leader. A song of David.

You are my shelter, O Eternal One—my soul’s sanctuary!
    Shield me from shame;
    rescue me by Your righteousness.
Hear me, Lord! Turn Your ear in my direction.
    Come quick! Save me!
Be my rock, my shelter,
    my fortress of salvation!

You are my rock and my fortress—my soul’s sanctuary!
    Therefore, for the sake of Your reputation, be my leader, my guide, my navigator, my commander.
Save me from the snare that has been secretly set out for me,
    for You are my protection.
I entrust my spirit into Your hands.[a]
    You have redeemed me, O Eternal, God of faithfulness and truth.

I despise the people who pay respect to breathless idols,
    and I trust only in You, Eternal One.
I will gladly rejoice because of Your gracious love
    because You recognized the sadness of my affliction.
    You felt deep compassion when You saw the pains of my soul.
You did not hand me over to the enemy,
    but instead, You liberated me
    and made me secure in a good and spacious land.

Footnotes:

  1. 31:5 Luke 23:46
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Proverbs 8:1-11

Isn’t Lady Wisdom calling?
    Listen; don’t you hear the voice of understanding crying out?
She’s taken her stand at the highest place in the city,
    at the crossroads where everyone can see her.
There, and at the gates, at the entrance to the city,
    right in front of the city doors she cries out:

Lady Wisdom: O people! I am calling to you;
        I have a message for all humanity.
    You gullible people, acquire insight.
        You naive ones, cultivate a heart that truly understands.
    Listen, for I am about to tell you of unparalleled excellence and beauty;
        what I am about to say will set things right.
    I will only speak the truth;
        I despise evil, so it will not pass through my lips.
    Everything I say promotes justice;
        not one word is crooked, and nothing is distorted.
    Each and every word is straight talk to perceptive people,
        upright and honest to knowledge-seekers.
10     Accept my correction as being more valuable than your prized possession,
        authentic knowledge more valuable than pure gold.

11 You see, no gem is more precious than Lady Wisdom—
    your most extravagant desire doesn’t come close to her.

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The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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