Exodus 36 & John 15

Exodus 36

    “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.”

    And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.

    And all the craftsmen among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains. They were made of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns, with cherubim skillfully worked. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. All the curtains were the same size.

    He coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another. He made loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain of the first set. Likewise he made them on the edge of the outermost curtain of the second set. He made fifty loops on the one curtain, and he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that was in the second set. The loops were opposite one another. And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains one to the other with clasps. So the tabernacle was a single whole.

    He also made curtains of goats' hair for a tent over the tabernacle. He made eleven curtains. The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. The eleven curtains were the same size. He coupled five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves. And he made fifty loops on the edge of the outermost curtain of the one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other connecting curtain. And he made fifty clasps of bronze to couple the tent together that it might be a single whole. And he made for the tent a covering of tanned rams' skins and goatskins.

    Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. Ten cubits was the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. Each frame had two tenons for fitting together. He did this for all the frames of the tabernacle. The frames for the tabernacle he made thus: twenty frames for the south side. And he made forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons. For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty frames and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one frame and two bases under the next frame. For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six frames. He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. And they were separate beneath but joined at the top, at the first ring. He made two of them this way for the two corners. There were eight frames with their bases of silver: sixteen bases, under every frame two bases.

    He made bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the tabernacle at the rear westward. And he made the middle bar to run from end to end halfway up the frames. And he overlaid the frames with gold, and made their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

    He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; with cherubim skillfully worked into it he made it. And for it he made four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold. Their hooks were of gold, and he cast for them four bases of silver. He also made a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework, and its five pillars with their hooks. He overlaid their capitals, and their fillets were of gold, but their five bases were of bronze.

(Exodus 36 ESV)

John 15

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

    “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

    “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

(John 15 ESV)

Something to Consider

John 15: In order to understand one of the greatest allegories found in Scripture, we have to ask ourselves, "What does it mean to abide in Christ?" In order to glorify God and experience satisfying joy, we must make sure that we are abiding in Christ. 

First, we can attempt a definition from the original Greek. To abide in Christ means to make your dwelling and remain in a relationship with Him that is characterized by total trust, persistent prayer and joyful obedience. Remaining 'at home' in our relationship with Christ will lead us to bear a fruitful harvest that glorifies God who is the One who tends the garden. 

The Vine (Christ) is the source of the spiritual sap that produces fruit in the branches (believers) that remain connected to the Vine (in relationship with Christ). Those branches that prove to be unfruitful reveal their hidden disconnection from the Vine despite their apparent proximity to Him. We will be known (found out) by our fruit. Many people outwardly claim a relationship with Christ while inwardly never making that connection. Time will reveal them, and judgement will ruin them.

As unfruitful branches are removed, the fruitful branches still at times need to be pruned. God's 'pruning' of believers portrays the painful yet beneficial process of cutting off various interests, activities and desires that prevent believers from being as fruitful as God desires them to be. We can trust that God works all things for the ultimate good of those who abide in Him, and our occasional pruning will inevitably lead to a greater increase in the quantity and quality of our spiritual fruitfulness. May we learn to trust that if God takes something away then we are ultimately better off without it. 

Apart from Christ (living inwardly disconnected from Christ), we can do nothing of significant eternal value. A branch alone doesn't produce fruit. Branches bear fruit that the Vine produces through them. Therefore, in and of ourselves we are powerless to produce anything that brings glory to God and satisfying joy to us. Even our prayers have no hope of being answered apart from our relationship in Christ. Those who abide in Christ will find themselves desiring what God desires and therefore praying in accordance with God's will which will produce prayers that are pleasant to the ears of God.   

Therefore, abiding in Christ, is the necessary way of life for the believer. If we say we have a relationship with Him while we bear no fruit in our lives then we are proven to be liars and unfit for the eternal Garden of God. God is glorified by believers remaining in Christ and bearing much fruit for the economy of His Kingdom. May we examine our own lives and the fruitfulness found throughout. And may we remain 'at home' in our relationship with Christ leading us to bear a fruitful harvest for the glory of God and the satisfaction of our joy.