What is the “way” to Indianapolis from Lafayette? I-65 North? I-65 North from Lafayette will never get you to your destination of Indy. If you chose I-65 North you cannot chose your destination to be Indy. I-65 South is the “way” to Indy from Lafayette.
Every Way Has a Destination
“Ways,” “roads,” “paths” all have end destinations. You can choose your “way,” but you cannot choose the end of that way. If you want a different destination, you must choose a different way. Think about this in terms of the path on which you are walking in your finances, marriage, relationships, sex, relationship with God, etc. This useful metaphor can be developed in all sorts of ways (puns intended throughout this post : ).
Christ, in John 14:6, is called “the way” to God. The very first Gospel believing Jews and Gentiles were called members of “The Way” (Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9, 23; Acts 22:4). Proverbs is the book that speaks most about “ways” and their end destination. Do a word search on “way” and “path” in Proverbs and see how many hits you get.
The first use of “the way” is found in Genesis 3:24 with an angel guarding the “way” to the tree of life. Exodus begins to develop this metaphor upon which the rest of Bible theology is built.
Exodus 25-40 – Boring and Tedious?
“Boring and tedious” is what many individuals call the last half of the book of Exodus because chapters 25-31 deal with the numerous construction details given about the tabernacle. Then chapters 35-40 give the same mind-numbing details over again as Israel builds the tabernacle according to the way God outlined. The only hope out of boredom is the interesting golden calf incident in chapters 32-34. Right? But wait, could this structure of the last part of the book of Exodus be teaching His people something about His way? Certainly it is!
First, remember that the tabernacle was God’s way to dwell physically among His people at that time (Ex 40:34-38). God designed specific ways for the sacrificial altar (Ex 27:1-8), the feasts (Ex. 23:14), the priesthood (Exodus 29:1-4) and the gold and silver of the people (Ex 25:1-3) to be used in setting up a way to the physical dwelling place of God. It is this “way” to the physical presence of God that is set forth in Exodus 25-31. So, what happens in the golden calf incident?
Don’t Choose A Different “Way”
Notice that Aaron and the people set up a different “way” to God. They use their gold and silver to make a calf (Ex 32:2-4). They set up an alter in a different “way” (Ex 32:5). They have a different way to do the feasts (Ex 32:5). And Aaron is not functioning in the “way” God established.
God evaluates the situation, “They have been quick to turn from ‘the way’ I commanded them.” (Ex 32:8). What ensues next (through chapter 34) is the discipline of the people by God. Then a debate occurs between God and Moses about whether or not the presence of God would go with the people because they departed from “the way.” Finally, restoration of the presence of God and the covenant of God is accomplished by the mercy of God as mediated through the intercessory servant of God (Moses).
Only after this event do you see the people actually constructing the tabernacle (Ex 35-40) according to “the way” God prescribed. Then the presence of God dwells with His people after obeying the “way” of God (Ex 40:34-38).
The Only “Way”
What does even the structure of the last half of Exodus teach us? God is not flexible in the “way” we approach Him and ultimately dwell with Him. He has prescribed the way to Him in our sinful, broken state. And there is ultimately only one way. Read John 14:6 now.