May 30, 2021 – Exodus 39 – 40

Lesson Date: May 30, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Exodus 39:32-43; 40:1-2, 16-17, 33-38

AIM: To lead students to describe what took place when Moses and the Israelites precisely followed God’s instructions, and to encourage them to follow His instructions and guidelines exactly as He has given them.


Before class: Read the notes on Exodus 39 – 40 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get enough copies of the “Key Scripture/Key Truth” cards for your anticipated attendance. Write “Doing Things God’s Way” on the marker board or chalk board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the phrase written on the board. Tell them today’s lesson is about what happens when God’s people do things God’s way.

Ask: “Do people ever ignore God’s warnings and instructions, choosing to do things their own way rather than God’s way?” (yes, often). Ask the students to name some examples of things people do in violation of God’s instructions and warnings. They might name some of the following:

  • People choose to ignore God’s instructions about trusting Jesus Christ for salvation.
  • They ignore His warnings about not forsaking church attendance.
  • Many people ignore God’s warnings about being drunk with alcoholic beverages.
  • They ignore His warnings about pre-marital and extra-marital sex.
  • People ignore His instructions about honoring and obeying their parents.
  • Many people ignore God’s warnings about divorce.

Tell the students that in all the examples given, people choose to do things their way rather than God’s way. They do this because they think their way is better than God’s way; they think they know better than God. Ask: “What are some possible consequences that come from ignoring God’s instructions and warnings?” Lead the students to suggest possible consequences of the examples they have named. Tell the class that doing things our way, in violation of God’s warnings and instructions, always leads to trouble.

Tell the students in today’s lesson we are going to discover the blessings that came to the ancient Israelites when they did things exactly as God instructed. The title of today’s lesson from Exodus 39 – 40 is Doing Things God’s Way.



  1. Review.
    • Tell the students this is our last lesson from the Old Testament book of Exodus.
    • Next week we continue the story as we begin the book of Leviticus.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Israel’s terrible sin and God’s offer of forgiveness).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 John 1:9).
  2. The Work was Completed.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 39:32.
    • Ask: “What does this verse tell us?” (all the work on the Tabernacle and its furnishings was completed).
    • Ask: “How careful were the people to do everything exactly as God commanded?” (very careful; they did it all just as God commanded).
    • Read Exodus 39:33-41.
    • Tell the class that the people brought everything they had made to Moses.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 39:42-43.
    • Tell the students Moses inspected everything the people had made.
    • Ask: “What did he recognize when he inspected all their work?” (they constructed it all exactly as God instructed).
    • Ask: “What did Moses do?” (blessed the people).
    • Tell the class that one of the benefits of doing things God’s way is that we will be blessed for our obedience.
    • Summarize: The Israelites built all the parts and furnishings for the Tabernacle exactly as God instructed them. Their obedience brought a blessing.
  3. The Tabernacle was Erected.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 40:1-2.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Moses to do?” (set up the Tabernacle on the 1st day of the 1st month).
    • Explain the following:
      • The Israelites left Egypt on the 15th day of the 1st month of the previous year.
      • They had been free of Egyptian bondage for 11½ months.
      • They had been camped at Mount Sinai (locate on the Map) for 9½ months.
    • Tell the students that in verses 3-15 God told Moses exactly how they were to set up the Tabernacle, as well as how to consecrate it and the priests for God’s service.
    • Read Exodus 40:16-17.
    • Explain the following:
      • Moses and the people did everything precisely according to God’s instructions.
      • The Tabernacle was erected on the 1st day of the 1st month of the 2nd year of their freedom from Egypt (March of 1444 c.).
      • This was exactly when God told them to erect it (Ex. 40:2).
      • In verses 18-32, Moses oversaw every detail of setting up the Tabernacle and consecrating the priests.
    • Read Exodus 40:33.
    • Ask: “What does the last sentence of that verse tell us?” (all the work was finished).
    • Tell the class the Tabernacle was now ready for the Israelites to use in their worship of Almighty God.
    • Summarize: Moses led the Israelites to erect the Tabernacle and consecrate the priests exactly as God instructed.
  4. God’s Presence and Approval were Obvious.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 40:34-35.
    • Ask: “What covered the Tabernacle?” (the cloud of God’s presence).
    • Explain that this was the same cloud that had led them out of Egypt (Ex. 13:21) and had been visible on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:16). It now came and stood over the new Tabernacle.
    • Ask: “What filled the Tabernacle?” (the glory of the Lord).
    • Ask: “Why couldn’t Moses enter the Tabernacle?” (because it was filled with the glory cloud of God’s presence).
    • Stress the fact that the Israelites had previously witnessed the Egyptians worshiping dead statues in lifeless temples, but now they saw the visible presence of Almighty God manifested in and upon their new worship facility.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 40:36-38.
    • Tell the students these verses describe how God led the Israelites throughout their forty years in the wilderness.
    • Ask: “How did He do that?” (when the cloud moved the people were to move; when the cloud stayed in one place they were to stay in one place).
    • Ask: “How did the people always know that God was with them?” (they could clearly see the cloud above the Tabernacle during the day and the pillar of fire above it at night).
    • Summarize: When the ancient Israelites did things exactly as God told them to, they were blessed to see visible evidence of His glory, presence, and direction.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention back to the lesson title written on the board. Ask: “What happened when Moses and the Israelites followed God’s instructions precisely?” (God blessed them with His presence and gave them a glimpse of His glory). Ask: “What do you suppose would have happened if they had not followed God’s instructions?” (they would have completely missed out on the blessing of God’s presence and glory). Ask: “Would you like to have seen the glory of God at the Tabernacle?” (yes). Ask: “If you lived back then, do you think you would have followed God’s instructions precisely, like the ancient Israelites did?” (if so they would have experienced His presence, glory, and blessing; if not they would have missed out on those things).

Give everyone a copy of the “Key Scripture/Key Truth” card. Tell them this card contains the key scripture and the key truth for today’s lesson. Read the scripture verse and the key truth aloud to the class.

Tell the students we won’t experience a visible manifestation of God’s presence and glory like the ancient Israelites did because we have the complete revelation of God in written form: the Bible. Christians also enjoy the never-ending presence of God in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The ancient Israelites didn’t have that.

Ask: “If we don’t see something supernatural like Moses and the ancient Israelites did how do you think we can experience God’s presence and witness His glory?” Allow time for responses, which may include the following: we sense His presence through His indwelling Holy Spirit; we see His glory in answered prayers and changed lives; we sense His presence when we are lonely, discouraged, or scared; we experience His glory in uplifting worship experiences.

Stress the fact that when we do things God’s way we experience His presence and witness His glory, but when we do things our way in violation of God’s will we forfeit those blessings. Ask: “Are you doing things God’s way or your way? Are you living according to God’s guidelines or your desires? Do you need to confess your sin of trying to run your life by your own standards? Do you need to recommit yourself to doing things God’s way?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Encourage them to follow God’s instructions and guidelines exactly. That is the only path that leads to true blessings. Voice a closing prayer of confession and commitment to obey God.


CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to put their “Key Scripture/Key Truth” card someplace they will see it often this week, such as a bathroom mirror, bedside table, car dashboard, above the kitchen sink, etc. Encourage them to do things God’s way. Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the Summer quarter. Urge them to start the Daily Bible Reading Guide tomorrow.

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