Read the last couple of chapters of Exodus, Exodus 39 and 40. You will quickly see a theme. Nearly every paragraph ends with “as the Lord commanded Moses.” It’s a markedly different theme than much of the rest of Exodus.
The new nation often struggled with obedience and faith as they journeyed from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the promised land, but as they came together to build the Lord’s Tabernacle they got it right in every detail. God specifically spoke detailed instructions to Moses about every inch of the tabernacle, and the Israelites obeyed fully. It seems crazy that much of what we read about the Israelites in the desert is a story of whining and complaining and sin, but in this extremely complicated and difficult task they were faithful. Why??
As they had purpose and unity together and focused on God’s direction for them, they found it easy to obey. When they focused on their individual needs – such as “I’m thirsty,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored of manna,” – they were disobedient. They demonstrated well that a selfish motive produces emptiness and a lack of faith in God; whereas a God and others focus produces great fruit. God’s principles work every time. Focus on me and get messed up; focus on God and others and rest up because great fruit will be the enjoyable result.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.