Tag Archive for tabernacle

Christ the Tabernacle

Exodus 25 – 30; 36 – 40; John 1:14; 6:48-58; Hebrews 8:1-5 

God gave the Old Testament tabernacle so that
our senses, minds, and imaginations
might be permeated with
the glory of His presence.

Jesus Christ is that tabernacle perfected,
its intent completed.
The tabernacle was only a copy.
Jesus is the full presence of God
now living within and among us,
forever uniting heaven and earth.

He is the law of God,
all that is pleasing to the Father,
no longer engraved on stone tablets,
but written on the hearts of His people.
He is the Bread of the Presence,
spreading an eternal feast for all who come.
He is the Light forever burning,
illuminating the whole world.
He is the incense of God’s Presence,
the fragrance of His holiness,
the aroma of His unfailing love.
He engulfs us in the richness,
the texture,
the color,
the beauty of heaven itself.
He is the final, perfect sacrifice,
making us right with the Father.
He is the Great High Priest,
uniting us with the Father.

In Christ, the Transcendent God fills
our souls and our senses,
our daily routines and our highest dreams.
Jesus Christ enfolds
all we are in
all He is. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Is with Us! Alleluia!
Printed Music & Lyrics

Wisdom Is More than Words

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD
Read Exodus 35:10 – 36:2

We usually associate wisdom with kings and prophets, with preachers, teachers, and writers. They use words to share God’s wisdom.

But words are not the only medium for expressing God’s wisdom. In this physical world, the Creator communicates His wisdom to and through the five senses.

Between Egypt and the Promised Land lay a desert wilderness, vast and inhospitable. God chose this setting to reshape Israel from slaves into a holy nation, a people of His very own. His generous provision would stand out more vividly in a land that provided almost none of life’s necessities. He wanted His new nation to experience His love and His presence as physical realities.

That’s one reason He commanded Moses to build a portable tabernacle. This tabernacle was no haphazard affair. God gave Moses complete instructions as to how every detail was to be constructed. This earthly tabernacle, made with human hands, was to be a copy and shadow of a heavenly tabernacle (Exodus 25:40; Hebrews 8:5).

Since this physical tabernacle was to communicate the glory of the transcendent God to the human senses, it was to be artistic and beautiful down to the finest detail. It was to be constructed of all the best materials. Where would they get such materials, far from civilization? God had already provided them by prompting the Egyptians to lavish expensive gifts on the Israelites as they left Egypt. The gold, silver, precious stones, fine woods, expensive cloth, and exotic animal skins needed for the tabernacle were donated by God’s people, who had carried them out of Egypt.

God also provided the artistic and technical expertise that would be needed to pull off such a huge project. God’s Spirit gave two men, Bezalel and Oholiab, the “wisdom” (Exodus 35:31) and craftsmanship they would need to work with all these varied materials. What’s more, they were given the desire and ability to teach other willing learners so that together, they would finish the work.

In this physical world filled with physical beings, God needs more than people skilled with words. He also needs artists, crafts people, builders, designers, and dedicated laborers. He calls them. He equips them. He inspires them to glorify Him through what they hold in their hands.

God will use and equip anyone with a heart for exalting their Creator God.

Details Matter

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading through the Old Testament in the original Hebrew. But my Hebrew skills are rudimentary at best, so some portions of the Old Testament are quite challenging.

For example, I had trouble getting through 1 Kings 6 and 7. They describe in some detail Solomon’s construction of the temple and his own palace. The subject matter necessitates the use of numerous technical terms that I didn’t know. Add to that my own limitations: I barely know which end of a hammer to hold, and I can’t picture physical structures from verbal descriptions. I have to see them with my own two eyes. So for a zillion verses, I struggled through words I didn’t know to try to picture structures I just couldn’t picture. For me, it seemed an extended exercise in frustration and futility.

But such details matter. 1 Kings 6 and 7 remind me of Exodus, chapters 25 and following, which provide seemingly-endless detail about the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness. There God specifically warns Moses:

“See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:40, NASB)

By the time I finished Exodus, I began to understand the importance of those details, even without the ability to accurately picture them in my mind. I could see that each of the details in the tabernacle were given by God to help the people know Him. Each of the furnishings – the candles, the incense, the bread, the curtains, the ark, and more – provided the worshipers with a sensory experience of God, however partial. In a sense, God was “incarnating” Himself in the tabernacle, making Himself physically knowable centuries before Christ. He was glorifying Himself, proclaiming His presence, His greatness, and His goodness in ways perceivable by our five senses.

Thus, details matter. They mattered in the building of the tabernacle. They mattered in the construction of the temple.

And they matter in my work as well. As a hymn writer, I can’t see God’s full purpose in the work I do. I can’t see the end from the beginning. But He can, so I carefully follow His lead. I am like Bezalel, who worked on the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-11), and Hiram, who helped construct the temple (1 Kings 7:13-14). They were craftsmen, gifted, prepared, and called by God to perform specific tasks as a small part of God’s greater purpose.

That is my role as well. In ways I didn’t plan and can’t imagine, God is using me, in some small way, to glorify Himself through Jesus Christ.

And that is your role, too. Aren’t we blessed? Each of us is a tiny part of all the marvelous, eternal, creative work God is doing in Jesus Christ. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God’s Mysterious Ways
Printed Music & Lyrics