Exodus 38:1-3,8-10,21 They built the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, three cubits high; it was square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. They made a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar were of one piece, and they overlaid the altar with bronze. They made all its utensils of bronze—its pots, shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and forepaws... They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Next they made the courtyard. The south side was a hundred cubits long and had curtains of finely twisted linen, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases, and with silver hooks and bands on the posts... These are the amounts of the materials used for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the covenant law, which were recorded at Moses’ command by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.
To those of us who are bored by numbers and details, this chapter might seem a bit uninteresting but when we consider their purpose and use, we can really appreciate the significance of what God accomplished.
One of the odd aspects of this tabernacle was that all the articles made of pure gold was never to be seen by man while everything made of silver, brass and fine linen was visible to the eye.
What could God speak to us through these hard to comprehend details and how can we apply it in our lives today?
Being a banker myself, I love the clarity and detail in which God described all that He accomplished. Even better was the fact that everything was done with order in mind, there was purpose in each element and a full audit was performed to confirm that the entire process, materials and workmanship was per spec!
Take for example the count of the silver. 100 talents (3.4 metric tons) and 1,775 shekels (20 kilograms) was taken as a tax of sorts from every man of the age of 20 and over. There were 603,550 men of this age and the silver collected was exactly that needed for the work.
I've been asked why the Israelites took gold, silver and precious things from the Egyptians as was recorded in Genesis and today we can see the purpose. Every single Israelite gave and what they gave amounted exactly to what was needed for the construction of the tabernacle.
God clearly is in control, knows the future from the past, directs our lives with meaning and purpose and is fully worthy of our total submission!
The reason the gold was used for articles in the inner sanctum or holy of holies was because they were for God's use and no man was given access to that area since only God resided there.
The brass, silver and fine linen used outside this area were for the people to witness and appreciate the beauty of God's dwelling place.
The altar of burnt-offering was where all the sacrifices were offered and it was this which, being sanctified itself for this purpose by the divine appointment, sanctified the gift that was offered in faith on it.
Christ was himself the altar to his own sacrifice of atonement, and so he is to all our sacrifices. We must keep our eyes on Him when offering them, as God has in accepting them.
The laver or the basin in which the priests washed when they came to minister signifies the provision that was made through the gospel of Christ for the cleansing of our souls from moral pollution of sin that we may be fit to serve a holy God in holy duties.
This laver was made from the looking-glass of the women assembled at the door of the tabernacle. These looking-glasses were made from the finest brass and were polished for the sole purpose of being a perfect reflection of the beauty of the women that held them.
When they offered them to the workmen, it was done either as a repentance for how they abused them or as a token of their great zeal for the work of God which they believed required only the best brass.
This sacrifice was a significant one and it shows they were eminent and exemplary in their devotion. Much later in time, Anna was one such woman who never left the temple but served God day and night fasting and praying (Luke 2:37).
Finally the walls of the courtyard were curtains that signified that this was a mobile dwelling place as the Israelites continued to journey. This meant the church was never meant to be in one place but was constantly in motion.
Furthermore, the tent could be enlarged and its cords lengthened to make room for the Gentile world as was foretold, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:2-3, NIV, ©2011)
This is much longer a devotional than I intended but I hope you get the sense God is conveying to us through this beautiful piece of scripture?
In His Loving Service,
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror (James 1:23, NIV, ©2011)
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