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The Tabernacle - All Pomp Or A Solemn Residence?

Exodus 25:1-2,8-10,16,21-22,29-30 The LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give... “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. “Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high... Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you... Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you... There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites... And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times... A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.

Again we come upon a chapter that we could spend days dissecting and admiring God with for the detail He gives Moses, each aspect of which has great significance. However, we started this journey a chapter a day and we will do our cursory study in this way and God-willing come back and do a detailed study at His appointed time.

From the perspective of an ark of God, this model was not unlike the Egyptian arks to their Gods that were carried on their shoulders. Why would God want the Israelites to have something similar and what was to the show aspect?

The tabernacle - The Hebrew word signifies the "dwelling-place." It here denotes the wooden structure, containing the holy place and the most holy place, with the tent which sheltered it.

This tabernacle was to become God's dwelling place and proof of His residence with and among His people. God would reside in a tent among His people beside their tents as proof that God physically dwelt among them.

Clearly God was establishing Himself as their God after having feed the Israelites from slavery and after making a covenant with them calling them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6).

The special mark of God's presence within the tent was to be the ark or chest containing the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone which were given later (Exodus 31:18), symbolizing the divine law of holiness, and covered by the mercy-seat, a type of reconciliation.

The first and vital instruction given to Moses regarding getting this tabernacle in place was calling on the nation of Israel to give a free-will offering in the form of specific items.

For a God who had such great detail in mind for His dwelling place, trusting a nation of people to give freely was not a leap of faith but something God did in the knowledge of what each one was going to give. This was clearly God ordained and directed and as we will later see, panned out exactly as planned and people gave more than needed!

Imagine Moses' concern about his people's willingness to give their significant possessions? This was a leap of faith for him and even today, when we are called to make these leaps of faith, we can be comforted by the fact that God directs us to do something for Him after having seen the outcome and so we can walk in faith.

The next aspect was that Moses should do exactly as instructed. God did not just want an artists rendition of His dwelling place but had a specific plan and design in place, each element of which had great significance. Please study this chapter closely to understand the detail and use a concordance and commentaries to help you get clarity.

The last aspect was about why God would chose to copy the Egyptians? Between the winged figures on the Egyptian arks there was a material symbol of a deity, and the arks themselves were carried about in religious processions, so as to make a show in the eyes of the people.

With respect to the ark of the covenant, the absence of any symbol of God was one of its great characteristics. It was never carried in a ceremonial procession when it was moved about from one place to another, it was closely covered up and even hidden from the eyes even of the Levites who carried it.

When the tabernacle was pitched, the ark was never exhibited, but was kept in solemn darkness. It was occasionally moved out of its place in the holy of holies, but only so long as the nation was without a settled capital, and had something of the character of an army on the march.

Finally, it was distinguished from all other arks in the simple grandeur of its purpose: it was constructed to contain the plain text of the Ten Commandments written on stone in words that were comprehensible to all.

As we reflect on the God who desired to dwell among His people, we should remember His son Jesus Christ who came to dwell among us and was crucified for us, died and was resurrected back to life to be with God the Father in heaven.

Before Jesus went to be with God, He gave us His Holy Spirit to come and live in the temples of our hearts when we invite Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Are you washed in the blood of Jesus and filled with His Holy Spirit? If not, call on Jesus Christ right now and be transformed by His everlasting love for you.

If you are saved by His sacrificial blood, do you carry His Holy Spirit in your body's temple and honor God with your life as a service unto Him? I pray that you and I will recommit ourselves to serving this great and mighty God with our every last breath!

In His Loving Service,


2 Corinthians 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

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