I get lots of questions swirling through my head as I read the Bible, or as I contemplate events in light of God’s Word.
I’ve been reading through Exodus of late, and I’m in the middle of constructing the tabernacle and all its furnishings and implements and tools and curtains and robes and ephods…
And I wondered: Why was God so explicit with so many intricate details in fashioning each aspect of His holy worship? I mean, I get it that He gave detailed instructions to Moses to give to the workers – they needed exact blueprints. But why record all that in His eternal Word so that all the generations to come would have available to read? We aren’t re-building His tabernacle, after all.*
Or are we?
In the New Testament, God reveals that we are now His tabernacle.
2 Corinthians 5.1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 Peter 1.13, 14 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.
Just as the Israelites moved around in the wilderness, and carried the tabernacle with them, we have the freedom to BE God’s tabernacle, to carry Him with us wherever we are (or maybe, it’s that He carries us).
And, just as God gave explicit detail in how to construct that tabernacle, He gives us explicit detail in how to construct our own. The entirety of Scripture is a how-to lesson for worshiping our Lord.
2 Timothy 3.16, 17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
He provides instruction in how to deal with Him, with others, and with ourselves for each aspect of life.
In addition to building our temple, God provides cleansing. He gives us Jesus, the Word, who washes us clean (Ephesians 5.26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,), the springs of Living Water to refresh us in our works (John 7.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water).
And it’s all done in love! God designed us for worship: it’s how we receive our greatest joys and live in the greatest peace.
As an aside, I also wondered about two other things as relates to building the tabernacle:
- When we, as humans, plan out and design a new space, we get giddy with excitement about the doing and how it will turn out. Was God giddy?
- What was God’s purpose in having His people construct the tabernacle? He could have miraculously ‘poofed’ it into existence, and everyone would have been totally awed. But I think there’s something to be said about making it with their own hands. It involves ownership. Most things mean more when you work for it, except salvation. But even the gift of salvation means more when we put some sweat into it to work it out.
* I get excited to think that we CAN rebuild the tabernacle, just as God designed, since He left us His exact instruction. Each aspect of the tent, implements, furnishings, clothing, and rituals represents an aspect of Jesus, and we have so much to learn from it.