Whoever said, “God is not specific with what He tells me, so I do not know what to do”, haven’t studied the book of Exodus that is filled with just how specific the God of Creation and Divine Design can be! God has a reason for every detail in our lives because He knows what lies ahead. He knows exactly what we will need spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally to follow Him, allowing His best work to done in and through us!
Take some time to read and imagine the detailed work that is to be done to remember who God is and what He has done for them. And what else does God’s Chosen have to do in the wilderness, but to build? On any “road trip”, we parents give our children things to keep them busy so they will center their thoughts on the joy in journey instead of fighting with each other for sport, right?! Mm, maybe, there’s more to this part of the story…
Exodus 25, The Message
Instructions on the Mountain: The Offerings
1-9 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites that they are to set aside offerings for me. Receive the offerings from everyone who is willing to give. These are the offerings I want you to receive from them: gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet material; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned rams’ skins; dolphin skins; acacia wood; lamp oil; spices for anointing oils and for fragrant incense; onyx stones and other stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece. Let them construct a Sanctuary for me so that I can live among them. You are to construct it following the plans I’ve given you, the design for The Dwelling and the design for all its furnishings.
10-15 “First let them make a Chest using acacia wood: make it three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide and deep. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold inside and out and make a molding of gold all around it. Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Make poles from acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold and insert them into the rings on the sides of the Chest for carrying the Chest. The poles are to stay in the rings; they must not be removed.
16 “Place The Testimony that I give you in the Chest.
17 “Now make a lid of pure gold for the Chest, an Atonement-Cover, three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide.
18-22 “Sculpt two winged angels out of hammered gold for either end of the Atonement-Cover, one angel at one end, one angel at the other. Make them of one piece with the Atonement-Cover. Make the angels with their wings spread, hovering over the Atonement-Cover, facing one another but looking down on it. Set the Atonement-Cover as a lid over the Chest and place in the Chest The Testimony that I will give you. I will meet you there at set times and speak with you from above the Atonement-Cover and from between the angel-figures that are on it, speaking the commands that I have for the Israelites.
23-28 “Next make a Table from acacia wood. Make it three feet long, one and one-half feet wide and two and one-quarter feet high. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold. Make a molding all around it of gold. Make the border a handbreadth wide all around it and a rim of gold for the border. Make four rings of gold and attach the rings to the four legs parallel to the tabletop. They will serve as holders for the poles used to carry the Table. Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold. They will be used to carry the Table.
29 “Make plates, bowls, jars, and jugs for pouring out offerings. Make them of pure gold.
30 “Always keep fresh Bread of the Presence on the Table before me.
31-36 “Make a Lampstand of pure hammered gold. Make its stem and branches, cups, calyxes, and petals all of one piece. Give it six branches, three from one side and three from the other; put three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, three on the next, and so on—the same for all six branches. On the main stem of the Lampstand, make four cups shaped like almonds, with calyx and petals, a calyx extending from under each pair of the six branches, the entire Lampstand fashioned from one piece of hammered pure gold.
37-38 “Make seven of these lamps for the Table. Arrange the lamps so they throw their light out in front. Make the candle snuffers and trays out of pure gold.
39-40 “Use a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lampstand and its accessories. Study the design you were given on the mountain and make everything accordingly.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
God spoke to Moses. He speaks to us today who believe and trust in Him. We must listen to every detail.
God still gives specifics. He gives us His Word so we can study His design for our lives and then do everything that He says. I’m reminded of one of my favorite Psalms—
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.”
Psalm 143;8-10, NIV
AND Psalm 119…
“I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.”
Psalm 119:11-16, NLT
GOING DEEPER INTO THE DESIGN WORK—
With that thought in mind, let’s go a bit deeper in the significance of the design. God was about to fulfill His promise to be Israel’s God by coming to the camp of Israel to dwell with His people. In order to do this, the Lord needed two things: a place for His glory to dwell and servants to minister to Him in that place. Yes, what God does! He always involves us!
Whenever God does a work, He has a plan for that work, whether it’s building the tabernacle or the temple, a local church (Phil. 2:12), or the individual Christian’s life and ministry (Eph. 2:10).
God warned Moses to make everything according to the pattern revealed to him on the mountain. Why? Good question. With the help of Warren Wierbe, Theologian, we learn that the earthly tabernacle was built to God’s specifications. God’s Word reveals that this is “a copy of the heavenly tabernacle where our Lord now ministers to and for His people (Heb. 8:1–5; 9:1). The Book of Revelation mentions an altar of burnt offering (Rev. 6:9–11), an altar of incense (Rev. 8:3–5), a throne (Rev. 4:2), elders (Rev. 4:4, 5), lamps (Rev. 4:5), a “sea” (Rev. 4:6), and living creatures or cherubim (Rev. 4:6, 7), all of which parallel the main furnishings of the earthly tabernacle. It’s a basic principle of ministry that we follow the pattern given from heaven, not the pattern of this world (Rom. 12:2).” I know, right?!
The cover of the ark, traditionally called the “mercy seat,” had a cherub at each end and their wings overshadowed the ark. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place (traditionally the “Holy of Holies”), where he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on the ark’s cover (Lev. 16:13). This made atonement for Israel’s sins for another year (Lev. 16:29–34). These actions were a foreshadowing or type that was not fully understood until later events made it clear. The fulfillment of this type was when Jesus Christ died once for all for the sins of the world and took away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:11—10:14). (Wierbe) Thank you, Jesus!!
The loaves are called the “showbread,” literally “bread of faces.” The presence of twelve loaves of bread in the Holy Place couldn’t help but remind the priests that they were serving the twelve tribes of Israel, God’s chosen people. Through these loaves, the twelve tribes were presented before God, and God was present with them in their camp, beholding their worship and their daily walk.
There’s also a sense that the loaves remind us that Israel was called to feed a hungry world the spiritual bread the Lord had given them. They gave the world the Word of God which is bread (Matt. 4:4), and the bread speaks of Jesus (John 6). Paul compared the church to a loaf of unleavened bread (1 Cor. 5:1–8; see 10:16, 17), and our task is to preach the Word and tell sinners about Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. Yes, God always involves His people—we who believe are His Chosen today.
What was done by the priests in the sanctuary was done for the Lord and before the Lord. It mattered not that the people in the camp were ignorant of what the priests were doing, because God saw it all, and their task was to please Him. The most important part of a Christian’s life is the part that only God sees. If God is pleased by what He sees, and our consciences are clean before Him, then we don’t have to worry about what people think or say about us. He will accept our ministry and bless each one of us with His growing character.
Yes, and amen! What you do in us is miraculous! When we really believe what you say is really real, then our lives change and are transformed! We mess up but you come and repair the damage and restore us to a right relationship with you. You never change in your love and faithfulness toward us. I know. I am a life that was changed and is still transforming. For this alone I am grateful to you. To you be the glory forevermore.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen