The Tent of Meeting
(Exodus 25 - 28)
God wants to relate to His people.
On Mount Sinai, as God gave Moses the tablets of the Law, He also detailed His instructions for the Tabernacle.
“Then have them make a sanctuary for Me,
and I will dwell among them.”
God outlined all of the intricacies of design and dimensions of His tabernacle for Moses. He explained the materials and methodologies for construction.
Did Moses need complex step-by-step instructions for building the structure? Perhaps the Israelites had limited contractor experience. Possibly, during their years in slavery in Egypt, the art of carpentry had been buried.
Why did God specify all the details for the Tabernacle? Perhaps our triune God had at least three primary purposes for micromanaging the manufacture of His dwelling place among His people.
1) The Tabernacle was to be precious.
God began his Tabernacle-building instructions with a list of materials. The Tabernacle was to be constructed of the finest resources available, and these were to be donated willingly by the people.
“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.
“These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows ; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
"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.”
God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt by His own hand. He had parted the Red Sea for their safe passage and provided miraculously for every need they had. The Lord had rained down manna every morning and presented quail for meat every evening. Why would He not require the best that His people had for His dwelling place among them?
We know that the Israelites had carried off many valuable items from Egypt, after the final plague.
“The Lord had made the Egyptians
favorably disposed toward the people,
and they gave them what they asked for;
so they plundered the Egyptians.”
In fact, all the precious gifts that the Lord asked of His people had actually come from His own provision. Don’t all our gifts come from God anyway? (see James 1:17)
2) The Tabernacle was to be portable.
The Tabernacle has also been called the Tent of Meeting. This portable structure, which held the Ark of the Covenant, was God’s sanctuary. Here the Lord would meet with His People.
God specifically instructed Moses to have the people construct the Tabernacle to be a movable structure. The Lord was leading the people of Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land, and He would go with them throughout their journey. Each time His people would stop to set up camp, the Lord would encamp around them.
The portable Tabernacle reminded God’s People that He was always with them. What a wonderful memo to us all. Is there any situation we may face, in which God is not? Are there any circumstances in which we cannot worship, honor and cry out to the Lord?
3) The Tabernacle was to be a priority.
God cared deeply about the details of His Tabernacle. Moses and the people of Israel understood the sacredness of God’s Presence.
Clearly, meeting with His people has always been a priority to the Lord. How He longs to receive us into fellowship with Himself.
Will we make our time with God a priority as well? What reminders might we need? Although we may not set up sacred tents in our yards, we may require other notices. If the God of the universe awaits us, will we pass Him by? How many days will we allow to slip by without meeting with God?
“How Long? Rhyming Yet, Lest I Forget (Where Have I Been, when My Beloved Has Called Me by Name?)”
Will you pray with me?
Most Holy One,
How many half-hearted gifts
Have I tried to offer You?
How often have I neglected
To seek You
Wherever You have led me?
How many moments have I lived,
Without seeking Your Presence?
Make my heart
A Tent of Meeting
Make my life
For Your Presence.
Build in me
A deeper desire
To honor You,
For You are the Glorious One,
The Miraculous one true God.