All the work that needed to be done to finish making the tabernacle has been completed. The last, and extremely important task of making the priestly garments has been finished. All the work and weaving. All the fine linen and twisted woven work is done. Even all the pure gold threads individually cut from a sheet of beaten gold have been woven in among the blue, purple and scarlet threads. It must have been amazing to have seen! Oh, how jealous i am to have missed it.
The work has all been completed by the workmen and they brought it to Moses to inspect. Moses looked it over and found that it had been done exactly as YHWH had commanded. Every piece was there and every part done. Nothing was missing that was needed, and all was ready.
Oh, how i wish i could have seen it, but then again i have also seen the completion of the scripture, and the fulfillment of the law. That is something that the Israelites of the time never saw.
So the tabernacle and all that it will contain has been made. Now on to the court and the alter. If i thought that the ark of the covenant was small, the alter is HUGE! At 5 cubits long (~7 1/2 feet) and 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits (~4 1/2 feet) tall, this thing was not small at all. But then again, when sacrifices included bulls, size does matter!
So the court of the tabernacle is underway with its pillars and linen hangings. All around the tabernacle are these hangings of fine twisted linen connected to pillars of bronze with hooks of silver. The entryway was to the east, to the rising sun, and the work of making all of the tabernacle and its tools of worship is finished. All that’s left is the priestly garments, putting everything together, and… the results.
All of this came together with structure and a plan. It took time, and effort, and finances to make it happen. It wasn’t just God doing it because it would be faster and easier for Him to do it Himself than to rely on humans to do it. He gave us the work. He gave us the plan. He gave His people the desire to make it happen. Do we have a structure and plan for our spiritual growth? Are we willing to invest ourselves into that plan? Are we willing to put our time, effort, and finances into loving God and loving others, or are we only willing to do the absolute minimum in order to get away with the least we can. Are we giving our firstfruits or our leftovers? Do we want to enter the court of the King, or are we satisfied with just passing it by and knowing that it’s there if we need it?
So construction has finally begun on the tabernacle. The people continue to bring their offerings and Bezalel and Oholiah and every skilled person are at work doing the work of construction. The curtains and the tent with its covering and the wooden structure that holds it all together are all being constructed and completed.
There is a great deal of work to be done, and Bezalel seems to be in charge of the work. However, there appears to be one serious flaw to the whole plan. That flaw is the people. They keep bringing more and more and more to give to the construction work, and the workers just don’t know what to do with it all. It is way too much for the work, and the people just keep giving. So Moses has to send out a message to the people to stop giving! Wow, imagine that! You have a church building project and the people are giving so much to the construction fund that early on you have to tell them to stop giving. What kind of people are these, and how do we get them into our church…
Is this the mentality we have? Do YOU and I give to the church and ministry of the church body so much that WE have to be told to stop giving? No? But we want others to do that? Maybe WE need to change how we spend our time and money.
In Exodus 32 (Sheep and Calf) we brought up this concept of the people’s desire to worship and offer sacrifice to God. They wanted it so much that when it wasn’t given to them how and as fast as they were looking for it, they created their own god so that they would have something… some sort of god to worship. They had been instructed by Aaron to give the earrings from their ears and he created a god for them from the gold. Here however, God, YHWH, has a better way. He doesn’t just want gold, He wants silver, and bronze, and fine fabrics, and goats hair, and acacia wood, and oil, and spices, and setting stones, and so much more. There should not have been a single person of the sons of Israel that could not give / offer something. They have all had a desire to give to the God that gave to them. Now they finally have a chance to do that. They can finally give back to YHWH to their heart’s content. They finally have a healthy outlet for their appreciation.
We have that need too. We have the need to honor and serve something / someone: to express our honor and our praise. It is something that is deep inside of every one of us. It is as much a part of us as our very need to breathe. We are a people of thanksgiving and blessing. If we are not worshiping YHWH, the God of the universe and everything, then we are worshiping money, or family, or education, or entertainment, or ourselves, or something else entirely. We have to find an outlet for our praise and worship or it tears us up inside. We are a people of offering.
It is such a fascinating concept to consider; that WE are beings with a need and primal desire to worship. To give and be an offering. It makes sense when we understand that YHWH created us for relationship with Him. Whether it is purposeful or simply a side effect of that purpose, we NEED to praise, worship, give an offering, and BE an offering.
This chapter also parallels back to Exodus 31 (Work & Rest) in a couple of different ways. Right away the LORD emphasizes the need for a Sabbath rest. In fact, in verse 1 the people are told, “These are the things that the LORD (YHWH) has commanded you to do:” Then the very first thing listed is observing a sabbath rest. In our busy schedules, how often do we ignore this so important command? The other parallel from chapter 31 is that our offering is our giving of our skills and abilities. So often we get into this rut of thinking that our tithe and offering to God is the first 10% of our money, but God doesn’t just ask for our money. He seeks our hearts and our lives. He accepts /expects / demands from us our very lives. Our tithes and offerings are not just our money, they are our skills, abilities, and work / play.
We ARE our offering, and we need to live that way.
John J. Camiolo Jr.
The tabernacle of the LORD was a beautiful thing. I would have so loved to have seen it. Exodus 26 is all about God describing to Moses the plans and process for building this traveling tent of His. It describes the pillars overlaid with gold, the fine linen walls, the scarlet draperies, the goat skin tent covering the tabernacle, and the curtain that separates the holy place from the Holy of Holies. I can only imagine what it would be like come to the tabernacle. To come to the alter. To enter the holy place. To look into the Holy of Holies.
Of course i know that even if i were somehow transported to that time and place, i could never go there. I am not a jew, i am a gentile. So the closest i would be able to come would be to see it taken down and put up from a distance, or to see its splendor and beauty from the outside. Even as an Israelite, you still wouldn’t be able to look into the Holy of Holies. If you could see inside the tabernacle there was a great curtain between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter and only 1x per year. That great curtain was both a blockade and a protection. It prevented people from casually entering and being consumed due to their sin and lack of godliness.
The wonderful thing is though, that we don’t need to. When Christ died on the cross the curtain was torn from top to bottom. His sacrifice removed that barrier that prevented us from being able to relate directly to the God that created us. Through Christ’s blood we are redeemed and cleansed. We can have a relationship directly with God. There is no need for a high priest. There isn’t even a need for an ordinary every day priest. There is God and there is us. Through Christ’s cleansing blood we are able to speak with YHWH with no curtain in the way. Don’t you want that too?
Either i’ve become a faster writer, the verses are shorter or easier in this chapter some how, or both. It took me less than an hour and a half to copy over the 40 verses in this chapter. When i started this project it took me an hour and a half to do ~30 verses. If i was to gander a guess, i would say that it is probably a combination of things. Either way, its good to see this, as i will be starting an earlier class schedule today and i have less time to get prepped each day to teach.
Here we see God prepping Moses and Israel to build Him a sanctuary. He calls for the people to raise a contribution by asking for specific materials, and He gives Moses the plans for how to make the ark with the mercy seat, the table, the lamp stand, and other necessary tools and utensils. It’s funny, when i think of the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat, what i visualize is the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and that’s very different from what is described here.
What i thought was interesting about this chapter is that YHWH initiates the first fund raiser for a church building project. He also doesn’t just ask for gold or money to purchase the right equipment to do the job, but He asks for the material itself. It’s an interesting and intriguing way of getting things done. It’s not just… “Write a check for this much money.” It’s about investing in the actual building and development. Then the people can turn around and say to their kids, “look, see the fine linen that is used in the ephod and breastpiece? We donated that.” Or, “See the red rams skins used in the curtains of the tabernacle, that’s from us and our family! See, we are a part of this place.” It gives the people some semblance of connection and identity with the project. The very building itself becomes a legacy. It’s much more personal than just writing a check.
Are we investing OURSELVES into the kingdom of God, or are we just writing a tithe check? Is the kingdom work about us doing the work, or us funding the work? Maybe that’s a key to helping people embrace the mission and work of the church and ministry?