When I was in high school, I used to love getting school supplies at the start of a new school year. It felt like a fresh, clean, pure beginning. My textbooks were always new, because of the type of school I went to, and I would always try to buy pretty notebooks for taking notes in each subject. I reasoned that if my materials were nice to look at, then I would be glad to pull out my notebooks and pens and get started on a new assignment. The beauty of my surroundings would make everything that much more pleasant.
That hypothesis of mine did not turn out to be true all of the time, but maybe I was on to something. A similar idea seems to be at place in the construction of the tabernacle. Moses is still in the presence of God, basking in Him, but also taking instruction from Him on how the sanctuary is to be constructed. So far, Moses knows that the tabernacle will be constructed of plenty of curtains (verse 1), surrounded by rams’ skins, surrounded by leather (verse 14). A section of the curtains will divide the tabernacle into two rooms, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The Holy Place room will hold the table and the lampstand, described in the last chapter. The Most Holy Place will hold the ark of the covenant, with the cherubim on top. Slowly but surely, God’s Dwelling Place with His children is shaping up, and it’s only getting better and better.
The Treasures Within:
Who knew God was an interior Designer also? His instructions for the tabernacle were specific, down even to the style. He carefully described for Moses the curtains that would make up the inside of the tabernacle. They would be of linen, the curtains woven together with thin, thin strands of twisted fabric. Blue, purple, and scarlet would be the colors blended throughout the curtains, with cherubim woven into the design (verses 1, 31). More curtains would be made out of goat’s hair. They would all be fastened together with gold hooks, bronze clasps and seamless loops of blue (verses 4, 6, 11, 32). Frames of acacia wood gave the tabernacle its structure, and these were set in silver bases (verses 15-25). It all sounded exquisite. I imagine God thinking carefully about each element of the sanctuary. He was truly pulling out all the stops.
Obviously, God wanted His Dwelling Place with the children of Israel to be beautiful. Our Creator values and loves beauty. This isn’t surprising – the nature He created in just six days is the epitome of beauty, even after years of us destroying it. But a beautiful tabernacle – that’s a little bit different. The beauty of our universe is beauty created for all – God, the angels, and us. But the beauty of the tabernacle was just for humanity. The tabernacle was a place that was built expressly for the people God made. And God wanted it to be beautiful. This beauty set the tabernacle apart, made it special, and pointed to the beauty of its Designer. But it also just was. And the fact that God wanted that is, well, beautiful.
God’s Message To Us:
“I want you to enjoy being around Me.” The most special thing about the tabernacle was that it was a space for God and His people to be together. This wasn’t any old tent; it was a special place of worship and intimacy, and God reflected that in His design. The esteem, purity, and holiness God instilled in the act of worship and togetherness with Him in Moses’s day has not left in our day. Depending on your denomination, churches today can tend to be more functional. The most beautiful contemporary buildings are not churches. But that doesn’t change the principal God set in place all those years ago. The time we spend in Jesus’s arms worshipping, communing, sacrificing, and learning is beautiful because it is holy and priceless. God valued it enough to design the tabernacle. How much do you and I value it?
What do you think? Do you like God’s designs for the tabernacle? What did God want you to learn from this chapter?