“God spoke all these words”
What is at first most surprising as I read the book of Exodus is the detail Moses is given of the way to construct the tabernacle. I note that, starting with chapter 20:1 “God spoke all these words” to Moses. Today in chapter 26 we have God’s detailed instructions; he said to Moses,
“moreover you shall make the Tabernacle with …” (verse 1)
and there follows detailed instructions of the texture, length and colour of the ten curtains that are to enclose its contents. There are also 50 loops and clasps to secure the curtains, and the
“fifty clasps are of gold” (verse 6).
In addition Moses is to make “curtains of goats hair” (verse 7) for a top covering, thirty of these are needed, they are to be longer, thirty cubits (about forty-five feet each, nearly fourteen metres). Next are details of the sizes of the acacia wood frames (verses 15-29) and the need for bronze bases (verse 37). The verse that particularly stood out was verse 30,
“you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain”.
Why all this meticulous attention to detail? It led us to ponder the words in the first chapter of the final book of the Bible, written when the Tabernacle and then the Temple were things of the past! The Apostle John says he
“turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden Lampstands, and in the midst of the Lampstands one like the son of man …” (verses 12,13).
John is told
“the seven Lampstands are the seven churches” (verse 20).
The seven churches, the assemblies of believers, are named and described in chapters 2 and 3. We see them as being representative of all the different types of assemblies of “saints” that have existed throughout the earth since that time. Each is told “I know thy works” because the Son of man was in the midst of them.
We recall Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers telling them they were
“members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (2:19-21).
Just as God oversaw the construction of a physical tabernacle in the wilderness, we see there is now a spiritual temple! Do we sense the wonder of this? Do we sense its growth – last year – this year? Just as in Revelation John saw Jesus in the midst of the assemblies of believers – and he knew their works, so also Paul concludes his revelation of the true, but physically unseen state of things by writing,
“In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (verse 22).
Are we conscious of “being built” – and of the builder? Are we co-operating with him? Moses is our example. Tragically the majority of the people with Moses in the wilderness lost their vision of the spiritual reality behind the physical. Is not the same tragedy happening in today’s wilderness? As we read God’s word each day – is it coming “alive in our minds”? Do we believe “God spoke all these words” and caused them to be recorded – for us? Do our thoughts and actions show we believe this?