Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Exodus 25:10-22 (NRSV)
They shall make an ark of acacia wood; it shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside you shall overlay it, and you shall make a molding of gold upon it all around. You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side. You shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, by which to carry the ark. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. You shall put into the ark the covenant that I shall give you.
Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its width. You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the covenant that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites.
The early Old Testament is full of passages like this one—direct instructions on how to build the tabernacle, set up the holy areas, how long to make the curtains, and what size the plates on the table should be. To modern readers, these passages can be as interesting as reading about the detail of an air conditioning system for a large building. But there is something wonderful about the details. God had a plan for each inch of the tabernacle. I love the directness of God’s instructions. There was no debate among the builders about how many cubits long to make the door, no question of what design to put on top of the Ark. All the Israelites had to do was follow the instructions.
God had planned ahead for this time. On the night of what became known as the Passover, the Israelites were told to ask for jewelry and other valuables from their Egyptian neighbors. Those valuables didn’t do any good at the beginning of the Exodus when the Israelites were traveling the desert looking for food and water, but now that they have learned to trust God, they know just what to do with all the gold they have been lugging around.
The tabernacle must have been an amazing sight—gold and purple linen everywhere! God certainly doesn’t need an earthly building to be majestic, as a burning bush and a quiet wind can attest, but still the tabernacle would stand as a powerful symbol of the relationship between God and the Israelites.
God, help us to build a tabernacle out of our hearts; help us to create a place where we can experience your powerful majesty each day. Remove tarnishing influences and purify our spirits. Amen.
Go with God.