Friday, August 20, 2010

Exodus 25, 26, 27 Plans for the Tabernacle

Statue of Moses at the Library of Congress in ...Image via Wikipedia

A long time ago, I was in Washington D.C. when the Redskins won the Super Bowl.  There was such an out pouring of emotion that when The Redskins won, people jumped out of their houses hooting and hollering, joyfully screaming and yelling, giving expression to this monumental event.  Some people set off fire crackers, others careened in their vehicles – everyone did something because it was impossible to sit quietly on the sofa.  I remember running outside and just jumping up and down until my legs tired.

In Exodus 24, God did not just talk to Moses, but He met with Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy elders of Israel. These men saw God and they ate and drank in His presence.  Afterwards, God called Moses to meet with Him alone.

Now, can you imagine the camp at the base of Mount Sinai?  Three months earlier, amidst great, supernatural signs and wonders, the people of Israel fled a hostile, oppressive regime.  They knew that they were going home – a land kept alive in their memories through stories passed down through generations.  They were going to return to a land this powerful God, whose name is “I AM that I AM”, had given to them.  Israel understood that this omnipotent God had not only covenanted to protect them and to fight for them, but also was going to deliver them into their land of promise. 

How much they must have rejoiced as they understood that never again were they to return to a life of slavery and cruel oppression.  If I were there, I would have speculated  about a new life of freedom and comfort.  The seventy elders who ate in God’s presence could describe the pavement beneath God’s feet as well as who knows what else.  I can imagine that as God became a tangible reality in Israel’s consciousness, their increasing awareness of the ramifications of this truth fostered a giddy relief and mirth.

While thousands of people were milling around jubilantly, God knew that aimless, undirected joy would not adequately direct the energy of the masses.  Before the celebrations were over, God took Moses aside and showed him the blue print for how to construct the tabernacle. 

In giving very specific dimensions to Moses, God also specified a north/south orientation for the tabernacle.  The entrance was at the south end of the tabernacle courtyard while the Most Holy Place was at the farthest north end.  With many pagan sun-worshipping religions, it’s interesting to note that God did not want to place any emphasis on the east/west axis which would lend significance to the sun.

Israel received laws from God which would become their most treasured possessions.  These laws separated them from other nations and made the God of Creation into an absolute, sovereign God with a special purpose for and relationship with Israel.  From this point on, God’s everlasting covenant was linked to the entire people of Israel.
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