We are now in the 11th and last week of our journey through the book of Exodus
And this week we are looking at the Tabernacle, last week John Scully talked about the Golden Calf and more explicitly Moses and God’s reaction to the peoples once again lack of faith.
But first let’s pray.
Lord God may my words be your words not my own,
Lord Open our ears, to hear your word and know your voice.
Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills, that we may have soft hearts and open ears for your word and what they mean to us as shown by Jesus. Amen
So, Moses has been chosen by God, battles with Pharaoh, through the power of God opens the red sea and the people are no longer slaves to Pharaoh, and then again through Gods power changes better water into sweet water, God provides bread and quail for the people to eat and them Moses again through the power of God brought water from the rock.
And all the while we see the Israelites grumbling and their lack of faith in God, and also, we saw God’s grace and love for them. And then God help them defeat the Amalekites again through his faithful servant Moses.
Then God through his grace gives the people the ten commandments, but as it was not in their time but God’s they lose faith and start to build an ideal a golden calf, and God still loves them.
And this week we have God’s instructions on how to build the tabernacle.
Now we know from the bible that Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden. And God walked with them. But then sin came, and that communion was broken. We think about them being kicked out of the garden, but they had already kicked God out of their lives, out of His own creation.
And we are still kicking God out today, we do it in many ways, by disrespecting our leaders that God has set in place. God has been kicked out of our government, our schools, and society, but out of our homes, our families, God has been kicked out of the choices we make, out of our thinking, out of our lives!
The Tabernacle was where God dwelt with men in those days. It’s a wonderful picture, full of object lessons…a graphic, vivid experience of God’s presence with mankind!
It was a temporary, mobile structure—used by the Israelites for 500 years as a meeting place—where they met God! Later on, in Solomon’s time it would be replaced by the permanent structure known as the Temple,
far more elaborate, solid, not portable, but still based on the same basic plan.
The Tabernacle was moved some 30 times. The glory of God the cloud of God’s presence would hover over the Tabernacle…a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. But then the cloud would rise and would begin to move.
Their job then was to rip down the Tabernacle…and some 8,500 men were precisely allocated tasks in this process and in carrying it…following the glory cloud until it stopped.
Then they would re-erect it again, and once again the glory cloud would hover over it.
There’s a lesson in this for us as a church, and as individuals. Sometimes churches and the people in them are not moving with God they are doing what they want and they hope that God joins in, God has a plan for His church and it is up to us to join in with that plan.
God is always on the move, we just have to keep up and keep growing in our discipleship to Him and trust in His plan.
Now don’t get we wrong I believe we should be active and aggressive in ministry, it should be in the Spirit of following God, not doing what the god of I wants! We say with our plans I am right God follow me, “Come on God, follow us and get on board!” This is wrong. We need to find out which way God is moving, and all we have to do is follow!
Some of us can make it far too complicated as we try to ‘think tank’ our way to success. God has already made the plans…He knows the way through the wilderness…we just need to fall in line!
We need to pray for the mind of God and follow His leading as a church after all this is Gods Church not mine or yours, when we are gone God will still be here and God will be in charge!
The same is true for each of us as. We make too much of planning our lives. Now eleven years ago I had great plans and they did not include God then I heard God’s call, and gave my life to Jesus in fact that was eleven years ago last Saturday that Chris and I gave our lives to Jesus.
Have you given your life to Jesus have you said Jesus you are my Lord I will not do anything that does not please you, please forgive me for all the wrong I have done in the past, have you ever said that prayer to Jesus, if not then I am telling you, you should, life will be so much better with God in charge of your life.
God has a plan. Now I’m all for making arrangements, for studying alternatives and seeking the best in life. But the fact remains that God knows best if we put half the energy,
we put into trying to make a way for ourselves into finding and following His way…we’d really go places!
In our reading, God tells Moses to build a Tabernacle which will be surrounded by a camp of 1.5 -2 million Israelites. A white linen fence and tells Moses what and where to put everything else, and inside this white linen fence they are to put up another structure, 45’ X 15’ X 15’ high. And it is in 2 compartments, separated by a veil.
The first is the Holy Place, with the golden lampstand, alter table with incense and a table for the bread of the presence.
The 2nd is the Holy of Holies, a perfect cube of 15’, with just the Ark of the covenant inside.
And only the priest where allowed inside the Holy place and only at that time Moses and Arron were allowed in the Holy of Holies.
The common people could be in the outer court area, but only the priests in the Holy Place and only the High Priest can go beyond into the Most Holy Place,
and only once a year, walking backwards, not looking at the presence of God on the mercy seat which was on top of the Ark of the covenant, they risk death if it was not done right. They had bells on their garments and a rope around their ankle…and if they fell in God’s presence someone could hear and pull their dead body out!
That veil separating God’s presence from man’s was so thick and multi-layered that the Historian Josephus said two teams of oxen couldn’t pull it apart.
But when Jesus died the veil in the temple was torn in 2 from the top to the bottom … for it was God doing the tearing! Why? So, you and I could have bold access right to the most Holy place, the throne of God, the throne of Grace!
I don’t think we release just what a gift we have been given we have become far too casual in our lives with respect to God and His love for us, some of us don’t pray some of us lie and cheat, some of us only follow the god of what I want because I know best,
we don’t take advantage of that access we’ve been granted to the throne and grace of God!
Now some don’t want to come to the altar, and some won’t get on their knees and pray in private either. In Moses day they couldn’t approach Him…today people can, but often won’t!
Now in v. 2-3a God said, it’s time to build. And how did God come up with the resources for this undertaking? Isn’t it obvious? Quite simply, I’m sure He must’ve said something like this:
Tribe of Gad go back to Egypt and have a cake bake sale and bring back the proceeds.
Tribe of Manasseh, you can do a camel wash. Stand out in the desert with a sign that says, help us build our tabernacle. 2 hump camels are £5.00, or 1 hump camels for £3.00.
Tribe of Ben, Go and collect any old stuff people don’t want and sell it put up a sign “Help us go to camp!” It’s an expensive camp…not 1 week, but 40 years! Please be generous!
Now I don’t think that happened and I’m not against fundraisers for certain things, but ultimately when we are trying to do God’s work, we should try to do it God’s way. And God’s way of providing for God’s work was by no means other than God’s people giving to God’s work!
My old church had to buy the building the church stood on that it thought it already owned, why did they have to buy it because they wanted to do a lot of renovations, some £150,000.00 worth, they found out the building would cost £450,000.00
That was £600,000.00 that was need, they prayed the did do a little bit of fundraising but they were more like community events and fun, and today they own the building and have done the renovations, they owe nothing to anybody and God moved before them.
The price came down on the building people made large and small donations, God’s hand was on the whole thing and why I don’t know, but I can tell you they prayed like crazy, they trusted God’s plan and they were faithful.
And that is how the people of God move forward with God for God’s glory, and that is the same for all Gods people if we all share the load today who knows what the future will be.
Now in the building of the tabernacle everyone had a part. The wealthy gave gold, silver, and brass. Others could afford spices and oils or fabrics. Some could only bring animal skins, but everyone contributed…no one just came along for the free ride.
It has been estimated that today it would cost 47 million pounds
to build the Tabernacle. Did it work? Did God’s plan work out?
Exodus 36:5-7 says “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.
God’s way works. God’s way is the best way! And God’s way will always work
The tabernacle points to Jesus
The tabernacle is a picture and type of what is all important in the Bible – and that is the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He is the true fulfilment of this structure. As the Amplified Bible brings out; “ In John 1.
And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacle (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us;
and we [actually] saw His glory (His honour, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favour, loving-kindness) and truth.”
The tabernacle shows the presence and holiness of God, God said that the tabernacle was constructed so that ‘I may dwell among them’. God wanted to be in the midst of His people… but His people were sinful and let’s face it at times that’s an understatement. How could He dwell with them? The tabernacle shows God’s desire for fellowship along with His pure holiness,
while thankfully also showing us the way into His presence, through Jesus.
The tabernacle is a plan of salvation – The earthly tabernacle pictures salvation, it was where you went to be forgiven to get right with God, and Jesus is the one paid that price for us. This is true of what it cost Jesus to provide the means of salvation and also of the steps necessary for those who want to be saved.
Jesus had to fulfil His role as the High Priest of the New Covenant,
entering into the Heavenly tabernacle as it says in Hebrews 9:11-12, 24 “ When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal salvation for us. For Jesus Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one;
he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.”
The tabernacle teaches about God’s plan concerning the different ages in His dealings with man.
The same is true of our salvation. we can enter into salvation only by faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, whose blood cleanses us from all condemnation and whose water regenerates and cleanses us for service. He is faithful to provide light and Himself for His people to feast upon.
And those people are those who choose to follow Him
And all who do follow Jesus have become a nation of priests, interceding through prayer. So, we should all pray daily and all the time. God now inhabits His people like He once dwelt with Israel.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
And the reason for all this for Jesus coming and dying for us is God loves us and wants to spend time with each of us, and it’s up to us do we want to spend time with God or is coming to church like being a member of a club with no relationship to God.
It is our call.
Lord thank you for your love for us for your wanting to be with us, Lord fill us with your Holy Spirit and help us come to know you better, Lord through your Holy Spirit help us to trust in your plan not our own. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen.