READ EXODUS 25
The words that God uses about Himself and about His dwelling place throughout the book of Exodus are incredibly important. And today we’re going to consider one of the first words God uses to describe His dwelling place. It is the word מִקְדָּ֑שׁ (“miq-das”) from which we get our English translation, “sanctuary,” in verse 8.
To fully understand how the Bible uses this word, let’s do a word study. A word study is an exegetical study in which we will look at the places throughout the Old Testament in which this same Hebrew word is used. Look up the following references. Try to identify where in the English this word for “sanctuary” is being used and what it teaches you about the use of the word. Remember the word “sanctuary” will not always be used. Look for other English words or phrases that are similar, and try to identify where the word מִקְדָּ֑שׁ is being used and how it is being used.
Numbers 10:21 (hint: מִקְדָּ֑שׁ is not translated “tabernacle” here)
1 Chronicles 22:19
Do your best to summarize in one or two sentences what the word מִקְדָּ֑שׁ, or “sanctuary,” means.
The מִקְדָּ֑שׁ (“miq-das”) that God calls His people to build Him is not just a sanctuary as you and I would envision it in our church buildings today. Instead, it is the Most Holy Place. It is referenced not in terms of its location, like you and I would probably say to a friend as we run into the church foyer, “I’ll meet you in the sanctuary.” It’s not a word of location but of substance. The sanctuary is the Most Holy Place. Why? Because it is the place where God dwells. Literally, the מִקְדָּ֑שׁ is the “place of holiness.” It is the home address of the most holy God.
Why do you think God used this language in His call to His people?
God is promising to come and dwell among His people, and as such, He is coming in full form. He is coming with the weight of His holiness. He cannot stop being exactly who He is. And so … He commands them to build Him a holy place.
Throughout our coming study of the Lord’s tabernacle, we are going to read lots of rules and regulations. We might even find them cumbersome and wonder why it’s so important to God that this specific room have these specific dimensions. And when that time comes, we will do well to remember that God is coming in His holiness. And, as such, there must be parameters of His presence so that His people can draw near. These good and perfect regulations for His sanctuary are a gift from a holy God to His unholy people – a means by which He can dwell among them in the full glory of His holiness.
Is it difficult for you to receive God’s regulations as a gift?
How did God do something similar in the Law He gave Israel?
How is this different in the Gospel? How is it the same?
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that He is perfect. Praise Him for His holiness. Ask Him to give you a heart that receives His regulations as a gift, and thank Him for making a way to be near you in His holiness.