READ EXODUS 25
With a proper hermeneutic in place for understanding God’s instructions for the tabernacle, we can set out into God’s design details. We’ve already seen God’s instructions for the Ark of the Covenant – the place of God’s presence. The Ark would sit in the Holy of Holies, and next God moves outside the Holiest place into the Holy place.
P.S. If you’re wondering if you should have picked up on where these items are located by now, don’t worry! God’s floor plan, if you will, is coming in chapter 26. I’m just sharing these insights with you now so that you understand that God is building His tabernacle from the inside out.
Read Exodus 25:23-30. What is God describing here?
What do you think the table looks like?
What is on it and why?
The table was not large. If we were to understand the measurements in our own terms today, we would see that the table was not much larger than the coffee tables sitting in most of our living rooms. It was three feet long by a foot and a half wide, and less than three feet tall. In fact, the entire tabernacle is not impressively large. In part this is because the entire tabernacle had to be packed up and relocated as God led His people to the promised land. But I also think there is another reason.
Can you think of any other reasons God did not command His people to build a large tabernacle or, in our immediate context, a large table?
The value of the tabernacle wasn’t in its size, but in what it held: the presence of God. The same is true of the table. The impressiveness of the table wasn’t in its size, but in what it held.
Read Leviticus 24:5-9. What does God command His people to make for the table?
It is important for us here to understand a reality in the ancient near east, the culture surrounding Israel at the time. The practice of putting food out for deities was common. It was so common in fact, that some scholars have insisted that Israel adopted this practice from the surrounding culture. But there is an incredibly distinct difference between God’s command for Israel to put out bread and the common religious practice of the day, and it is this: God did not eat it.
Many surrounding religions would put out food for their gods to eat. But that is simply not the case with Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Read Acts 17:25. What does this passage teach us about the nature of God?
How is God different from the false gods worshipped through food sacrifices?
Who ended up eating the bread in the tabernacle?
God’s design proclaims His nature! Our God does not need to be served by human hands. He does not need our sacrifices or offerings in order to survive, but He calls us into worship of Him and provides for us as we participate. The priests, we’ll notice, were the ones who ate the bread each week. As they participated in their call to serve and worship God, God invited them into a holy feast, a weekly practice in God’s provision and presence.
This is our God, friends. This is the God who came not to be served, but to serve. The God who doesn’t need us, but who drew near to us when we could not draw near to Him. And His unchanging character is written in every detail of His dwelling place.
How do you see the Gospel in this?
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that HE doesn’t need you. Thank Him that He provides for you. Thank Him that He came to serve, not to be served. Worship Him for being self-sufficient.