READ EXODUS 26
The Tabernacle was the place where God was coming שָׁכַן (“to dwell” or “to abide”), and as such its design and construction revealed His holy character. Today, we are going to work to understand the construction of the Tabernacle as explained in Exodus 26. Though these passages are tempting to skim, let us study with diligence and worship.
We have already seen that God is giving Moses instructions for building the Tabernacle from the inside out. Remind yourself what God first gave design plans for (in chapter 24). What does this teach us about God’s character?
While the “thing” of highest value and importance in the Tabernacle was the presence of God and where God rested (the Ark of the Covenant), God now gives detailed instructions on the surrounding structure for His dwelling place.
Let’s break down this blueprint into primary categories. Mentally, artistically, or descriptively construct the temple as we move through the following four primary design instructions:
Tabernacle Proper: vs. 1-6
Curtains: vs 7-14
Poles: vs 15:-29
Frame: vs 31-35
It’s important that we remind ourselves at this point just what we are describing or depicting. These verses describe God’s instructions for the Tabernacle dwelling – the tent that fortified and constituted the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (or the Holy of Holies). In coming verses, we will look at the outer courts that surrounded the Tabernacle and helped make up the whole. Here is a helpful graphic that gives us an idea of the size, scale, and positioning of the Tent of Dwelling itself (by Logos Bible Software):
What do you notice about the Tabernacle design?
What stands out to you?
How do you imagine this might be different than other dwellings we would have seen in the Ancient Near East?
Does anything surprise you about its construction?
While there are a lot of details embedded in this chapter about the Tabernacle’s design and construction (many of which we will consider tomorrow), one thing is made abundantly clear: there are barriers to God’s presence. Do you notice all the curtains, or barriers, surrounding God’s dwelling place? There are four layers covering the place of God’s presence. There is another barrier – a veil – between the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place. And there is another barrier – a curtain – between the Holy Place and the outer courts. And these curtains were not transparent, like many of ours are today. But they are made from animal skins and wool, layered four layers deep. Absolutely no light was let into the Tabernacle. There was no way of mindlessly wandering into God’s presence unknowingly. Everywhere we look, there are barriers to God’s presence, because God is holy.
How does this design draw you to worship God?
How do you see the Gospel in the Tabernacle design?
PRAY & REFLECT
Prayerfully reflect on God’s holiness. Praise Him for His holiness. Confess to Him that there is none like Him. Thank Him that, in Christ, the barriers between you and Him have been removed.