Are there singular verses in the Bible that really stand out to you, any statements that surprise you or cause you to wonder at God? One of the most phenomenal statements of Scripture is Exodus 25:8 (ESV), where the Lord says, “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” It is a tremendous testimony to the gracious heart of our God. For the first time, God was going to dwell with men.
God Took the Initiative
Having a sanctuary in which their God could dwell among them wasn’t Israel’s idea. This tent of meeting was designed by God because He wanted to enjoy His people. He has reached out to you in the same way. He took the initiative in saving you, and the Church in which He has placed you is also of His own design. The tabernacle, also called God’s house, has rich lessons for us in the Church, God’s spiritual house today. The Church is “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:22, ESV).
A Holy God Among a Sinful People
What makes God’s desire to dwell among His people so remarkable is that He is intensely holy – “a devouring fire” (Exo 24:17, ESV) – and men and women are … well, not. In fact, while Moses was up on the mountain receiving instructions for the tabernacle’s design, the people were betraying God with idolatry and immorality (Exo 32:1-6). This revealed the sinful heart of redeemed people. But their sin did not cancel God’s plans to have them build a sanctuary for Him. He knew their hearts, just as He knows your heart; and He wanted to be among them, just as He wants to dwell with you. The tabernacle provided a way for a sinful (but repentant) people to approach and worship God. He could dwell among them without compromising His perfect holiness. Their approach to God and His dwelling in their midst was conditional upon repeated sacrifices, and they had to remain at a distance from His manifest presence. Today, in the Church, we also approach God on the basis of sacrifice – the single, perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, we no longer need to remain at a distance; we draw near, into His holy sanctuary, by the blood of Jesus (meditate upon Heb 10:19-22).
Don’t Miss the Person
The object of the tabernacle was not the vessels of the tabernacle themselves – it was to enable the people to worship and serve God. In fact, the tabernacle was a revelation of God to His people, and Christ is foreshadowed in all of the details of the tabernacle. He is the greatest revelation of God: “the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld His glory” (John 1:14, YLT). In the coming months on this page, you will be introduced to the furniture of this tent in the wilderness. Don’t miss the glory of Christ foreshadowed in the tabernacle.