Friday, May 24, 2019

The Glorious House: Reflections on Exodus 25

"These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair …" (Exodus 25:3–4).

Remember that after God spoke the Ten Commandments to the people, they asked that Moses stand between them and God because the voice of God was so loud and terrifying (Exodus 20). God told Moses the laws we find in the Book of the Covenant, and Moses told them to the people (Exodus 21–23). Then Moses led the people in a ceremony of covenant ratification, and Moses and the elders had a communion meal with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24).

God next summoned Moses into the Glory Cloud and revealed plans for a tent in which He would dwell. As the people were living in tents, so God would also reside in a tent in their midst. Bear in mind that these tents were not mere teepees or wigwams. The Tabernacle of God was a glorified version of the ordinary Israelite tent. The tents had walls made of wooden planks set in sockets on the ground and held up by bars that ran horizontally along the boards. Curtains were hung over the boards creating a wall. Depending on how the sockets were arranged on the ground, with the boards standing in them, a tent could have several rooms.

The first thing the LORD told Moses was to receive a contribution from the people. The people had spoiled the Egyptians and the spoil of the defeated enemy was to be used to build the house of God. The palace of God, where He would sit enthroned and where He would be worshipped, was to be opulent in gold, silver, bronze, fine linen, and jewels. The boards of God’s tent were overlaid with gold. The curtains were of costly dyed fabric, especially blue and purple. The incense-burner, lampstand, and dinner table in God’s “living room” (the Holy Place) were made of pure gold, while the sink and fireplace in His kitchen (the laver and altar) were of pure bronze.

One of the things we learn from this is that it is not wrong to adorn the house of God, the place of worship. It would be wrong if we completely neglected the other duties of the Church, such as missions and charity, but it is also an error to condemn beauty and costly appointments of the house of worship.

Read John 12:1–8 and compare it with Exodus 25:6, 40:9, and Leviticus 8:10–12. What connections do you see between these passages? As you reflect on these things, what do they tell you about God’s interest in beauty?