September 17, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits was its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. He overlaid it with pure gold inside and outside, and made a molding of gold all around it. And he cast for it four rings of gold to be set in its four corners: two rings on one side, and two rings on the other side of it. He made poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold. And he put the poles into the rings at the sides of the ark, to bear the ark. He also made the mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits was its length and a cubit and a half its width. He made two cherubim of beaten gold; he made them of one piece at the two ends of the mercy seat: one cherub at one end on this side, and the other cherub at the other end on that side. He made the cherubim at the two ends of one piece with the mercy seat. The cherubim spread out their wings above, and covered the mercy seat with their wings. They faced one another; the faces of the cherubim were toward the mercy seat. He made the table of acacia wood; two cubits was its length, a cubit its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold all around it. Also he made a frame of a handbreadth all around it, and made a molding of gold for the frame all around it. And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that were at its four legs. The rings were close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table. And he made the poles of acacia wood to bear the table, and overlaid them with gold. He made of pure gold the utensils which were on the table: its dishes, its cups, its bowls, and its pitchers for pouring.”—Exodus 37:1–16 (NKJV)
At this point in the Exodus account, the children of Israel are in the process of constructing the tabernacle. This tent-like structure was to be built according to the precise details God had revealed to Moses. But the tabernacle was more than just a sacred tent. It also included several items the Lord designed in elaborate detail and, as we’ll see over the next few days, each of these items point to certain spiritual truths about Him.
The first item God wanted them to build is the ark or ark of the covenant. This was essentially a golden chest with a lid adorned with two angels facing each other with outstretched wings. This lid was known as the mercy seat, and it was in this exact spot the Lord promised to localize His presence among His people. This is what made the ark of the covenant so special and sacred. It, more than anything else, represented the presence of God. And to take this concept one step further, the presence of God also represents their relationship with Him. What made Israel different from all other nations was the fact they were in a covenant relationship with the Lord, and the ark of the covenant represented this.
God was also very specific about where the ark was to be placed: in the tabernacle and also in the entire camp of Israel. It was to serve as the centerpiece of the tabernacle, and it was even separated from all other things by a curtain that established its own sacred space. But then as you zoom out from there, you find the Lord wanted the tabernacle to always be in the very center of the two million plus camp of Israelites. The ark, which represented Israel’s relationship with God, was at their center. And in a similar way, our relationship with God is to serve as the center of our lives. He’s the core of our existence, and everything in our world is to revolve around our relationship with the Him.
The next item God wanted them to make was the golden table, which was to be placed on the other side of the curtain separating the ark. He also instructed them to place twelve loaves of bread on this table. This represented the Lord’s divine provision for His people. Despite being in the middle of the wilderness, the table was a reminder they would never starve to death because God was also their provider.
The parallel for the believer in Christ couldn’t be clearer. As the bread of life (John 6:35), He promises to provide all we need, not just in the material sense, but in the spiritual sense, as well. Those who come to Him and trust in Him will find fulfillment and nourishment for their body, soul, and spirit. The golden table is testimony to Christ’s provision over our lives, and the ark reminds us of the centrality of our relationship with Him.
Pause: What two spiritual truths do the ark and the golden table represent for the believer in Christ?
Practice: Take time to think about how these two tabernacle objects serve as reminders to you in your faith journey with the Lord.
Pray: Lord, help me to see my relationship with You as the heart and center of who I am and all I do, and may I rest fully in Your ability and desire to be my perfect provider. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.