October 1, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lampstand opposite it on the south side.”—Exodus 26:33–35 (NIV)
Even though the chapters in Exodus describe in detail the creation and placement of every element in the tabernacle from the outer courts to the inmost chamber, it can still be hard to imagine what the tabernacle actually looked like. In all of these details, there are significant symbols. The use of gold, one of the most expensive and valuable elements of that day, signified the holiness and majesty of God. The symmetry of everything within the tabernacle showcased God’s intentionality and orderliness as the Creator. The use of blue, purple, and scarlet linens to make the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place and the ark of the covenant from everything else also represented the holiness and royalty of God, yet the scarlet also represented the blood sacrifice that would be made within the Most Holy Place on behalf of the people.
Ultimately, the tabernacle stood to make a way for the presence of God to reside in the midst of His people despite their sinfulness. Even though God cannot be in the presence of sin or evil, He still made a way to be with His people because that is also who God is. He is merciful and loving!
The use of the tabernacle, high priesthood, and sacrifices all were part of His gracious plan in allowing His people to be close to Him. This plan; however, was always intended to be temporary because it still restricted many people from truly engaging in the presence of God. God’s greater plan involved sending Jesus, the holy son of God and God made manifest, to fulfill what the tabernacle temporarily acted as.
Right outside of the curtain stood the table of showbread and the lampstand as seen in the previous chapter. The priests were to set it up every Sabbath and then were able to eat it in the presence of the Lord (Leviticus 24:4–9). The lampstand had seven lamps on it which the priests were also to tend to so it would always be lit. When Jesus came, He called Himself both the “bread of life” (John 6:35) and the “light of the world” (John 8:12). When saying His final words and breathing His last on the cross, this veil that separated the Most Holy Place was torn in two because the blood of Christ had finally been shed for all the sin of the world. There was no more need for any other sacrifice on the ark of the covenant as His blood was sufficient.
Reading through these chapters in Exodus may seem tedious at times, yet the details of them are still important and beautiful. We can be reminded of God’s intelligent design and holy character through them, yet we’re also reminded of how Christ fulfilled the role of these elements once and for all. May we continually praise God for His majestic beauty, intentional redemption, and faithful pursuit of His people!
Pause: Take a moment to reflect on the beauty of the tabernacle. Imagine what all its elements may have looked like. Think about the beauty of God’s intentional design in the tabernacle and then His plan for Jesus to come fulfill it. How has He also intentionally brought you into His presence?
Practice: In Christ, our sin no longer separates us from the presence of God! Today, come before the Lord boldly with a grateful and repentant heart! Bring before Him praise, thanksgiving, and your requests.
Pray: Holy and heavenly Father, thank You so much for the beauty, majesty, and intentionality of Your Word, Your character, and Your plan. I simply cannot express how amazed I am by You. Today, I ask that You continue to point me back to Your presence. Today, I seek to enjoy Your presence in the simple and mundane moments. May You be glorified in my satisfaction and rest in You. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.