Text: Exodus 25-27
OBSERVE: The Tabernacle was a giant tent, a portable sanctuary for God’s presence to be with his people. It was an arrangement that almost didn’t happen due to the sin of the people although God would remain faithful to his promises to Abraham. God gave Moses detailed designs for the Tabernacle, saying, “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly to the pattern I will show you” (Exodus 25: 8-9). Since it was similar to the tents they lived in, it showed how close God was. This was the blessing of the covenant: God was with his people, and they were with their God. At the same time, since the Tabernacle was so elaborate, it reminded them the God was separated from them by his holy majesty. God also gave specific instructions for everything that would go inside the Tabernacle (Exodus 25: 10-11, 16-18). In the innermost part of the Tabernacle was the Most Holy Place where God descended to dwell with his people. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was located.
INTERPRET: The Ark of the Covenant was an earthly symbol of the heavenly reality of God’s intentions for his people. It pictured what would ultimately make it possible for him to be reconciled with sinners who seek him. God would dwell above the Ark, in all his holiness, enthroned between the cherubim. Underneath was the law of God that exposed Israel’s sin. And in between was the mercy seat, where an offering was made by the high priest for the atonement of sins for the whole community. In between a holy God and the law of God came the blood of the atoning sacrifice. In this way, when God came down to dwell with his people, he would not see them in light of the law that they had broken, but instead would see them through the saving blood of an atoning sacrifice.
APPLICATION: Thousands of years before Jesus came to live among us, God purposed that there be a Tabernacle in order that there would be One who would fulfill the meaning of that Tabernacle and would be the true Tabernacle (John 1: 14). Every detail of the Tabernacle pointed to some aspect of the character and work of Jesus Christ. The Cross of Christ is our mercy seat. It is the place where the blood of an atoning sacrifice reconciles us to God by coming between his holiness and our law breaking (Romans 3: 23-25). Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient and permanent for all who have faith in him. Jesus (the true Tabernacle) gives us access to God and invites us into his very presence.
APPLICATION QUESTION: What comes to mind when you contemplate the incredible gift we have been given to be able to be in the presence of God? How does this truth impact your prayer life and worship?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I come boldly to your throne, confident that you see me not in my sin but covered by the atoning blood of Christ. There I will receive mercy and find grace. I desire to know you more each day and to be continually transformed by your glory.
WORSHIP SONG: Here I am to Worship (Marantha)
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.