THE GOD WHO NEVER SLEEPS
Patient Father, sometimes I am petulant and the next moment I am praising You. I need Your special grace to keep me focused on You.
Read Exodus 27:1–21
The Altar of Burnt Offering
27 “Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits[a] high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide.[b] 2 Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. 3 Make all its utensils of bronze—its pots to remove the ashes, and its shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4 Make a grating for it, a bronze network, and make a bronze ring at each of the four corners of the network. 5 Put it under the ledge of the altar so that it is halfway up the altar. 6 Make poles of acacia wood for the altar and overlay them with bronze. 7 The poles are to be inserted into the rings so they will be on two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8 Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.
9 “Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits[c] long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, 10 with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11 The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts.
12 “The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits[d] wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east end, toward the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide. 14 Curtains fifteen cubits[e] long are to be on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15 and curtains fifteen cubits long are to be on the other side, with three posts and three bases.
16 “For the entrance to the courtyard, provide a curtain twenty cubits[f] long, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer—with four posts and four bases. 17 All the posts around the courtyard are to have silver bands and hooks, and bronze bases. 18 The courtyard shall be a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide,[g] with curtains of finely twisted linen five cubits[h] high, and with bronze bases. 19 All the other articles used in the service of the tabernacle, whatever their function, including all the tent pegs for it and those for the courtyard, are to be of bronze.
Oil for the Lampstand
20 “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.
- Exodus 27:1 That is, about 4 1/2 feet or about 1.4 meters
- Exodus 27:1 That is, about 7 1/2 feet or about 2.3 meters long and wide
- Exodus 27:9 That is, about 150 feet or about 45 meters; also in verse 11
- Exodus 27:12 That is, about 75 feet or about 23 meters; also in verse 13
- Exodus 27:14 That is, about 23 feet or about 6.8 meters; also in verse 15
- Exodus 27:16 That is, about 30 feet or about 9 meters
- Exodus 27:18 That is, about 150 feet long and 75 feet wide or about 45 meters long and 23 meters wide
- Exodus 27:18 That is, about 7 1/2 feet or about 2.3 meters
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectFlick back through the recent notes in Exodus. Remember the two big questions that we started with: ‘What kind of God?’ and ‘Who are we as God’s people?’ What answers have you seen? Talk to God about them.
We have been following the instructions for the building of God’s ‘home’. The instructions have been given from the inside out, starting with the ark in the holiest place (25:10–22), then the table, lampstand, and the tent itself (chapter 26). In today’s readings the structure is complete as we finally move to the outer courtyard (vs 9–19) in which there is to be an altar (vs 1–8).
For the first time (though not the last), the structure is described as ‘the tent of meeting’ (v 21). The Israelites were to know that their God was not someone they ‘believed in’, but someone they met with. When they worshipped in the tabernacle, they were in a place of encounter. Oh, that we would remember that when we go to our places of worship!
The final instructions that a light should be always burning (v 21) would remind Israel that God never sleeps, never slips into darkness (with all that this might represent). The God who leads them (and us) is awake, alert, and always approachable!
Some people find it helpful to have physical reminders of God’s presence, like the tabernacle was for Israel. Such reminders might include wearing a small cross, a special image on your screen saver, or a Bible on your desk. Might you find something like that valuable?
Lord, may I never forget that when I reach rock bottom, I am steadied by You, the Rock of Ages.
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