The Mercy Seat
Gracious God and Father, I come to You today simply to be with You, worship You and learn from You.
Read EXODUS 25:1-22
 The LORD said to Moses,  “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.  These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze;  blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair;  ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood;  olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense;  and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.  “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.  “Have them make a chest of acacia wood-two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.  Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it.  Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.  Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.  Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it.  The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed.  Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.  “Make an atonement cover of pure gold-two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.  And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.  Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends.  The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover.  Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.  There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWho does God expect to bring him an offering?
The instructions for construction of the sanctuary are precise. No explanation is offered as to why all has to be just so. It is enough that God requires total obedience to his master plan. Indeed, could it be that the obedience is actually more important than the numbers of lamps, cherubs and so forth?
In this respect, the God of Israel is as demanding as any of the other “gods” in the locality. However, these verses reveal features of the one true God that set him apart. First, the people are called to worship not the wonderful golden ark but the one who dwells, invisible above it, at the mercy seat. Then this name for the cover of the ark takes us further into God’s true nature. His purpose in setting up the sanctuary is not domination and control. It is so that he might meet with his people and talk to them! And before all that, in v. 2, God himself, rather than demanding the homage which is his right, asks only for offerings of those willing to give.
The truth is that God will not force us to worship and love him. His requirements are clear. Whether we obey is up to us.
Reflect on how you prepare to worship the Lord, whether privately or with others. Are you a willing “giver” and worshiper?
Lord, in light of all You’ve given me, may I be glad and willing to offer You my praise and obedience.
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