Gracious God, keep me alert today as I read Your Word and pray. Enlighten my mind with Your truth and fill my heart with Your love.
Read EXODUS 25:23–40
23 “Make a table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high.[a] 24 Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it. 25 Also make around it a rim a handbreadth[b] wide and put a gold molding on the rim. 26 Make four gold rings for the table and fasten them to the four corners, where the four legs are. 27 The rings are to be close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table. 28 Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them. 29 And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. 30 Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent[c] of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.
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.
The tabernacle is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the reality itself. That reality was Jesus Christ.1
We’re usually fascinated by the exceptional quality of furniture in royal palaces. It denotes wealth, privilege, and majesty. Yet, in reality, it only serves the same purpose as the flat- pack furniture in our own homes. There are tables to eat from, chairs to sit on, lamps to give light and so on. Some of the tabernacle’s furniture seems, from one angle, ordinary, but is made extraordinary by its specifications and the God it serves. The first two items are a dining table, with its dishes (vs 23–30), and a lampstand (vs 31–40). The details are significant. Pure gold points to the luminous purity and brilliant worth of God himself. The six-branched, yet one-piece, lampstand witnesses to the fullness and unity of God enlightening his world. However, don’t let the details distract you from the big picture. The command to set fine, fresh bread before God weekly2 reminded the people of his presence among them, hence its name (v 30). It signaled that the God who fed Israel bread in the wilderness was himself worthy of being served by his people. The lampstand provided light in the darkness for those serving in the tent, since it was unnecessary for God.
Both table and lampstand became symbols frequently replayed throughout Scripture. Ultimately, they point to Jesus ‘the bread of life’3 and ‘the light of the world’.4 He provides daily bread for our physical needs but also much richer food, to be eaten by faith, since ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’.5 Jesus alone satisfies our deepest hunger. Similarly, in a world of great and varied darkness, as Israel knew from the wilderness, how much the light is needed to illuminate the path and dispel the darkness of evil. By embracing the darkness in his own life and, supremely, in his death, Christ alone dispels it.
As Christ’s disciple, how are you practically contributing to overcoming the hunger and darkness of our world, in Christ’s name?
Mighty God, You are my refuge. Surround me with Your light, fill me with Your wisdom, seal me with Your Spirit, and strengthen me with Your power. I love You Lord.
1 This is a variation on Heb 10:1 2 Lev 24:5–9 3 John 6:35 4 John 8:12 5 Matt 4:4, KJV
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.