The People’s Tabernacle
Holy Spirit, give me insight for my living today from this record of Your people from a time long ago.
Read Exodus 38:1-31
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.
Do others see the living Christ through the symbols and realities of your corporate and personal worship? It should be so.
Few of us take delight in the details of designing and erecting a building; most of us are glad to pay professionals to take care of them. But threaded through today’s reading is a reminder that the tabernacle was built by and for the people.
The first hint of it comes with the altar of burnt offering (1-7). The burnt offering, even though voluntary, was the most basic sacrifice in Israel, offered more than any other. It was presented daily as a community offering, implicating every person in Israel in what it signified. In this offering, the meat was completely burned up, denoting that those who brought it belonged wholly and without reserve to God. It epitomized Israel’s basic identity. More obviously, the tabernacle would not have been built except for the people’s involvement in the project. The “ministering women who ministered in the entrance of the tent of meeting” (8, ESV) seem to have been a women’s guild that served either practically or by singing and dancing. They gave their metal mirrors to make the great washbasin. The three-man team (21-23) who are named led countless others who worked alongside them. Huge amounts of gold, silver and bronze were “obtained from those” aged 20 plus, “who were counted in the census,” amounting to over six hundred thousand men (25,26).
Here is a picture of the church as it should be. Although a few have a special responsibility to take a lead, the church is not built by them but by every member being totally dedicated to Christ, playing their part, using their gifts and contributing, financially and in other ways, to the church’s growth. In some places the church is weak because the members have become spectators who leave everything to the few.
Rick Warren wrote, “Too many Christians use the church but don’t love it.” Israel loved the tabernacle, as their actions showed. How do you show love for the church today?
Lord, I am challenged by the obedience of Moses and the people as they followed the detailed instructions to build the Tabernacle. Motivate me to be as obedient to You.
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