First, the Presence

Many chapters in the book of Exodus are concerned with the making of the tabernacle in the wilderness, both God’s detailed instructions for it and the people’s detailed following of those instructions. It’s tempting to just pass over these chapters as unimportant. But sometimes God stores a treasure in the midst of the monotony, maybe just to see if we’re looking.

There were many articles and utensils and furnishings made for the tabernacle. Once the tabernacle itself was erected, those things just needed to be put in their place inside the tabernacle. But God was very particular even about this. Here are His instructions to Moses:

Exodus 40:1-3 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, and partition off the ark with the veil.

It can be easy to pass over this as just another item in a detailed to-do list. But I think it speaks to us something that is so important to the heart of God….first, the Presence.

The ark of the testimony is the place of meeting between God and man (Exodus 25:22). So while all the other things in the tabernacle are about religious service, the ark is about intimacy. And intimacy must come first for it is the fuel for our religious service. Many time we get this backwards, zealous about our spiritual disciplines but never really getting to Him….which seems to be a time tested recipe for Pharisee making.

Believer, we are the dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22) We are the tabernacle. He abides in you and empowers you for service in the kingdom, and this is so important to Him. But His priority for your life has not changed….first, the Presence.

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28

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