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
Matthew 26:7 “a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.”
Right up in the middle of everybody
They didn’t like it
It wasn’t proper
She didn’t care
He was worth it
Those who waited for the “proper” time had no opportunity to anoint Him, for He was already risen. (Luke 24:1-3)
She may not have understood the significance of what she did. But she was one who sat at His feet, learning Him, loving Him….and so when her heart was moved within her, she was unashamed to worship Him.
May we learn a lesson from her.
If you listen to much Christian media, you will almost certainly come to the conclusion that these are the days Paul warned about when he said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4
It’s frightening how much false doctrine and questionable teaching there is out there. Many times I listen to a sermon over Christian radio and the content sounds eerily similar to a self-help book.
This morning in my Bible reading, I read the following in Jeremiah 23:21-22: “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”
And then in verse 29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
What a sacred trust it is to be one who speaks to God’s people on His behalf. Oh that the Lord would flood our pulpits with messages aflame with fire from heaven that will turn us back to Him. Lord, give us men who will stand in Your counsel until they have received a real word from God.
But how shall we respond to such a word? Are our hearts tender and bendable before Him? Are we open to the searching work of His Spirit as the Word is preached? Oh God, let the fire of Your word burn away the dross. Let the hammer of Your word pound away the hardness of our hearts.
Send us a real word, real repentance and make us real disciples.