Our Spiritual Journey Inside the Tabernacle – Part 1: God’s Invitation to Intimacy
I find that the more I study God’s character, the better He gets. He is awesome, holy and righteous, yet loving and patient with us at the same time. He never stops pursuing us; He desires for us to be in His presence continuously, so that He can reveal more and more of Himself to us. The tabernacle in the wilderness described in Exodus is a place where we see this character in God.
Even the offerings in the tabernacle were created because God wanted us to come near to Him. In our Bibles the word is translated “sacrifice.” But in Hebrew the word for those offerings is “corban,” meaning “to come near.”
There are several things that separate mankind from our holy God. But in His mercy, generosity and undying desire to be with his people, God has not only provided a way for us to draw near to him, but He has even provided the things required of us — the things that are required on our part. He provides these things to us in order to remove all the obstacles that keep us apart from Him.
The tabernacle is a physical representation of the spiritual process that God has created for mankind to draw near to Him and for Him to dwell with us. In Exodus 25:8-9 God says,
“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you as a pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so, you shall construct it.”
We also see in this verse that there is a specific pattern God designed for each piece of the tabernacle and its furniture. Each piece was designed with a purpose. There were seven pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, the first was just inside the fence, then each one progressed closer and closer to where the visible glory of God dwelt on the seventh piece of furniture – the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, which is called the mercy seat.
This pattern of furniture in the tabernacle is still the progression we can follow today to be in intimate relationship with God. It’s really a series of gifts He desires to give us. It would be like a Father seeing his son living in desperation and poverty. Then finally one day, the son has just enough minutes left on his cell phone for one last phone call, so he calls his dad. His dad says, “I’m so glad you called me! I have a plane ticket I’ve already purchased for you, I’ll give you a car when you arrive, and I’ve already built a home for you, so that we can live beside each other. I’ll make you a partner in my business and you can share fully in all of my unlimited provisions and in the family inheritance!”
This is what God is offering us, and this is the process that we’re all in as we progress spiritually through the pattern of the tabernacle. It’s a matter of how far we’re willing to go in our relationship with our Father. He’s not going to hit us over the head and demand we accept His gifts. We have to take action to pursue them. To the extent that we’re not accepting God’s full invitation, we’re missing out on those blessings and living separately from Him in those areas.
This 10-part series will look at the furnishings of the tabernacle as God’s invitation to intimacy with Him and how we can accept that invitation into our lives in a way that draws us closer and closer to Him. In our journey we’ll examine:
- The Fence
- The Bronze Altar
- The Bronze Basin
- The Menorah / Lampstand
- The Table of Showbread
- The Altar of Incense
- The Curtain
- The Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat
- The Contents of the Ark
We’ll study each of these in the order that we encounter them inside the tabernacle and how each is God’s invitation and provision for us to draw closer to Him.
Ephesians gives us a preview of many of the spiritual blessings available inside the tabernacle:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Yeshua to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment to gather together in one all things in Yeshua, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…” Ephesians 1:3-14
(Some of the insights shared in this blog series were gleaned from the teachings of Rabbi Kirt Schneider of Discovering the Jewish Jesus.)