PREPARATION TO BUILD
Scripture: Exodus 25:1-9, Exodus 35:1-10, Exodus 35:20-36:7
Besides providing a place of worship the great purpose of God in the Tabernacle was to illustrate to Israel the principles of approach to and communion with a holy God — an OT gospel revelation of Christ and His saving work. The two must always go together!
The plan and purpose of God had been revealed to Moses from Heaven by the Lord, Exodus 25:9. Now that plan must be put into action and the Divine purpose realised. It has often pleased God to incorporate in His purpose some element of human activity. He does not NEED men to accomplish His desires but when working among men is most often pleased to use human activity to carry through His plans.
It is very striking to observe that it is only now that the plans for the Tabernacle revealed during Moses’ first trip to Sinai, are being acted upon. The episode of idolatry with the golden calf delayed the implementation of these plans by at least a further 80 days!
The raising of the Tabernacle meant the involvement of the men and women of Israel—those who had sinned. Praise God it is through the feeble labours of the imperfect that God accomplishes His purpose in the earth. The involvement of men in the carrying through of the plans of God is seen here in several ways.
I THE OFFERINGS OF THE PEOPLE.
The Tabernacle was to be a place of common ground between God and man:
- a place of public communion with God, i.e. worship.
- a presentation of the ministry of Christ as the saving link between God and man.
1. To accomplish these ends a sacrifice was required from the people. Those who desire to benefit from meeting with God and to have Christ in His saving ministry presented must be ready to make certain sacrifices. The raw materials for the Tabernacle were provided by the giving of the people of Israel — by the command of God, Exodus 25:1-2! This was not the command of Moses. It became their duty before God to provide all that was necessary to raise the Tabernacle among them. All the materials necessary to the construction of this Tabernacle were prescribed by God and provided by the people.
2. God’s command was specific in relation to — materials, colours, amounts. A specific instance of the regulating command of God is seen in relation to the silver used — Exodus 30:11-14, Exodus 38:25-28. The command of God regulates the basis of communion with Himself, and the presentation of Christ to men in specific detail! Obedience down to the details is required.
3. The duty that God laid upon these people was to be willingly engaged in, Exodus 25:2, Exodus 35:5. They were to willingly and gladly bear the necessary cost. Cp 2 Corinthians 9:7. Their giving is described as an offering, Exodus 25:2 — specifically the term for a heave offering is used; See Exodus 35:22, offering—the term for a wave offering is used here. Both these offerings were subsets of the peace offering and therefore were offerings connected with peaceful communion with God:
a) Giving these offerings was a duty that was necessary if such peace/communion was to be enjoyed;
b) The offerings were no doubt given in gratitude for such fellowship with God. A sense of God’s mercy in meeting with us always produces a sacrificial spirit among His people!
4. The source of many of these materials was the spoil of Egypt. They gave to the Lord from what He had graciously given them, Exodus 3:22. All they had as ransomed slaves had been given them by the Lord. Giving to His cause was not such a great thing in this light. The response of the people is given, Exodus 35:21-22, Exodus 36:3, 5-7. Both men and women, rulers and the ordinary people came with heart and soul to give to the Lord. They willingly embraced the command of God and obeyed it.
5. Sacrificial, commanded, and yet willing giving to God, is always necessary if man is to enjoy the communion with God that the Tabernacle pictures.
a) In a wonderful sense this is seen even in relation to Christ — in the provision of an earthly tabernacle for the Son of God to tabernacle (John 1:14—verb = root of ‘tabernacle’ as used in Hebrews 8:5 for example) in here on earth — a body hast thou prepared me (Hebrews 10:5) — sacrifice was required from Mary — the one chosen by God for the task. Yet she willingly assented to the command of God in this matter. The Angel appeared before the conception (Luke 2:21) yet she said, be it unto me according to thy word, (Luke 1:38).
b) The one who would meet God — whether sinner or saint — must come with a heart that is willing to do and sacrifice whatever God requires of him. This is the humble spirit of the penitent. Such a spirit is a necessary ingredient in meeting with God! Cp Isaiah 57:15.
c) The provision of a place of public assembly to meet God is by the willing sacrifices of God’s people. The Tabernacle and all its institutions were maintained by the sacrificial giving of God’s people.
What are we prepared to sacrifice to meet God and to see Christ as He was presented in the Tabernacle? Do we have the spirit of willing, whole-hearted and sacrificial obedience to the commands of God?