Friday, February 12, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - February 11 - Cubits and Fillets

We have come to a section of the Old Testament that is probably the equivalent of the "Bermuda Triangle" of daily Bible readers - the details for the construction of the tabernacle! One helpful strategy in reading this section of Exodus is to keep the big picture of the book in mind. Just as you need to see the forest as well as the trees, you also need to see the tabernacle in the context of Exodus as well as the cubits and fillets!

Actually, we have two accounts of the construction of the tabernacle. The first account is the blueprint of the tabernacle (Ex. 25-31), which was apparently modeled for Moses by a vision as well as the verbal instructions (see 25:9, 40). The second account, which is essentially a verbatim duplicate of the first, recounts the actual construction (Ex. 35-40).

There are a couple of "big picture" concepts to keep in mind. First, try to spot similarities between the account of creation in Genesis 1-2 with the account of the construction of the tabernacle. One obvious similarity is that the instructions regarding the blueprint conclude with a reiteration of the Sabbath command (Ex. 31:12-17), just as the week of creation concluded with a reference to God's Sabbath (Gen. 2:1-3). Second, notice that wedged in between the blueprint for the tabernacle and the construction of the tabernacle is the horrible episode of idolatry at Mount Sinai (Ex. 32-34). Perhaps one reason God chose to reveal the language of the tabernacle's construction in language that duplicated the instructions is to highlight Israel's obedience to His law, down to the letter. They had learned their lesson in the aftermath of the golden calf incident.

When we get to Exodus 35-40 I will say more about the design of the tabernacle. In the meantime, imagine what it must have been like for Moses to see heavenly models of the tabernacle and its furniture! And even more awesome - imagine what it will be like to dwell forever as God makes His tabernacle among us (Rev. 21:3)!

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