Lent 2018: See the Lord's Salvation: Day 38

Furnishing the Courtyard


Today's Text: Exodus 38:1-31, Psalm 51:14-17, Hebrews 10:1-14

Scripture Reading: Exodus 38:1-31, Psalm 51:14-17, Hebrews 10:1-14

My husband and I like to joke that, from 2012 to 2015, we were exiled to the Midwest. In truth, we loved our time in two new states, but our hearts longed to be home in Nashville with our friends and family. But graduate school and a new job took us to Missouri and then Kentucky, and by the time we limped bleary-eyed and empty back to Nashville, by the grace of God and a few new opportunities, we were ready to set down permanent roots.

So we decided to build a house. It took months and a million decisions. (Do you have any idea how much grout is in your house? A lot. And we had to decide the colors of all of it.) But when we finally moved in, we knew we were home. We carefully chose each detail to create what is, to us, our ideal home. The kitchen floors are resilient hardwood, designed to handle two kiddos and a crazy cat. We chose carpet for the stairs so when we run up and down them a hundred times a day, we don’t risk a fall. Thoughtful, intentional, and reflective of our family’s particular brand of chaos—this is our home.

I have a tendency to skim over these pages in Exodus because I’m not sure all of these details really matter. Does knowing that the pots on the altar of the tabernacle were made of bronze really help me draw closer to God?

There are no wasted words in the Word of God; every detail reveals something glorious. Even when the details seem incredibly minor, they matter. There is a rich theology of the building of the tabernacle, and it is woven through these passages about bronze and gold and linen.

The writer of Exodus used the Hebrew word Mishkan, which means “tabernacle” or “dwelling place.” The tabernacle was not just a mobile house of worship where the Israelites could come to offer sacrifices to God; it was the literal dwelling place of the Lord among His people. And so, unlike the half-dozen different shades of grout for my new house, every detail of building the tabernacle really matters. Every detail reveals its holy purpose. Thoughtful, intentional, reflective of God’s glory and His promise to dwell among his people—the tabernacle was God’s home.

The Israelites built the tabernacle with bronze, silver, and gold. The outer areas were bronze, and the holy of holies (where God Himself dwells) was constructed of gold, the most precious of metals. God’s holiness was evident at every turn, drawing His people to Him.

Eventually, God would come to dwell with His people in flesh and bone. John 1 tells us that the Word would become flesh and tabernacle (dwell) among us (vv. 1-2)—a far more precious thing in His sight than even the most valuable metals and cloths.

From the garden of Eden to the tabernacle in the desert, from Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem to the flesh and blood of Jesus, from our modern sanctuaries to the promised new heaven and new earth—God’s desire to dwell among His people is clear. It is His heart’s desire. May it be ours as well.


Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing, and reading in Nashville, Tennessee. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables. She writes online at www.melanie-rainer.com.

  • Peony Noirr


  • Diane Huntsman

    My skimming reveals something about me id rather not own.. If the words (in the Word) are not giving “me” something for “me” I discount their importance… I get lost in the details.. because I even read the Bible with a selfish bent.. “what’s in your word today for me, God? How can You make me feel good?” It’s true.. so this entire lent read has been challenging for me to not skim! Glad I am able to see what my real issue is as we come to a close this week.. may I read with a different perspective the rest of our time in this reflective and vitally important time in history.. no more skimming!

    • Kim Davila

      Wow. Amen. Thank you for that. I was just talking to my husband today about how I’m finding it hard to connect to God thru Exodus but it’s because I’ve been reading for instructions for MYSELF rather than to simply learn about Him. Thank you for bringing that to light for me too.

  • Rochelle Holman

    Love that God cares about the details!

  • Stephanie Platt

    As a general manager/owner of a remodeling company, I just made a connection to these passages and what I do on a daily basis. The details, although sometimes boring, really do make the difference in what is being created. I get lost/discouraged sometimes in all of what we do because it can be overwhelming and unappreciated, but reading this and making the connection has made me see things in a new light. ♥️

  • Hey there friends! This is unrelated to todays reading, but I need prayer and I figured that this is the place to be for prayers! I wrote a few weeks ago that I had a job interview for a job that I really want! Anyway, my application is still pending and I know that it could be May before I hear back. Being in the waiting and trusting period has been really hard and I’m starting lose hope. Would you please pray that I would hear back soon and that I would be offered a position soon? It would be a huge weight off my shoulders!

    • Dorothy

      I will be praying for you Sydney, I have been in your shoes and know how hard the waiting game is. Rest assured if God want’s you to have this job and this is where you are meant to be then you will get. Remember that God brings about things in His time not ours. God bless you.

    • Irina

      Praying that you have a patience to wait until it is His time to call you for a job and a new position. ❤

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing Sydney. We’re praying for you during this time! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • kathryn macleod

    I am from the land of Anne of Green Gables!

  • Michelle C

    What an amazing thought that God DWELLS with us. Amen!

  • Sarah Wohlgamuth

    I kinda chuckled because I realized that the OT tabernacle was God’s House..so we can get a taste of His style, the way He prefers certain metals over others, certain linens and colors. How she likes His house organized and clean, but allows it to be messy in the midst of sacrifice, as well. Kinda sounds like how He likes His NT tabernacles (us!). He prefers us, for us to take care of ourselves inside and out, and doesn’t mind the mess when it happens. What a sigh of relief!

  • No detail is wasted on God. This is true of the Tabernacle and of my life as well. I wonder about the purpose of many things in my life. It helps to remember that God plants purpose in all the details.

  • Thank you, Lord, that you are a God who dwells with us.

  • In a collision of time, God worked out that I would be nearing the end of Beth Moore’s study on the tabernacle, reading through Exodus in my Bible-in-year, starting Nancy Guthrie’s study of the Pentateuch and doing this Lent study all in close proximity, if not literally in the same chapters some days. The richness that God brought and is still bringing….amazing. What a blessing!!

    • Deborah Craytor

      Isn’t it amazing when multiple, apparently unrelated studies support each other? I’m studying Hosea in addition to Exodus and had to note the similarity between Psalm 51:16 and Hosea 6:6: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

    • Gina Glennon

      Ah yes, God is so very in the details of our lives. Praise God!!

  • Bridget Sabbath

    I was thinking along the same lines as the reflection author. It is really easy to get a little bored with the repetitive nature of building the tabernacle. But if it’s repeated, it’s important! God would be dwelling there! It makes me question if I prepare my heart in such glory and detail to honor the dwelling of the Holy Spirit? Am I seeking God fervently and dedicated to learning Scripture? There are so many more ways I can make my heart a more holy dwelling for the Lord.

  • Leigh AnneAkey

    It is because of the details that He is God. He knows everything about us and wanted to teach us how to trust Him for even the small things. His plan for our life is greater than we could imagine. Rejoice in all things today!

  • Heather Shores

    I turned on the audio to the exodus passages to help me get through. It helped me to take a step back and see the Hebrew people wanted to give their best to the dwelling place of God. Then psalms made me smile. I’d like my broken spirit to be a sacrifice to him. I’m not sure what that looks like. I’ve never looked at it deeply like this.

  • Kelly Chataine

    God is in the details and cares about the details.
    God took no pleasure in the burnt offerings and sin offerings but they had to happen because of sin.
    God yearns to dwell among His people.

  • I have loved the Hebrews readings that parallel and complete the Exodus passages. “For by a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified!!!”Hebrews 10:14. He has perfected for all time!!! Even though we are being sanctified and will be sanctified throughout our whole lives, in the heavenly realms, in God’s eyes- we are already perfected for all time. What good news! We can rest in and rejoice in Christ’s finished work, who has accomplished what we could never accomplish for ourselves, and who has secured favor with God- not because of works so that no man can boast- but because he is Jesus, the eternal pleasing, beloved Son.

  • Jessica McCreary

    I can agree that I’ve skimmed these pages previously as well. Today put it into perspective of why it’s important to take time to read the details. Thankful for these details today and forever! ❤️

  • Thank you for this lesson today! Reading about how intricately built these structures were points to a God who is keenly interested in the minute details of our lives, even though we often think they don’t matter. If we’re going through something, no matter how minor, God is interested and wants us to know He loves us and wants to be with us. I especially love the verse in Psalm 51:17, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, God will not despise.”

  • Churchmouse

    May I be as intentional about my home being dedicated for God’s purpose as was the tabernacle. May I, within whom His Spirit dwells, be intentional about sharing His love, His good news, as I tabernacle in my city today. Amen.

    • Deborah Craytor

      Amen! Churchmouse, your posts are the ones I look for every morning; I so love both your insight and your way of expressing the truths of Scripture. I spent most of yesterday Bible journaling based on your statement that our world is not falling apart – it’s falling into place. Thank you for being such a comfort and inspiration in my efforts to draw closer to God.

    • Heather N (MNmomma)


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