Day 22

Instructions for the Tabernacle



Exodus 26:1-37, Genesis 3:24, Hebrews 9:6-14

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Exodus 26:1-37, Genesis 3:24, Hebrews 9:6-14

Why does Exodus include the building blueprints for a tent?

This is a question worth asking, because the “tabernacle”—a portable tent that would serve as God’s dwelling place—seems like only an artifact of history. Thousands of years later, we no longer need a tabernacle or temple in order to connect with God. Instead, God has come near to each and every one of us. Through Christ, we have unlimited access to Him.

So, why does Scripture include these instructions, which may seem a bit obsolete?

While it might be tempting to skim over this passage as a relic of a bygone era, we would miss something important if we did. The truth is, Exodus does not simply contain the blueprint of a historical artifact; it contains the blueprint of history.

Within the instructions for building the tabernacle, we discover tiny clues pointing to God’s plan for humankind, a plan for redemption. One of the clues that foreshadows this unfolding is the inclusion of “cherubim” in the design. The curtains were to depict images of these heavenly beings, who had made only one other appearance in the Old Testament: the garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:24, “cherubim” were stationed outside the garden to prevent people from ever re-entering it.

The garden of Eden was the last time in history when God and humans dwelt together. Because of sin, that intimacy and fellowship was disrupted. But God had a plan to repair it, and the tabernacle was a part of that plan. By including cherubim in His design for the tabernacle, God was hinting in a particular direction. He was, in short, reversing the fall. He was restoring our broken relationship, and allowing us to enter His presence once again.

In his writings on the tabernacle, theologian N.T. Wright refers to this as a “signpost.” The tabernacle was pointing to the temple, and the temple was pointing to Jesus, who would eventually “tabernacle” among us (John 1:14). In other words, the tabernacle was a foretaste of “God come near,” and a foreshadowing of God’s restoration of creation.

All of that is tucked into these seemingly obscure instructions for the tabernacle. They belong to the great arc of redemption, which God had only begun to unveil. All along, God was orchestrating a cosmic reversal to overcome the consequences of our sin, and He left all sorts of bread crumbs along the way.

Woven into these instructions was a plan to save the world, but the instructions tell us something else too. They tell us about God’s character. The God of the tabernacle is a sovereign God, a faithful God, a God of resurrection, who is working all things together for His will (Romans 8:28). He is a God who wrote redemption into the seemingly mundane details and instructions for the building of the tabernacle, and we can trust He is doing the same in our lives today.

SRT-Lent2018-Instagram-Day22

Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

Post Comments (71)

71 thoughts on "Instructions for the Tabernacle"

  1. Grammy says:

    Please pray for my son,Andrew, that the Lord Himself would “tabernacle”in the mediation process he is facing today on behalf of his children. Our heart’s desire is “Thy Will be done” for the best emotionally healthy plan to emerge for his children. Thank you for standing in the gap in prayer!!

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Grammy, we’re praying for your son! Thank you for sharing, we’re so grateful that you’re here. -Margot, The SRT Team

  2. Lisa A Olsen says:

    So many details that I would not see the significance fully on my own – thankful for community and how the Holy Spirit teaches through His word and through others!
    God doesn’t leave a single thing out… such a reminder to trust in His provisions for me. Our God is faithful!

  3. Jo Gistand says:

    I love how the writer pointed out that the mundane areas of scripture are reflective of God’s grace and mercy for His people. I can see how in the mundane areas in our lives , Gods mercy and grace are abound.

  4. Rachel Marshall says:

    I’ll be honest, I totally skimmed over the verses. I thought, ok…lemme skim through and make sure I’m not missing anything important, then I’ll focus on the study portion. How often I likely do that in my day to day moments. I briefly see the “unimportant” details and skim right on past them, not giving a second glance because I feel they don’t matter. But, God is using every second of my life for His kingdom, so what am I missing? I pray that He will open my eyes and heart and help me to focus more on what He has laid before me, as mundane as it may seem…it matters to Him, and that’s what is important. I also pray for my mind and soul to slow down long enough for Him to show me what He has, instead of life being a constant routine rush. Who knows? The “meat and potatoes” could be right among the “boring” parts. ❤️

    1. Kari says:

      This is so true Rachel!!!!

  5. Katy says:

    I remember reading Exodus in confirmation classes when younger and thinking every lengthy passage of building the tabernacle was so tedious. I don’t know how I did not notice the purpose until this study. What a profound imagery of how we have constant access to Him no matter what is happening in our life. I so needed to hear the reminder that even in the mundane or troubling moments in my life God is always hinting toward His plan. What an awesome reminder that I don’t need to keep trying to take so much control.

  6. Allison Joy says:

    I had an interesting thought about all the intricate details included in the building of the tabernacle. I wonder if there’s also a reference to man’s imperfection, compared to God’s standard? I can’t help but think that the Israelite, without modern tools and technology, thought, “But we can never make this perfect, according to God’s standards.” And that’s the point. We will mess up, even when working for God. But God gives us Jesus, the only one who worked for God perfectly.

  7. Denise Powers Fabian says:

    It would have been easy to pass over this chapter in Exodus, but how could we ever appreciate the access we have to God if we did not know the history. The cherubim symbol is POWERFUL! And then to read the passage in Hebrews that shows how the sacrifice of God Himself through Jesus, nullified all of this. I am unworthy…

  8. Julie says:

    The beautiful details instructed in the building of the tabernacle pointing to God wanting to redeem and restore our relationship to Him is so lovely to think on. He loves us so much! I am enjoying reading and seeing how the old testament connects to and is revealed in the new testament. These daily readings really keep me accountable for reading my bible. I’m always so amazed how much more thoroughly I read as well as my commitment to follow through in my reading are made more attainable by following along the SRT daily devotions and readings.Thank you SRT for such a great bible study!

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