Furnishing the Courtyard

Open Your Bible

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 three 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. 

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30 thoughts on "Furnishing the Courtyard"

  1. Cathie Moynihan says:

    Gf has always wanted to “tabernacle” with His people: in the garden, in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the actual tabernacle and then the temple, in Jesus, in the church and finally in the kingdom! How amazing that our God loves us so much that He wants to dwell with us!

  2. Michelle Patire says:

    Dorothy — praising God He is working it all out!

  3. Michelle Patire says:

    @Kelly Neo @Angie Mills @Kristen — love your insights. It seems verse 8 about the women and their mirrors stands out to all of us. How beautiful it is that their were women who worshipped this way. What a breath of fresh air in Exodus. I can sometimes feel so sad that Israel was so rebellious. It blesses me to know people worshipped this way.

    @Rebecca Fuller– my heart jumped at your comment. the Lord is putting me in a place of transition as well where I will be moving in the near future. I want to pray for you.

    God, what a beautiful desire Rebecca has to find community. I know Lord You WILL bless her heart’s desire to find it. Please lead her and light the path towards whom You are calling her to. Let her not worry but trust You to bring her into a safe and loving group of people. I know Lord You bless our obedience. I pray Your peace over her and joy overflowing, in Jesus’s name!

  4. Dorothy says:

    All of the beauty, wealth and fame CANNOT MATCH the love the Lord, my God has for me/us. All He asks in return is for us to believe, have faith and love those around us. Sometimes those are hard things to do, or so we think, but are they REALLY all that hard to do? Yes, I believe, with all my heart I believe and nothing anyone would say would change that. My faith is strong, sometimes stronger than others, but my faith will not waiver. Love those around us, this is the one I have the most difficulty with. When someone has wronged me sometimes it is hard for me to forgive them; then when I do, I have a hard time forgetting about the wrong they did to me a lot of the time. Lord help to work on this, help me to forgive AND forget. AMEN.

    Update on my sister, she will be coming home Friday. She got an apartment closer to mine so I will be able to check on her more frequently. Also, good friend of my niece’s (whose a realtor and fixes up houses) bought my sisters house so she has until the middle of November to get out of it. PRAISE THE LORD. Our angels — my niece, my son, and my brother-in-law — have been watching over us.

    Sisters, be blessed and SHOUT PRAISES TO THE LORD!!!!

  5. Rebecca Fuller says:

    Hello fellow SHES! I’ve been away from the SRT community for the past few months, but am eager to jump back in and feel like I belong to this community. I’ve moved and am starting a new job soon (teaching) and desperately need to form new and healthy routines. Being part of the SRT community can hopefully bring a sense of peace and belonging, as well as getting connected to a local church. Anyways, I’d appreciate prayer in this season of change and transition, and I’ll be praying for all of you, that God would provide for your needs through Christ Jesus our Lord. He loves you!

  6. Lynnette Golden says:

    Details! They seem overwhelming but this same God of the details knows every thing about me and you! How incredibly awesome is that!!!

  7. Shana Fields says:

    I spent most of the summer studying Numbers for the first time in a long time. I didn’t realize it was basically an extension of Exodus – what came next until they finally got to go to the Promised Land. In that book, there is a lot of space given to describing how the tabernacle moved – the order the tribes moved in, which tribes carried which parts of the tabernacle, etc. I feel like these descriptions in Exodus help me understand more of what all they had to carry and move. And at the same time, that each part was important to God.

  8. Traci Gendron says:

    KELLY NEO – Thank you for pointing this out about the mirrors. I missed it.
    KRISTEN – Your comment that some are so focused on looking at themselves that they fail to look at Jesus. WOW so good!
    ANGIE MILLS – Thank you for looking up the names and sharing with us.

    In the devotional Melanie wrote that the tabernacle was God’s home. That brought it all into a new light for me. All these details that I want to skim over. When we built our house, the details were all so important to me. Melanie also wrote that God’s desire to dwell among His people is clear. It is His hearts desire. Such love our Father shows us. It’s amazing. Help my Lord to always dwell in your word and presence.

    Yesterday someone shared with me Bill Johnsons sermon after his wife died. So many good tidbits in there! The backslider in heart will always judge God by what He didn’t do.
    Laughter with tears makes a wonderful rainbow. Mourning will either take you to the comforter or to unbelief. Answers won’t fix the problem. Presence will. Since we are surrounded by those who have gone before us and they are now forever with the Lord, those heroes are actually like a cloud surrounding us and since this is absolutely true, we need to live a certain way. Holiness and endurance. My passion for holiness and my longevity and ability to endure tough situations is usually equal to my awareness to my eternity. If you remember this you won’t make stupid choices.