Building the Tabernacle



Exodus 36:1-38, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 9:23-29

BY Matt Redmond

Reading about the building materials of the tabernacle can be more than a little intimidating. If you are anything like me, your eyes will glide over the pages with not one word penetrating your brain; you skim just enough to credit yourself with that day’s reading. I often find these sections harder to read than the ones that are theologically challenging to understand.

But there is something more here, something with the aroma of grace.

“So Moses gave the command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, ‘Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.’ So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more” (Exodus 36:6-7).

A call had gone out to all the people of Israel for contributions to the building of the tabernacle. And they kept coming. People were bringing the contributions of their own free will. They brought more than enough, more than was actually needed. There was a surplus to the point where Moses basically said, “Whoa, that is enough. No need to bring anymore!”

What does the power of grace look like? What does it looks like to believe God when He makes a promise? What does trust in a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God look like when it is taken seriously by those who worship Him? What happens when we have beheld the glory of the Lord?

Well, what did it look like in Israel? In chapter 35, Moses calls them to give to the building of the tabernacle, and in chapter 36, we see that they did give, to the point of having more than was necessary.

More often than not, when I think of “giving up something” for God, it is something bad, some habit or sin that I should not be doing. But these people gave up their valuables because they saw Him deliver and provide for them. They saw His glory reflected on the face of Moses. They knew the covenant-keeping God, and they knew His worth.

And yet we have seen and experienced even more. Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, says that Christians have actually seen even more glory than the Israelites and Moses saw. We have seen the glory of Jesus in His birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension (2 Corinthians 3:7-18).

So the question remains: What happens when we have beheld the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? We are free to let go of the sin that so easily entangles us, and take hold of the blessings and provision He has given us (Hebrews 12:1).

Written by Matthew B. Redmond

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2 thoughts on "Building the Tabernacle"

  1. R. N. says:

    There is something fascinating about the economics here. Stop to consider, what are the Israelites doing in the desert to support themselves? Are they making things and selling them to each other? Are they cultivating fields? What are they doing? Well, let’s stop to think about manna and quail, about nomads and agriculture. This is a people blessed by God, their physical needs supplied (I’ve seen estimates that pre-Industrial Revolution, food preparation for a family of six took eighteen hours a day!) and even so, God says that their generosity is enough. We must consider how great and gracious God is, to supply us with all thing and demand so little in return.

  2. Epp.ic says:

    Too often, I have a poverty mentality when it comes to what I need! I feel as though I need to ask God for the bare minimum in order to get me by, and I fail to realize that he’s offering me so much more than what I am able to enjoy!

    “The materials were sufficient for them to do all of the work. There was more than enough.”

    Jesus, help me to see today, that the materials you’ve provided my life are more than sufficient for me to do all the work! Help me to identify where you have given freely of your goodness, and to experience the beauty of your bounty! God, I am in need of your provision, but not the skimpy food stamps that I anticipate, I am in need of receiving the fullness of your treasures, the greatness of your abundance, the joy of your hope and love and grace again in my life! Please meet me where I am, and engage my heart with your generosity, that I may have faith to receive!

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