Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 26, 27 Matthew 25:1-30; Psalms 31:1-8; Proverbs 8:1-11
God gives Moses exact specifications for the building to the Tabernacle today. The Tabernacle was a tent that would serve the same purpose as the future Temple to be built in Jerusalem years later. It would be the place where the people would bring their sacrifices that would be made for the forgiveness of sins. But since the Jews were still wandering in the wilderness at this point they could not build a permanent structure. The Tabernacle would be taken down, carried, and rebuilt each time God moved the Israelites to a new location.
Notice how God gives the specifications for building the Tabernacle from the inside out. That is how He works in our lives. He works on the inside of each of each believer so that we can shine outwardly for the world to see. I think there is quite a bit of symbolism in the materials used and the items built, although I admit it isn’t all apparent to me yet.
One thing I did notice is that creating the entire Tabernacle would take quite some time and require a lot of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen. Once again we see that God uses His people to do His work. We aren’t to just sit idly by taking life as “whatever happens”. We are to be actively involved in building God’s kingdom with the skills that God gives us.
There were quite a number of tasks that required various skills to build the Tabernacle: weaving linen, dying linen, embroidery, goldsmithing, silversmithing, bronze work, tanning, tree chopping, milling, framing, olive pressing, candle making, and probably others. There would also have to be tools built to carry out this work like axes and hammers. And at least a couple of people would have to supervise the entire process. How exciting it must have been for the people to do all this and to learn new skills knowing that they were doing it for God. Whatever we do in life we should do it knowing that we are working for God.
This doesn’t just apply to pastors and people who work in a church. If you are a doctor who are working for God. If you are a teacher you are working for God. If you write software or drive a cab or design bridges you are working for God. I think work is so much more enjoyable when we look at it this way although I can understand how difficult that can be if you don’t like your job. I can say that if you do not like your job perhaps you aren’t using the skills that God has given you. A couple of weeks ago while I was praying God told me that we (people) honor Him when we chase our dreams. Dreams are from God. I believe He wants us to chase after them because it was He who put them on our heart. Perhaps if you don’t like your job you should start chasing after that dream that you thought you could never obtain. If the dream is truly from God He will help you get there.
The Most Holy place referenced in Exodus 26:33 was the “inner room” of the Tabernacle where only the high priest could enter and even then only on one day a year – The Day of Atonement. There was a veil acting as a barrier between the main part of the Tabernacle and this room and when Jesus died on the cross the veil was torn indicating that all people now had access to God, not just the high priest. How cool is that?!
Matthew 25 opens with another parable about being ready for the return of Jesus. In this parable Jesus describes ten bridesmaids who are waiting on the bridegroom. The Jewish custom at the time was for the bridegroom to be “engaged” to his bride and then go away for about a year, returning once he had everything ready for her. He would return unannounced. This parable is describing this part of the wedding where bridesmaids are waiting for his return. Sadly, only some of the bridesmaids are ready. The others have gotten lazy and maybe didn’t believe that he was going to return. When he does return they miss out and are not allowed into the wedding feast. The bridegroom’s response was “I don’t know you”. That was the exact same response Jesus said He would have for some people (Matthew 7). The point is that Jesus is the bridegroom and we are to be ready for His return at any moment.
In the next parable Jesus tells the story of a man who gives his money to three of his servants who are to steward the money until he returns. Two of them turn the money into more money, but one offers the man no return on his investment upon his return. Notice how the man gave different amounts of money to the three servants based on their ability. When he returns the first two servants are judged to be “good and faithful” even though they managed different amounts of money. God is not going to compare us to each other. He is going to compare what we have done with what we were able to do. The issue isn’t exact results, but character (“good” and “faithful”). If we do a good job with what we are given we will get more responsibility. The third servant really didn’t try at all. He wasn’t dishonest or evil. He just didn’t care. He was lazy. Notice that God judges laziness to be a sin.
I think these two parables are related. If we are readily anticipating that Jesus will return then we will be doing what we can with the talents and resources He has given us. We will use our time and money and skills for His purposes, not our own. Anything we do for ourselves while on this earth will all be for naught anyway as it will not last very long. But anything we do for God’s kingdom will last forever because it is eternal.
God sees our troubles and cares about our anguish, Psalm 31 tells us. That should cause us to rejoice (verse 7).
Proverbs 8 warns us to choose wisdom rather than riches (verses 10 – 11). Most people could care less about being wise and building their character. For them it is all about obtaining money and things. But this is not wise. Money and things pass away. But I believe wisdom will last forever. It is something we will take into eternity.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.