In this chapter, we are shown how earnestly the Israelites set to work on the Lord’s Tabernacle. All the offerings for the project were brought to Moses, who distributed them to Bezaleel and Aholiab and his helpers. What a noble and generous spirit filled the people! When they were told that they might bring an offering to the Lord, they rejoiced in the chance that was given them; and each person thought only about how much he was able to bring. There was nothing like unwillingness in their hearts. No one asked his friend, “How little will be sufficient, do you think?” People came forward every day and frankly offered the best that they had. And they gave far more than was needed for the project; for we read that Moses was told, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded to make.” How pleasant to read of! These children of Israel were not miserly! When their hearts were touched, they filled their hands very full – just as their descendants did long afterwards, in the days of King David, when they brought him a noble offering for the building of the Temple. But it was the willing heart that gave the true value to the people’s gifts! Few among us have the power to offer costly gifts, like King David and his princes; but all of us can do something, like the Hebrew men and women – for those who had no gold or silver gave brass, and those who had no brass could bring wood or linen or wool. Some could only give oil or spices, and those who had nothing else to give surely offered up their time and labor.
Why were these people so ready to give up the things they valued? It was because their hearts were touched by their God’s forgiving love! He had just pardoned them of their great sin in forsaking Him by making and worshiping a golden calf. How, then, could they ever do enough to show their thankful sense of His mercy? Dear brothers and sisters! As Christians, do we not owe as much to our God as the Hebrews did? In fact, do we not owe a great deal more? We see things clearly that they had only a dim and distant glimpse of. We have the blessed Savior Himself, and the Holy Spirit, made known to us in the Word of God; and they only learned indistinctly about them by means of the Tabernacle and its symbols. Shall we – who have received so much – be content to return little or nothing to Him Who has given us all? It is very simple and easy to answer the question, “How much are we bound to offer to God?” But that is a question which no true Christian would ever ask. The Lord answers it Himself, when He says to each of His sons and daughters, “Give me thine heart!” Wherever the heart goes, all else will want to follow. When our heart belongs to Jesus, we are joined to Him. His cause becomes our cause. His service becomes our delight. In order to help in His work, we will gladly make sacrifices and give up our own pleasures so that we may have a little more to offer to Him Who has loved us “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), and Who has washed us from our sins in His own blood. Ah! When we think that for our sakes, Jesus – Who was so rich in the joy, glory, happiness, and love of heaven – left it all and became poor so that He might make us rich forever, shall we not rejoice that there is anything we can give or do to show how gratefully and how dearly we love Him?
The Tabernacle was basically a tent which was God’s dwelling-place on earth, where He met with His people. He Himself gave Moses the plan and pattern for this sanctuary, which was to be followed with the most perfect exactness. The two sides and one end of the Tabernacle were made of wooden boards that were covered with pure gold, and each board was fitted into two silver sockets. The boards were held together and strengthened by bars of wood, also covered with gold. Over that strong and shining framework, four layers of curtains were spread, which covered it all over and hung down to the ground – except on the front end, where they were looped up to form the entrance. The innermost layer of curtains was made of fine linen, blue, purple, and scarlet; and it had figures of cherubim upon it. Over these was a set of curtains made of goats’ hair. The third covering was made of rams’ skins dyed red; and the outermost of them all was a layer of leather made from badgers’ skins, which protected everything underneath from the harsh elements of the wilderness.
The inside of the sanctuary was divided into two rooms. The front room was called the Holy Place; and the smaller room in the back of the tent was divided from the Holy Place by a very rich veil, and this place was called the Holy of Holies.
Every board, bar, socket, and curtain in the Tabernacle was full of meaning. Each part was intended to teach God’s people some truth about His great plan of redemption and salvation; and it would be a great blessing to the Church in our own day if the Lord’s pattern for this beautiful sanctuary was more thoughtfully studied! Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that the Tabernacle was a picture – drawn by the Holy Spirit – of Jesus’ Person and work. Let us seek for His help to make it plain to the eyes of our understanding!
Lord, as we behold the readiness of the Israelites to bring their offerings unto You, we seek grace so that we may also bring You all that we have; for Jesus has brought us near to You by His blood and righteousness. O precious Savior! You are indeed the true Tabernacle and Hiding-Place of our souls! Be our All in all until that happy day when You shall bring us home to Your Temple above. Amen.
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