Have you ever noticed what precise instructions God gave for the building of the tabernacle? It’s interesting that those tiny details are spelled out so carefully, while other things are hardly explained at all. Not only did God give exact measurements for His dwelling, but He also specified colors and materials, shapes and sizes for all the furnishings. He stipulated what kind of wood should be used, even when it was to be completely covered with gold. When I consider how vague the scriptures are about the appearance of our churches or even our bodies, which are now temples of the Holy Spirit, it makes me wonder why God was so exacting about the features of this tent of worship.
I was meditating on that this morning, marveling at how many, many people were needed to coordinate all those different elements, and I realized something. The 25th chapter of Exodus begins with a list of materials that would be needed for this tabernacle in the wilderness, and the second verse says that these things should come from people who give willingly. God doesn’t need all those things. He has need of nothing–our God is the one who created it all to begin with. But this list of wood and skins and stones and fabric and foods, not to mention the expertise required to put it all together, is quite extensive. Perhaps, though, God didn’t really care about those material things at all, but simply wanted to see his people give from the heart. Perhaps His real goal was to see them work together joyfully to build something for Him.
So many things in the Old Testament are symbols of a truth in the Church Age. Building the tabernacle together was a joyful cooperative effort that unified God’s people. How is that going for us today? Are we focused on building for God, giving with willing hearts, and working together joyfully? Or do we, like the Israelites in later years, become dissatisfied and begin grumbling? Do we try to advance our own pet ideas through outreach programs and building committees rather than keeping the focus on building as God desires?
Let’s give as we can, with willing hearts,
working with God’s people
to build God’s kingdom
for God’s glory!