The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. 3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; 4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair;5 ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
- Before the Israelites left Egypt, they plundered the people (Exodus 12:33-36). Also, they probably had quite the pillage from when they defeated the Amalekites in Exodus 17. The Lord had given them favor and blessed them with much, and now the Lord was asking them to give an offering. Notice the Lord didn’t state a certain percent or number, but simply said, “…receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 tells us, “But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this giving of grace.”
- Notice how in verse 9, God wanted the tabernacle (or tent) and its furnishing to be made exactly as He showed Moses. This is because the tabernacle was an earthly representation of heaven (Hebrews 9:23), just like Christ is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3) who came in earthly form to save mankind.
10 “Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. 16 Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.
- There were seven pieces of furniture to reside in the tabernacle and the ark is the first one mentioned. It was made of acacia wood, which is a thorny tree (“…and then they twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head.” Matthew 27:29) that is known for its strong fragrance (“…Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3).
- The ark teaches us about Christ. It was made of wood, which represented His humanity, and was covered in gold, which signified His divine nature. The ark contained the covenant law, which Christ fulfilled through the sacrifice of Himself unto God (Hebrews 10:5-9).
17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.
- The Ark was 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. The golden atonement cover had two cherubim on them, facing each other, and between the wings is where God’s (shekinah) glory rested – the “mercy seat.” Once a year, the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies (where the Ark of the Covenant resided) and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat to make atonement for the sins of Israel (for one year).
23 “Make a table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high.24 Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it. 25 Also make around it a rim a handbreadth wide and put a gold molding on the rim. 26 Make four gold rings for the table and fasten them to the four corners, where the four legs are. 27 The rings are to be close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table. 28 Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them. 29 And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. 30 Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
- The table was three feet long, one and a half feet wide, and 27 inches high. Like the Ark, it was made of acacia and covered in gold – again, representing Christ’s humanity and deity. The table represented the intimate fellowship we are to have with Jesus. Christ is the Bread of Life (John 6:26-27) and we are to fellowship with Him. As it says in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
- The break of the Presence, or the “showbread” literally means “bread of faces.” There were twelve loaves of bread and they were on the table to remind the priests who entered that they were there to serve the people of Israel. We, too, are priests in His kingdom. Revelation 1:5-6 tells us, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” We are His priests! Each day as we get up and fellowship with Him and eat of His Bread of Life (the Word of God), may we remember that we are here on this earth to serve the people. Amen!
31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.
- I love the lampstand. My favorite verse is Matthew 5:14, which says, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Friends, we are to be His light; His flagstaff on a mountaintop (Isaiah 30:17b). Just as the lampstand was to have the decorative buds and blossoms, we are meant to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). Be bright and blossoming today!
- In Revelation 1:9-20, it talks of the seven golden lampstands, which speaks of the seven Gentile churches Christ was addressing. This lampstand in the tabernacle represented the nation of Israel and the light they were to be to the world. Whether a Gentile light or a Jewish light, we must have fuel in order to shine brightly. What fuel do you use to get through your day? Is it the oil of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) who empowers you to shine, or do you try to create your own oil? Maybe you diminish the light in your life because you have baskets you put over that light. I love baskets – I have lots of them I decorate with around my house because they are functional and unique. You can take a lot of different junk and put it in a basket with a lid and the junk just disappears! But, God doesn’t want us to “basket-ize” our life. He wants us to let His light shine freely to those around us. Take some time now to allow God to show you what baskets are hindering your life. Maybe it’s the basket of busyness, or the career basket, or the baby basket. Regardless, it doesn’t need to be covering up His light. Get your oil from the Holy Spirit, through communing at the table with Christ, and praise Him who sits on the throne of mercy and grace! Amen.