Why So Elaborate?
In Exodus chapters 25-30 God gives instructions on how to build the tabernacle and the different pieces of furniture that were to be in the tabernacle. The tabernacle symbolized the presence of God. It would be set up when the Israelites camped and then when they would move on, it would be disassembled, carried to the new place, and reassembled. God gives some very specific instructions as to how the tabernacle and pieces of it were to be constructed; listing specific colors, materials and dimensions. Why?
Some have speculated that since this was the symbolic place where God dwells then it needed to be spectacular in appearance. Maybe, but I’m not so sure. Perhaps this is why so many Western church building and cathedrals are so big and ornate…but now many of them are empty and ineffective. Others have said that the tabernacle points to the person of Jesus and the pieces of furniture, colors and design represent Christ. This is an interesting idea but the Bible never states that this was the purpose, either in the Old or New Testament. I sort of think it’s best to just not think too much about it, except for the word “obedience”.
God wanted His people to obey. In yesterday’s post we mentioned that God didn’t want any cut stones to be used for an altar. Yet, in the tabernacle there was much human effort required to complete the task. Is it OK for me and you to simply say, “I don’t know”, and follow anyway? Are there not many times when God does something or says something that we cannot be completely clear about the reasoning? This is true all of the time in my life. But God did give clear instructions about how to build the tabernacle, the Israelites did it and it worked out fine. Whatever God says to do, do it. This doesn’t preclude questioning and discussion, but don’t let debate/discussion keep you from doing what God says.