Exodus 25 to 40 – The Tabernacle

The passage

The Lord tells Moses what to make in chapters 25-28 and 30. Then Moses tells us what was made in chapters 36-40, in nearly the same words we heard previously.

For example,

(Exo 25:10-12 NIV)  “Have them make a chest 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.

(Exo 37:1-3 NIV)  Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood–two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. {2} He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. {3} He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.

One cannot read the boring passage and notice so much repetition in them. Why is all that necessary?

Matthew Henry in his commentary wrote, “It may be thought strange that Moses, when he had recorded so fully the instructions given him upon the mount for the making of all these things, should here record as particularly the making of them, when it might have sufficed only to have said, in a few words, that each of these things were made exactly according to the directions before recited. We are sure that Moses, when he wrote by divine inspiration, used no vain repetitions; there are no idle words in scripture. Why then are so many chapters taken up with this narrative, which we are tempted to think are needless and tedious?”

Let’s see what we can learn from this boring passage.

The importance to obey exactly the Lord’s instructions

(Exo 25:8-9 NIV)  “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.

(Exo 40:16 NIV)  Moses did everything just as the LORD commanded him.

Matthew Henry in his commentary wrote, “Moses would thus show the great care which he and his workmen took to make every thing exactly according to the pattern shown him in the mount…Thus He teaches us to have respect to all God’s commandments, even to every iota and tittle of them.”

The Bible emphasizes the need to obey ALL of God’s commandments so that we can be successful in all we do.

(Josh 1:8 NIV)  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

We cannot pick and choose which are the commandments we want to obey and which are the ones that are okay to ignore. When we decide to disobey God in certain areas, sin gets a foothold in our life and makes it more difficult for us to obey God in other areas.

The importance the Lord placed in His people fully obeying Him

Matthew Henry wrote, “It is intimated hereby that God takes delight in the sincere obedience of His people, and keeps an exact account of it, which shall be produced to their honour in the resurrection of the just…”

When the Bible records for us every detail of Moses’ compliance with the Lord’s instructions, it tells us that God remembers our every act of obedience to Him.

(Psa 139:2-3 NIV)  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. {3} You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

None of our actions escapes God; certainly none of our good works. Sometimes we do good to others but are not appreciated. Take heart that God knows what we are doing and will reward us.

Enter into the presence of God with an offering

(Exo 29:38-42 NIV)  “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. {39} Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. {40} With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. {41} Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning–a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire. {42} “For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you;

The Israelites approached the dwelling place of God each day with offerings. When Jesus was born, the shepherds also entered into His presence with offerings.

(Rom 12:1 NIV)  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

The wonderful symbolism of the tabernacle is worth repeating

Matthew Henry wrote, “The spiritual riches and beauties of the gospel tabernacle are hereby recommended to our frequent and serious consideration.”

More than 50 chapters in the Old Testament talk about the construction of the tabernacle. In the New Testament, more than 40% of the book of Hebrews also deals with the tabernacle and its implications. If so much resource is devoted to this topic, surely it is of high importance.