The Tabernacle and You

April 8, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement | Tags: perfectionism

This past week I finished reading through the book of Exodus. If it wasn’t for my Bible reading plan, I’m not sure what would motivate me to read all of the way through Exodus. The first half is exciting with Moses and God’s miraculous powers displayed in the land of Egypt. Once the Israelites reach Mount Sinai, though, there are a lot of chapters detailing the construction of the Tabernacle and the preparation of the priestly garments. Why did God care so much about all of those intricate details and what difference does it make for Christians today?

A phrase in Exodus 28 caught my attention this time and helped provide perspective as I read through these chapters. The Lord finished his instructions for the Tabernacle in Exodus 27 and then turns his attention to the garments to be worn by the high priest. He says in 28:2, “You shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.” For glory and for beauty. This is the clear purpose statement for why God cares so much about detail. The Tabernacle was the place for the covenant people of God to come and worship the Lord. The priests were ordained by God to offer the sacrifices on the altar and seek atonement before the Lord on behalf of the people. Both of them were foreshadows of Christ. The character of God and all of his perfection were to be represented in the tabernacle and priestly garments. The glory and beauty of God needed to be evident before the people.

What does this mean for us today?

1. Christ is Our Tabernacle and High Priest. Through Christ we meet with God. Christ has offered the perfect sacrifice, once for all time, in order to atone for our sin. Christ could not have done any of this for us unless every detail of his work was perfect, just like God desired perfection for the Old Testament foreshadows. Christ is glorious and beautiful. Reading of the tabernacle and the priestly garments ought to lead our hearts to worship Christ,

2. We are being built into a dwelling place for God and are called priests (see Eph. 2:22 & 1 Pet. 2:9). If God cared so much about the details of a temporary shadow of things to come, how much more does he care about the details of his church he is building today? Consider what Christ does for the church: “Christ gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). Splendor. Holy. Without blemish. For glory and for beauty. What a wonderful grace of God in what he does for us! The careful construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus gives us a taste of God careful building of us.

3. Perfectionism is sinful, but pursuing perfection is honoring to God. There is a subtle difference here. Perfectionism is the idea that we need to be perfect, our lives need to be perfect, our families need to be perfect, our church needs to be perfect in order to find fulfillment. This need is rooted in the lack of faith that God supplies for our every need. Perfectionism is self-reliance. Pursuing perfection is the desire to please God because he has already done everything for us. We desire perfection for glory and for beauty, to reflect the goodness and glory of God in how we live. So, just like those gifted craftsmen in building the Tabernacle in Exodus, let’s strive for the glory of God in whatever we do.


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