In the hopes that the following items may be a blessing to others, I wanted to share some notes concerning the tabernacle that God had Israel build. I enjoyed these insights very much, and wanted to share them here.
- Most Christians today don’t realize what a complete change it was to have a tabernacle: before God set up the tabernacle, each extended family had an altar, presided over by the family patriarch. The tabernacle did not initiate the worship of God; it merely changed the way in which they worshiped God. From this we can see:
- God has the right to dictate the way in which we worship Him. It was family altars; then a single tabernacle; today, we are to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”.
- Change isn’t automatically bad; change the God commands is good. Too often, Christians will not evaluate a change honestly in the light of Scripture – arguments such as We’ve never done it like this before! fly around.
- God did not have them to build the biggest or most glamorous tabernacle. It was made of fine materials, and with skill. But He did not have them build something to show off; it was designed to meet the need. We can feel discouraged when our offering to God (some ministry – maybe playing an offertory; maybe a Sunday School class; maybe a church) isn’t all that big… but if we have done a sincere effort out of love for Him, we have no cause to be discouraged. A Sunday School class whose members love God more at the end of the year is a great class, no matter the size.
- God had them build one tabernacle; not one for each tribe; not one for each section; just one.
- God gave great detail about how the tabernacle was to be constructed; He also gave instructions as to where it was supposed to be. (He has that right.) Let us be sure that anything we do for God does not contradict His word.
- There were some who refused to accept this “new thing”; the tabernacle – they wanted to continue to do their own offerings near their dwelling. This practice stayed around for a while: many times throughout the Old Testament, there is reference to people worshiping the Lord in groves. Groves were not necessarily idol worshiping places; they may have been remnants of the attitude that “I can worship God however and wherever I want” – but once God had spoken and set up the tabernacle and priesthood, it became wrong to worship in groves (even if it was the worship of God Himself). Even today, we still see some Christians determined to worship God however they want, instead of ensuring that “their way” is holy and in accordance with His word.