July 3

by Joe Hill
The book of Exodus is full of iconic stories of the faith. Moses and the burning bush, the 10 Plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and receiving the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai… But something that is particularly interesting to me about Exodus is how much of it is about the Tabernacle. 13 of the 40 chapters of Exodus- over a quarter of the book– are dedicated to the exact specifications of how to build the Tabernacle and then it’s actual construction. Moses’ entire childhood and adolescence happen in between Exodus 2:10 and Exodus 2:11, and yet the meticulous instructions for the Tabernacle happen over 13 chapters. But I have never had anyone tell me, “My favorite verse is Exodus 27:12, ‘The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits wide and have curtains with ten posts and ten bases.” These don’t exactly read like prime devotional material!
So why does this book dedicate so much space to the Tabernacle? The Tabernacle, or the tent of meeting was the predecessor to the Temple. It was where God Himself would dwell with His people. It was a sign in the middle of the Hebrew people’s camp that, no matter where they went as they traveled through the desert and into the Promised Land, God’s presence would always be with them. And this was no insignificant thing! The God who miraculously delivered them from the oppressive yoke of slavery in Egypt, who shook the very foundations of Mt. Sinai with the sound of His voice, had promised to be present with them.
In John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Interestingly, the Greek phrase that is translated “dwelt among us” here could more literally be translated as “set up his tent among us.” In the same way that God dwelt with His people in the Tabernacle of Exodus, he now dwells with us in Jesus Christ.
This Tabernacle was a foreshadowing of Christ. It was a physical sign and a reminder to all people that God was with them. And my hope today is that this look into some of the seemingly “flyover” chapters of the Old Testament would be a reminder of how important it is to the story of Scripture, and to our life as a Christian community, that God’s people know that He is with them in all circumstances. He has made that decisive move towards us, to dwell among us- to set up his tent among us- in Jesus Christ.

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