Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Friday, November 25, 2022

2022.11.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 26:15–30

Read Exodus 26:15–30

Questions from the Scripture text: What are they to make in Exodus 26:15? To be used in what position? How long and wide (Exodus 26:16)? How will they be connected (Exodus 26:17)? How many boards for which side (Exodus 26:18)? How many sockets for receiving/connecting the tenons (Exodus 26:19)? Of what material? What other side will have the same boards (Exodus 26:20)? And what else the same (Exodus 26:21)? Which side is the far side (Exodus 26:22)? How many boards will it have? What other boards for what location (Exodus 26:23)? How will the corner boards be attached (Exodus 26:24)? How many boards and sockets total for the west/back side (Exodus 26:25)? What else is to be made of what material (Exodus 26:26)? And what else (Exodus 26:27)? What would these bars connect/support, in what way (Exodus 26:28)? With what would these boards and bars be overlaid (Exodus 26:29)? What will they do, according to what plan (Exodus 26:30)?

What do we learn from the structure of the tabernacle? Exodus 26:15–30 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the tabernacle received its structure from strong, splendid boards and bars—a visible (if lesser) glory, appropriate to the infant state of the church.

While the furnishings, and especially the covering(s) of the tabernacle emphasized God’s glorious presence in a mobile and modular package in God’s “tent,” the boards that this passage now prescribes build on the tent motif by distinguishing it from other tents as stronger and more splendid.

God’s tent is a tent of strength. Where portability has been such a priority, the inner weight (acacia wood, Exodus 26:15), length (15 feet, Exodus 26:16), and overlaying (gold, Exodus 26:29) of each board stands out. Each of these boards would take several men to carry. 

This is no ordinary tent! The passage gives us not just the strength and solidity of the raw materials, but also of the construction. Tenons (Exodus 26:17), sockets (Exodus 26:19Exodus 26:21Exodus 26:25), reinforced corners with rings (Exodus 26:23-24), and cross-bars (Exodus 26:26-28) all fortify the tent. They are not the strength of God, but they convey that He is a God of strength.

And now the Lord has done much more than strengthen a tent. He Himself, in His almighty strength, is now our tabernacle in Jesus Christ. He is the tabernacling of God among us (cf. John 1:14; Hebrews 8–9; Revelation 21:3). And, He is the temple, built from His body (cf. John 2:19–22), of which He is the foundation and the chief cornerstone. And from Himself and upon Himself, Jesus is building a temple not from materials of earthly strength like acacia wood, but instead building from redeemed sinners, who are being conformed to His image (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9–17; Ephesians 2:14–22; 1 Peter 2:4–10). How strong is the everlasting tabernacling and temple of God in His people!

God’s tent is a tent of splendor. From all of these passages in which we have considered the strength, we can see also the great glory of the ultimate tabernacling of God with His people. So, it doesn’t surprise us that great glory is another thing conveyed by these boards and sockets and rings and bars.

Strength itself is glorious. For instance, the size of the boards, as they are carried with Israel through the wilderness, would leave an impression upon the people. Though the boards would not be visible to them once the tabernacle was set up, even the procession of the boards among the people would communicate heavenly glory, the presence of a great God and King.

Once erected, from inside the Holy Place or Holy of Holies, the gold walls now contribute a truly splendid reflection of gold with the gold furnishings and the gold light from the lamps, all under the finely woven linen of the first curtain above. It is a place of light and glory and splendor.

But this was true to the eye. An outward, visible glory. Like a picture book for those so under-age that they cannot read. The church was still in its infancy (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14–15; Galatians 3:22–25, Galatians 4:1–3; Hebrews 10:1). The true brilliance to come is seen first and foremost with the eye of faith not the eye of sight (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:16–18). Even in the new heavens and the new earth, when resurrected physical eyes behold magnificent new creation, what we know by the Word will be the way by which the light of the actual knowledge of God’s actual glory will shine in our hearts in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:2–6). 

Living in the age of the Word and the Spirit, rather than the infant age means that the glory is less outward, but that the glory is fuller, with more evidence from the finished work of Christ and completed Scriptures, and more efficacy with the ministry of the Spirit (cf. WCF 7.6 and Scripture proofs). Let us be grateful to God Who has given us to live in the time of this revelation. And, if He has placed us in this time (cf. Acts 17:26), let us seek from Him that heart-work of His Spirit that will make us know in truth the greatness of this glory!

How does God’s record of this tent’s construction communicate strength to you? But what is the true strength to which it points? How are you being helped by that strength in your day to day life? When you come to God through Christ in private or family worship, what is the glory that you are meant to see? How well have you been perceiving it? Who can help with this? What even greater glories are present for you to see in public worship? How are you enabled to perceive them? How well have you been doing so? How does the outward simplicity of this New Testament worship further help?

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for being the strength and glory of Your people. Thank You for dwelling among us in a communication of that strength and glory. Thank You for giving us to live in a time when that communication is not the childish picture of the tabernacle but the mature reality of Christ risen, ascended, and enthroned. Grant unto us the ministry of Your Spirit to stir up our faith that we might know what is the hope of our calling, the greatness of Your power toward us, and the love of Christ which passes knowledge. Thus, grant that by Your Spirit’s use of Your Word to apply to us Christ in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells, we too might be filled with all the fullness of God. To You be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH332 “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” 

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