Each year as I begin again reading through the Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, starting my yearly journey through God’s Word, I come to some point in between Exodus and Deuteronomy when I say to myself, “What does this have to do with my life?” (I know that’s self-focused thinking, but that’s what I do.) Generally it’s when I’m reading a long list of “begats,” or numbering of tribes, or detailed descriptions of something unfamiliar to me that I can’t seem to visualize.
This year it happened in Exodus. As I was reading through chapters 35-38, about the construction of the tabernacle and all its furnishings, curtains, and articles, I once again had a what’s-in-it-for-me thought. As I read that particular day, I started asking myself, “How can I apply this?” “What do you want me to learn, Lord?”
And you know what? When we ask, He listens and answers.
I recalled how the tabernacle was the place where God came down to dwell among His people in His Shekinah glory. It was God’s house on earth. I remembered it was Holy and set apart and consecrated. And those thoughts made me think of these New Testament verses:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16
I began to notice in the Exodus description, the rich materials that were used: the finest woods, rich beautiful fabrics, gold and precious metals and jewels. Not only were the materials the best, the craftsmen were the best at their craft as well. The men called upon to do the metal-work, the weaving, the hand carving and such were all noted to be very skilled “experts” in their area. Even the people themselves were called upon to offer their best gifts to be used in the construction and decoration of the tabernacle. They brought materials from their own personal wealth: jewels and yarn and spices for the incense. Not surprisingly, they brought it willingly; Exodus 35:29 specifies that it was a freewill offering. No one was compelled or taxed or forced; they offered to God things to make a perfect dwelling for Him among them.
So we ask: Father, how do these chapters from Exodus, about the building of the Tabernacle, impact our lives as your temples here on earth?
- We offer God our best. Not just our best material possessions – which is a given – but the best job we can do, the best/first of our time, energy, intellect, and passions. In so doing, we seek to become the best, the purest, a worthwhile holy gift to give to Him.
- We work heartily at whatever our hand finds to do. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Seek to learn, organize, prepare, train – to become better, faster, more expert in any area where He gives us a job. I’m not just a mom, I’m creating a home and training these little ones. I’m not just putting words on paper, I’m using my skill to craft winsome and enlightening prose that God will use to touch others. I’m not just a singer, I’m a worshipper leading others to the throne of God. I could go on, but you get the picture. Are we reading up in our area, keeping up with developments, seeking training, honing our skills, doing improvement exercises in order to give our best self to the effort?
- We bring gifts to Him. Tithes and offerings and service in His house and to His people. Beautiful, precious gifts, not our leftovers. Intentional gifts that require much of us.
- We give willingly from our heart. If I, as a grown adult, am still giving my tithe just because I’m supposed to, I probably have an issue in my heart. As we grow with Him through the years we give to Him out of love. The giving brings joy. Our heart is in it and we desire to give. In fact, we probably even wish we had more to give! Pray: Father, help me want to give out of a willing generous heart. Amen.
So as you go about your day today, remember that You are God’s Temple – a beautiful temple that He is building brick by brick for His glory. Decorate your temple. Take care of what is furnishing your heart. Make yours a finely crafted temple, made of the finest materials, given to Him from a willing heart!