BACKGROUND NOTE: Some of you have asked if I’m reading through the Bible in a year. The answer: yes and no. Several years ago, I decided the read the Bible straight through, from Genesis to Revelation. It was an amazing experience. By reading it as I would any book—from cover to cover, in order—I was able to clearly see threads of thought, images, words, and know how they strung together from Old Testament to New. I’ve read through several times now, never with a specific timeframe in mind. It has taken me anywhere from 4 months to 2 years. And because the Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) I recognize different truths and images and words on every reading. So, with all that said, here are my thoughts for today . . .
As I have been considering my reading in the early books of the Old Testament—you know, the “boring” ones—a new thought struck me. God spends a lot of time telling Moses (and us) His plans for the outfitting and care of the Tabernacle, His dwelling place with Israel. His plans were both intricate and elaborate.
Because of Christ, the dwelling place of God is no longer a tent or temple. According to Paul in I Corinthians 6:19 our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, of God’s Spirit. We are His dwelling place. So what do these two things mean? Here are some things that occurred to me:
- Intricate — Each piece of the tabernacle had a intricate design, everything from the priestly garments to the structure of the tent to the pieces of worship within. The designs were so intricate that they required master artisans to do the work. If we are God’s dwelling place, why do we imagine that God’s attention to the intricacy of detail has changed? Why do we see our lives as a series of unrelated events or think God is only concerned with the monumental pivots in our lives? He is the Master Artisan. He has created His dwelling place both for beauty and for glory. We are that place. And the intricate design He is hammering away in us to create may not always look beautiful until we see the finished product. But in His hands, it can be nothing less than glorious.
- Elaborate — God could have just set up a small tent, maybe with the Ark of the Covenant, and have been done with His dwelling place. Instead, it was an elaborate work, layers of fabrics and precious metals and stones. It was large, as a place. It was elaborately staffed and moved. While we are each created with an intricate design, we are corporately the elaborate expression of God’s dwelling place. We are layered together as believers, each with different functions, different placement, different duties, to become His body, the place where His Spirit dwells. No one thing is unimportant, though some do their work in concealment, as the wooden frame of the tabernacle was covered over with gold. The picture and function of God’s dwelling place was, and is, elaborately designed.
As my life takes its ups and downs, as seasons of life and work ebb and flow, I’m trying to remember that God is working both an intricate and an elaborate plan in and through me because I am His dwelling place, the representation of His glory. And seeing all He did to make the tabernacle a place that reflected Himself, how can I believe He does any less for me, who He has already created in His image? You and I are His tabernacle. He is busy implementing His design. And He does all things well.