Beginning of the Tabernacle
International Sunday School Lesson
For November 24, 2013
Purpose: To Identify ways that God reassures us of God’s presence
Background: Exodus 35-40
Exodus 40:16-30, 34, 38 CEB
(16) Moses did everything exactly as the Lord had commanded him. (17) In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the dwelling was set up.
(18) Moses set up the dwelling. He laid out its bases. He set up its boards, inserted its bars, and raised up its posts. (19) He spread the tent out over the dwelling, and he put the covering of the tent over it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (20) He took the covenant document and placed it inside the chest. He put the poles on the chest, and he set the cover on top of the chest. (21) He brought the chest into the dwelling. He set up the veil as a screen to hide from view the chest containing the covenant, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (22) He placed the table in the meeting tent, on the north side of the dwelling, outside the veil. (23) He set the bread in its proper place on the table in the Lord’s presence, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (24) He put the lampstand in the meeting tent, opposite the table on the south side of the dwelling. (25) He set up the lamps in the Lord’s presence, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (26) He put the gold altar in the meeting tent in front of the veil. (27) He burned sweet-smelling incense on it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (28) He also set up the screen at the entrance to the dwelling. (29) He placed the altar for entirely burned offerings at the entrance to the meeting tent dwelling. He offered the entirely burned offering and the grain offering on it, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. (30) He put the washbasin between the meeting tent and the altar, and put water in it for washing. ……...
(34) The cloud covered the meeting tent and the Lord’s glorious presence filled the dwelling. ……...
(38) The Lord’s cloud stayed over the dwelling during the day, with lightning in it at night, clearly visible to the whole household of Israel at every stage of their journey.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This week’s lesson is full of symbolism, and I hope you can glean some things that will help you understand why our church sanctuaries are set up the way they are.
You can use the internet to find blueprints of a tabernacle structure at sites like this one:
There are a couple of things to remember as you study and prepare for this lesson:
- God did not need the Tabernacle to dwell in, it was designed for the Israelites as an assurance of God’s presence with them.
- The permanent temple designed by David and built by Solomon, was their idea not God’s. (2nd Samuel 7:5b) This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in. 6 In fact, I haven’t lived in a temple from the day I brought Israel out of Egypt until now. Instead, I have been traveling around in a tent and in a dwelling. 7 Throughout my traveling around with the Israelites, did I ever ask any of Israel’s tribal leaders I appointed to shepherd my people: Why haven’t you built me a cedar temple?)
The Tabernacle was always placed in the center of the camp, so that it could be easily seen by all of the camp. It was a constant reminder that they were not alone and that the Creator God, Jehovah was with them. The Holy of Holies was separated from the rest of tent, and the Ark of the Covenant was placed inside of that small room, The Ark of the Covenant housed the covenant that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai in the form of the stone tablets we call the Ten Commandments.
God’s covenants are almost always conditional, those that served him by obedience would prosper, those that did not would suffer. Even in the promise of John 3:16 it is conditional, “whosoever believes shall not parish.”
What evidence do you require to know that God is with you? How does sharing the Good News, witness to God’s presence with us? How does the Holy Spirit become our “Shekinah Glory”?