I’m intrigued by the idea that the tabernacle where God dwelt was a symbol of our bodies, which are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, Paul said this: "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
God is into sneak previews... giving them to us, that is. In Numbers 4, He gave instructions for the various Levite clans in how to care for the tabernacle — how to take it down, pack it up, and move it from place to place. This took thousands of people. We don’t often think about that, huh? The metal alone weighed more than ten tons! Not to mention the immense weight of the skins, hangings, cords, boards, and posts. It would have taken semi-trucks to move this thing around in the desert. And God didn’t have any eighteen-wheelers. But He had thousands of people.
The thing is, God was longing to dwell within the people even more than He was longing to dwell in the tabernacle. But the first step was to invite the people into a brick-and-mortar structure to meet Him. Once they began to form a relationship, perhaps He would be invited to dwell in their hearts. That’s what He’s really after.
But the great thing about God is that He’ll start with the sneak previews, the coming attractions. And as the Israelites learned to revere and treat with care the various parts of the tabernacle, He was planning to show them just how much He cared for them — they, who were going to be His future tabernacle. For certainly, God takes no less care of us than He does of a building! As Jesus said, "Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many small birds." (Lk 12:7)
One day, our earthly tent will be dismantled, and we will enter the eternal house of God. That’s what He is waiting for, and as we also wait, He has plenty of ways to give us a sneak peek of the wonders that await us!