sanctuary

God is a rock.

God is a rock.

1 SAMUEL 21

I have an old choir song rumbling through my head this morning: ♫♪ My God is a rock in a weary land ♪♫ A shelter in the time of storm ♪♫ Incidentally, these images of God were penned often by David. (One example is found in Psalm 18:2.) How well David must have known and trusted the refuge he found in God, particularly when he was on the run from Saul!

God gives the best gifts.

God gives the best gifts.

NUMBERS 18

After the blogs on defiance over the last week or so, I’ve been itching for a short and sweet blog. And Numbers 18 gives me the perfect opportunity for that. Nestled in amongst instructions to Aaron and the Levites about their priestly ministry in the sanctuary is this little nugget: "But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift." (vs 7)

God likes sneak peeks.

God likes sneak peeks.

NUMBERS 4

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's boundaries draw us in.

God's boundaries draw us in.

LEVITICUS 15

I must admit that, as I began to read Leviticus 15, it all seemed a bit ridiculous to me. I mean, really, if the rule is that "when a man has an emission of semen... he will be unclean till evening" (vs 16), an Israelite man must not have spent many days being "clean." Furthermore, in addition to the rule for men was the law that said menstruating women were also unclean. After this type of ceremonial uncleanness, the men and women were required to bring a sacrifice to the sanctuary in order to "make atonement before the Lord." (vs 15)

God's presence brings joy.

God's presence brings joy.

LEVITICUS 9

I think it’s hard for us to relate to the Israelites and what was going on in the wilderness. We don’t live out in the desert, exposed to the harsh elements, wondering where our next meal is coming from. We live very cultivated lives in sanitized conditions. You have a computer connected to the internet — that’s how you’re reading this blog right now!

God sacrifices.

God sacrifices.

LEVITICUS 8

So now we come to the point where all the sacrifices God has described in preceding chapters begin to take place. And, as Leviticus 8 describes one sacrifice after another offered during the ordination of Aaron and his sons, this was my thought: The sanctuary system was devised so that the Israelites would know that dealing with sin involves sacrifice.

God takes care of the little things.

God takes care of the little things.

LEVITICUS 7

In this chapter, I was struck with the provisions God made for the priests in the sanctuary system. For each of the offerings and sacrifices mentioned, there was a portion which was specifically reserved for the priests. This means that, as the Israelites brought meat and grain into the sanctuary and offered it to God, the priests would be sustained in their work.

God wants to hang out.

God wants to hang out.

LEVITICUS 3

Have you ever thought about God as a guy who just wants to hang out with His friends? Perhaps it’s not our usual picture of God. It’s easier to think about Him doing big things, like creating planets or running the universe. But, in Leviticus 3, we get a glimpse of a God who has (among other things) set up a local hangout in the sanctuary.

God notices the little details.

God notices the little details.

EXODUS 37

Did we need to have an entire Bible chapter about the building of the sanctuary elements? Every little detail is mentioned — from the cups on the lampstand to the gold rings on the four corners of the ark. The description seems just as careful as the actual crafting probably was.

So why is this here, and more importantly, what does it communicate to us about God?

God values willingness.

God values willingness.

EXODUS 35

As God was contemplating the building of His holy temple, He gave this command to the Israelites: "From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be
mounted on the ephod and breastpiece." (vs 5-9)

God remembers us.

God remembers us.

EXODUS 28

And now we come to the priestly garments. Here’s the thing I loved about this chapter: "Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord." (vs 11-12)

God is the light.

God is the light.

EXODUS 27

At the end of the instructions for building the sanctuary comes this commandment from the Lord: "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain that is in front of the Testimony, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." (vs 20-21)