And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount. — Exodus 26:30
Our family has a quilt made in the Lone Star pattern, one of the oldest and most recognizable quilt patterns to Americans. A central star made up of dozens of small diamond-shaped pieces of fabric covers nearly the whole top side. Sometimes tiny stars are placed in the blank areas surrounding the main star. Making a quilt with this pattern is a challenge because the cutting and sewing must be extremely precise. Every angle of each piece must be perfect, and the seams must be exactly a quarter-inch wide. Quilting experts say that even a fractional error can cause the quilt top not to lay flat. The appearance of the whole quilt can be ruined by one mistake. Clearly, careful attention to both pattern and workmanship is a must.
The text for today contains some of the pattern God gave regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. Placed in the midst of the camp, this was the place where God first promised He would come down to dwell with man. God gave precise directions regarding the design and materials. In the focus verse, He reminded Moses to be sure to construct the Tabernacle “according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount.”
Today, God wants to dwell with His people by abiding in our hearts, and the Bible contains the instructions that we must follow in order for Him to do so. We will not be successful by using the pattern of the world, or one designed by our own thinking. Just as God detailed how the Tabernacle was to be built and the specific materials that were to be used, so His Word details how our Christian lives are to be built. If we follow His pattern and directions, His presence will abide with us. Paying attention to detail in our Christian walk pays off. By doing so, our lives will bring glory to Him, and we will enjoy His presence dwelling with us.
This portion of text gives details regarding the construction of the Tabernacle and its coverings and curtains.
At times, the designation Tabernacle referred to the outer court and furnishings as well as to the tent itself. However, this text describes the tent, which had a framework of wood that was covered by layers of curtains. This tent was thirty cubits long, ten cubits wide, and ten cubits high. A cubit was from 17 to 21 inches, so the Tabernacle was about 45 feet long by 15 feet wide and 15 feet high.
The curtains are described in verses 1-14. The inner curtains were made of fine linen that was intricately woven with depictions of cherubims. Ten curtains of identical size were sewn together in two groups of five, forming two large curtains. These two curtains could be hooked together by “loops” and “taches” (clasps or buttons). Layered over these inner curtains were curtains of goats’ hair, which were made and attached together similarly. The third layer was fabricated of rams’ skins and the fourth of badgers’ skins. Scholars believe that “badger” may have referred to a sea animal whose skins would repel rain and help insulate from heat.
Verses 15-30 describe the wooden part of the construction — the boards that stood on three sides to form a U-shaped structure, and the crossbars that connected them. The boards were of shittim (or acacia) wood and were covered with gold. They stood on a silver base which served as the foundation, and were attached to it by “tenons” (pegs). The bars, which were also of acacia wood covered with gold, slid through gold rings to hold the boards in position.
“On the south side southward” (verse 18) means to the right as a person faced east. The people of that time gave directions while facing east, and the Tabernacle itself faced east. When an individual stepped out from the single opening of the Tabernacle, he faced east; therefore the south was to his right, the north was to his left, and the back of the Tabernacle was behind him to the west.
Verses 31-35 describe the veil which divided the Tabernacle into two areas. The Ark with the Mercy Seat was in the innermost area, referred to as the Holy of Holies. The other area, the Holy Place, contained the candlestick, a table, and the altar of incense. The entrance into the Tabernacle was also screened by a curtain (verses 36-37).
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. The construction of the Tabernacle
B. The instructions for the building
6. The curtains (26:1-14)
7. The boards (26:15-25)
8. The bars (26:26-30)
9. The veils (26:31-37)
If God Almighty insisted that the Israelites be precise and careful in each of the detailed instructions given for building the Tabernacle, then we too must carefully follow the instructions He gives for our lives.