And every wise hearted man among them that wrought the work of the tabernacle made ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work made he them. — Exodus 36:8
As I marked the boards before cutting them to the correct length, I heard my dad say, “Make sure you cut them all on the same side of the line.” I remember saying something like, “Details, details. Does it really matter which side of the line I cut on?” As a young boy helping his father, I had no comprehension of how important a few millimeters can be to a quality project.
A few years later, I heard similar words from a new employer while I worked my way through college as a carpenter’s helper. Although my employer chuckled as he told me, “Be sure you cut on the same side of the line,” I noticed him watching over my shoulder. I had a sense that my continued employment might be at stake, so I made sure I followed his instructions!
My employer was concerned about my attention to detail for several reasons. Certain details in our construction project could impact the integrity of the completed structure. Others might affect the building’s appearance. Either way, failure to take appropriate care could have grave ramifications. Attention to the structural specifics would prevent collapse and possible injury to those in the building. Attention to cosmetic details would enhance the reputation of the builder and the marketability of the finished product.
In today’s text, the Lord gave precise instructions regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. He intended for the Children of Israel to follow His directions scrupulously, not overlooking any of the details or deeming any point unimportant.
God gives the same type of specific attention to us. He has a blueprint for our lives and wants us to follow it carefully. Through the Holy Spirit, His Word, and His messengers, He often points out details to which we should pay attention. It is not that God is “looking over our shoulders” for no reason. He wants to ensure the integrity of our spiritual buildings. His only motivation is to make our lives strong, complete, and appealing reflections of His wonderful love — and with that goal in view, details matter!
May God help us to value His attention to the details of our lives, and to respond in simple obedience.
This portion of Exodus 36 is a description of the obedience of the Israelites to the detailed instructions God had previously given Moses regarding the construction of the Tabernacle (see Exodus 25:10 through 27:19). The repetition of detail makes clear the importance God placed upon careful adherence to His directions.
The first step in the construction of God’s house was its framing. Verses 8-13 detail the size, color, type of fabric, and method of hanging the embroidered curtains which, when placed together, would form the walls of the Tabernacle. The words “made ten curtains” point to numerous hours of labor. A staggering amount of spinning and weaving had to take place to create the amount of fabric needed. The phrase “cherubims of cunning work” likely refers to figures that were woven into the fabric.
Verses 14-19 describe the three layers which made up the outer covering of the Tabernacle. These layers consisted of panels of goats’ skins, and over that, the covering of rams’ skins, and then of the badgers’ skins.
The boards and silver sockets, described in verses 20-34, are indicators of the strength and stability of the finished structure. The boards were joined together by the bars which passed through them.
Verses 35-38 deal with the hangings which were used for partitions (the veils) and doors (the curtains) between the sections of the Tabernacle. The partitions divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (also known as the Holy of Holies), where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.
An extensive amount of work was needed to produce the various parts of the Tabernacle. Clearly, the structure never could have been built without tremendous community involvement.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V. The construction of the Tabernacle
D. The construction of the building
1. The Tabernacle assembled
b. The making of the parts
(1) The curtains (36:8-13)
(2) The coverings over the tent (36:14-19)
(3) The boards and sockets of silver (36:20-30)
(4) The bars (36:31-34)
(5) The veil and the screen (36:35-38)
Let’s purpose to pay careful attention to the details of our Christian lives, to make sure they implicitly follow God’s plan.