A Holy and Significant Space
Before Dr. Rinne reads our passage for us, would you turn your attention to this video reconstruction of what scholars believe the tabernacle could have looked like, recorded in the Middle East.
Exodus 36:8–37 (CSB)
8 All the skilled artisans among those doing the work made the tabernacle with ten curtains.
14 He made curtains of goat hair for a tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven of them.
20 He made upright supports of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 21 Each support was fifteen feet long and twenty-seven inches wide.
31 He made five crossbars of acacia wood for the supports on one side of the tabernacle, 32 five crossbars for the supports on the other side of the tabernacle, and five crossbars for those at the back of the tabernacle on the west.
35 Then he made the curtain with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen. He made it with a design of cherubim worked into it. 36 He made four pillars of acacia wood for it and overlaid them with gold; their hooks were of gold. And he cast four silver bases for the pillars.
37 He made a screen embroidered with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen for the entrance to the tent,
Exodus 37 (CSB)
37 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood, forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. 2 He overlaid it with pure gold inside and out and made a gold molding all around it.
6 He made a mercy seat of pure gold, forty-five inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. 7 He made two cherubim of gold; he made them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat, 8 one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end. At each end, he made a cherub of one piece with the mercy seat. 9 They had wings spread out. They faced each other and covered the mercy seat with their wings. The faces of the cherubim were looking toward the mercy seat.
10 He constructed the table of acacia wood, thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. 11 He overlaid it with pure gold and made a gold molding all around it. 12 He made a three-inch frame all around it and made a gold molding all around its frame.
17 Then he made the lampstand out of pure hammered gold. He made it all of one piece: its base and shaft, its ornamental cups, and its buds and petals.
24 He made it and all its utensils of seventy-five pounds of pure gold.
25 He made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, eighteen inches long and eighteen inches wide; it was thirty-six inches high. Its horns were of one piece with it. 26 He overlaid it, its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold. Then he made a gold molding all around it.
29 He also made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant, and expertly blended incense.
Exodus 38 (CSB)
38 Bezalel constructed the altar of burnt offering from acacia wood. It was square, 7½ feet long and 7½ feet wide, and was 4½ feet high. 2 He made horns for it on its four corners; the horns were of one piece with it. Then he overlaid it with bronze.
3 He made all the altar’s utensils: the pots, shovels, basins, meat forks, and firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze.
8 He made the bronze basin and its stand from the bronze mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
9 Then he made the courtyard.
21 This is the inventory for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, that was recorded at Moses’s command. It was the work of the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 22 Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything that the Lord commanded Moses. 23 With him was Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, a gem cutter, a designer, and an embroiderer with blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen.
24 All the gold of the presentation offering that was used for the project in all the work on the sanctuary, was 2,193 pounds, according to the sanctuary shekel. 25 The silver from those of the community who were registered was 7,544 pounds, according to the sanctuary shekel—26 one-fifth of an ounce per man, that is, half a shekel according to the sanctuary shekel, from everyone twenty years old or more who had crossed over to the registered group, 603,550 men. 27 There were 7,500 pounds of silver used to cast the bases of the sanctuary and the bases of the curtain—one hundred bases from 7,500 pounds, 75 pounds for each base. 28 With the remaining 44 pounds he made the hooks for the posts, overlaid their tops, and supplied bands for them.
29 The bronze of the presentation offering totaled 5,310 pounds. 30 He made with it the bases for the entrance to the tent of meeting, the bronze altar and its bronze grate, all the utensils for the altar, 31 the bases for the surrounding courtyard, the bases for the gate of the courtyard, all the tent pegs for the tabernacle, and all the tent pegs for the surrounding courtyard.
Exodus 39:32–43 (CSB)
MOSES’S INSPECTION OF THE TABERNACLE
32 So all the work for the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was finished. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 33 They brought the tabernacle to Moses: the tent with all its furnishings, its clasps, its supports, its crossbars, and its pillars and bases; 34 the covering of ram skins dyed red and the covering of fine leather; the curtain for the screen; 35 the ark of the testimony with its poles and the mercy seat; 36 the table, all its utensils, and the Bread of the Presence; 37 the pure gold lampstand, with its lamps arranged and all its utensils, as well as the oil for the light; 38 the gold altar; the anointing oil; the fragrant incense; the screen for the entrance to the tent; 39 the bronze altar with its bronze grate, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 40 the hangings of the courtyard, its posts and bases, the screen for the gate of the courtyard, its ropes and tent pegs, and all the furnishings for the service of the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; 41 and the specially woven garments for ministering in the sanctuary, the holy garments for the priest Aaron and the garments for his sons to serve as priests. 42 The Israelites had done all the work according to everything the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected all the work they had accomplished. They had done just as the Lord commanded. Then Moses blessed them.
Introduction: Exodus 36-39 is boring for most readers.
- I confess, it is not the most exciting passage I have ever preached.
- Yet, non-exciting passages are good for me, because they require me to invest more time in prayer and asking God “what are you saying to us here?”
- What God is leading us to today is to a position where we are expecting and ready for God to move.
- But we must learn, “God moves in ways that we don’t often expect.
- In this large passage, a few elements spoke to me:
- The responsibility to “create” a holy and significant space.
- The small offerings added up to a large value.
- The dimensions were smaller than I imagined it would be.
- Building God’s way brings God’s blessings. Ex. 39:32-43
1. The responsibility to “create” a holy and significant space.
- A recurring theme throughout this section: “And they made it just as the Lord commanded Moses”.
- This was not some ethereal, paranormal situation.
- God could have spoken the tabernacle into existence, but He stopped His word short of that.
- Instead, God shares the word to Moses in perfect detail.
- Then Moses must communicate that Word perfectly to the leaders and artisans.
- Then those people take the Word and fashion what was commanded.
- Israel had a responsibility and opportunity to “create” a holy space.
- God’s idea,
- But Israel’s sweat.
- If we read Exodus with a 30,000-foot view, we see this pattern:
- The people brought the gifts. Exodus 35
- The artisans crafted the gifts. Exodus 36-39
- Moses ordered the gifts. Exodus 40:1-33
- The Spirit made the gifts holy. Exodus 40:34-38
- What is evident is the participation of Israel in the process of creating a holy and significant space for God.
- These former slaves of Egypt had built sacred spaces before.
- While slaves, some or many of them would have participated in building various buildings or monuments to the many gods of Egypt.
- Previously, their sweat and blood had facilitated the worship of false-gods.
- But now! They are no longer slaves building their master’s religion but now they are Priests building the space for their God to reside.
- What does this have to do with me?
- We are not invited to participate in holy things, as if it is an invitation that we can take or leave. We are commanded to participate in the Holy.
- Notice that Jesus commanded His followers to have a Pentecostal experience:
Acts 1:1–5 (CSB)
I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up, after he had given instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After he had suffered, he also presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”
- Just as God commanded Moses and Israel to build the tabernacle for Him to dwell, Jesus commanded His followers to create space so that the Spirit of God could empower them.
- When we view the spiritual life as optional, we walk in disobedience to what God has commanded us to do.
- What are you doing to create holy space in your life?
- If you are wanting God to move, but keep yourself so busy and distracted that you never stop, then how will you ever hear the voice of God’s Spirit?
- If God hears and answers the prayers of His people, could it be that we have not had an experience with God because we haven’t been asking for one in prayer?
- Scripture says that “God inhabits the praise of His people”, but we have to offer “praise” for Him to dwell.
- The building of the Tabernacle demonstrates God’s willingness and desire to walk with His people, if they will create the space for Him to dwell.
2. The small offerings of necklaces, earrings, and such added up to a large value.
- Here are the weights of metals used in the tabernacle.
- 2,193 pounds of gold ($58,950,000 todays value)
- 7,544 pounds of silver.
- 5,310 pounds of bronze,
- much of this came from the mirrors the women gave.
- Egypt was known for the quality of their bronze mirrors.
- That’s a lot of metal.
- But, that isn’t a lot per person.
- Actually, verse 25 says that each man gave 1/5 ounce.
- All men from 603,550 men over the age of 20.
- What would happen if each believer would do the “little” that God requires of them?
- We all want to do something BIG for God, yet we are not willing to be obedient in the small things.
- We dream of stewarding great talents and great wealth, but we mismanage what we have now.
- We chase “great” gifts instead of developing the giftings we already have.
- My friends, our community and our nation would be drastically different if each of us would do what we are being asked to do!
3. The dimensions were smaller than I imagined.
- Notice these dimensions:
- The altar of incense: 18”x 18” and 36” high. Ex. 37:25
- The altar of burnt offerings: 7 ½” by 7 ½” by 4 ½” . Ex. 38:1
- The Ark of the Covenant: 45”x27”x27” Ex. 37:1
- The Courtyard: 150 feet long on the north and south sides, 75 feet on the west and east sides.
- PICTURE of Tabernacle compared to a Football field.
- To our American culture, where bigger is better, this passage challenges my thinking.
- If I could build for God, BIGGER is not only better, it is holier.
- The bigger I can build something, the more glory it brings to God, right?
- Yet, these were the dimensions God laid out for Himself.
- In a world of “go big or go home”, God doesn’t always demand big.
- Jesus started His Church in the same manner.
- 1 Corinthians 15 says that 500 were invited to wait for power on high after Jesus’ resurrection.
- Acts 2 says that 120 stayed.
- If it was you or me, we would have begun with a much larger crowd.
- Acts says they met in an upper room.
- It could have been the same place where the last-supper was held.
- It definitely seems to have been a small room near the Temple.
- Pentecost did not begin in an arena, or a large auditorium but in a small, borrowed room.
- The Azusa Street revival in 1906 began in small buildings, some that were condemned or fell down because of their poor condition. (Paul’s pic)
- Yet, from those humble roots, God’s Spirit moved in a way that is STILL changing the world.
- My friends, we should never tell God that something is too small or too insignificant for us to do.
4. Building God’s way brings God’s blessings. Ex. 39:32-43
- Notice the difference between the creation of the golden calf verses the actual, legitimate tabernacle.
- We often build golden calves because they go up quickly.
- Whereas, what God wants to build takes time.
- What God wants to build requires greater sacrifice.
- What God wants to build requires skill and detail.
- What God wants to build leads to blessing (vs. 43) and what we build leads to a curse.
- After all of the Tabernacle items were furnished, Moses blessed them.
- It was the job of the craftsman to build the elements.
- It was Moses’ job to arrange and prepare them.
- It was God’s job to inhabit them.
- Let us not be so busy making space for false gods and leaving no space for the One True God!
Conclusion: Creating a Holy and Significant Space.
- How do we do this?
- By the renewing of our mind.
- By the transformation of our life through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- By intentionally seeking the Holy Spirit.
- By declaring and speaking Jesus over our areas of influence.
- By yielding our hearts and lives fully to His plan:
- Wherever you are, you have to start somewhere and today is the best day for that.
- Prayer Time: Two Areas:
- If you find yourself far from God, today is a day for salvation.
- If you have repented of sin and given your life to Jesus, today is the day to be filled or refilled with the Holy Spirit.
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ONLY way we are going to do what God has called us to do.
- This morning, it’s time for us to create space in our lives to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit!
- Here is how I want us to pray and it is different than you would expect:
- If you are like me, you’ve usually expected people to be standing to receive salvation, or Spirit Baptism, or divine healing.
- But the Greek, along with the King James and the ESV translation, all point out that the 120 on the day of Pentecost were SITTING when the Holy Spirit arrived.
Acts 2:1–4 (ESV)
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
- We are going to create holy space this morning by sitting still and praying.
- This is the posture of the First Day of Pentecost.
- They didn’t stay seated, but when the Spirit came, they were sitting, waiting for what God had promised.
- They had created space for God to move.
- The business was finished.
- Their pacing had ceased.
- They were in a position to receive whatever the “promise” was God had for them.
- This morning, I’m going to lead us in prayer and in a time of us receiving whatever God has for us.
- No hype, no pushing, nothing of the sort.
- When you have a real experience with God, there will be no looking back and wondering “was that real?, Did I get caught up in the moment?”
- What God has for you is very real, and I hope you will create room in your life to experience that right now.