The story of the Exodus was a pivotal point in Israel’s history. Moses had led the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage by the power of God. When they came to Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the instruction and the pattern to follow in building the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings. “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (Exodus 25:40 NKJV).
The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament refers to the Tabernacle as a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5 NKJV). The Tabernacle was an earthly replica of the heavenly Tabernacle, so it was important that Moses follow the plan revealed by God. Once all the components were made, it was just as important for it to be set up according to the pattern. “And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain” (Exodus 26:30 NKJV).
These two verses in Exodus struck me as almost saying the same thing but not. It is one thing to make all the parts of the Tabernacle but then another thing to set it up according to God’s plan. It is like our lives, our families, and our churches; it is one thing to know the right theology but another thing to execute those ideas according to God’s pattern and plan.
If we read the whole account of the Tabernacle Building Project, it came about in eight stages:
- God gave the resources beforehand when He gave the Israelites favor with their Egyptian neighbors to give the needed materials (See Exodus 11:2-3).
- God commanded Moses to receive an offering from the people of gold, silver, bronze, jewels, wood, and fabric and they gave more than enough. This was of the bounty received from the Egyptians.
- Moses received the revelation of the pattern on the mountain.
- God called and gifted Bezalel and Aholiab to be artisans, who would make and teach other craftsmen to assist in the building the Tabernacle and its furnishings (Exodus 31:1-11).
- The Tabernacle and all the furnishings were made according to the pattern.
- The Tabernacle and all the furnishings were set up according to the pattern.
- It was consecrated by Moses.
- Worship was executed by Aaron, his sons, and the Levite Priests.
After the tabernacle was built, set up, and consecrated unto God, then the Tabernacle was covered with the cloud of glory and the glory of God filled the Tabernacle. God confirmed His approval of the work with His presence.
The problems we face in our lives, families, churches, communities, and nation is a direct correlation to our departure from God’s pattern. That may sound too much of a simplification to some or too harsh of an observation to others, but there are consequences to sin. Moses dared not alter the pattern given to him because of the consequences. If we pattern our lives after the dictates of our own mind instead of God’s pattern then we are doomed to failure.
In our lives and churches, to experience God’s glory and to be partakers of His power; we must submit ourselves to the Word of God and surrender ourselves to the Spirit of God. This is the means and the process whereby we align with His pattern. We have an empty expectation if we live our lives according to the pattern of the world but then expect the spiritual blessings of God. The Bible plainly says that we reap what we sow. God fills the vessel that is transformed to His design specifications. If we want His glory we must be His vessel according to the pattern.
How can we know the pattern? The process begins with the surrendered life to God through faith in His Son Jesus. The journey continues as we study the Word of God allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the pattern. If we only know the pattern but do not apply it to our lives then we have not set it up according to the pattern. We must live out God’s purpose for our lives according to the pattern.
Moses was shown the pattern of the Tabernacle and its furnishing on the mountain but it was made down in the desert, traveled with the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years before being carried into the Promise Land.
Do not be like so many who have beliefs that are not fleshed out and so God’s original plan is not carried to completion. The life of a disciple of Jesus is indeed a journey. Ask God to reveal His pattern in His Word, set it up in your life, and live it out in surrender to the Spirit of God. None of us are perfect but we get closer to the target if we aim at it. Enjoy the journey!
Harry L. Whitt