But ALL of it is God's Word. And as Paul reminded Timothy... All of scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching. (2 Timothy 3:16). In fact, at the time of these words, Paul specifically was speaking of the Old Testament. The New Testament was still being written!
I've been reading about the tabernacle in Exodus 25-31. At first glance it reads like a lot of commands and numbers. But it's so much more. As a worship pastor, the tabernacle interests me. It is the place where the ancient Hebrews led worship to God himself, much like I do. The tabernacle was God's "mishkan" (Hebrew for "dwelling place").
First, consider the materials that went into this structure. Gold (rare, precious metal). Acacia wood (extremely strong, durable). Bronze (firm, enduring). Twisted Linen (most highly prized cloth in antiquity). Blue, purple, and scarlet yarn (symbolic of heaven, royalty and sacrifice). What does all this signify? God is great. Greater than anything else of earth. Transcendent. We should value him highly.
Second, consider the care in separating the holy places from the unholy (common) places. God commanded that the curtains of blue, purple and scarlet separate these areas. Why? Because this physical separation symbolizes the moral perfection of God and the moral imperfection of his people. He is a perfect heavenly Father (blue) who rules with complete authority (purple) and demands sacrifice for sin (red). The clean and the unclean cannot mix.
Third, consider the form and nature of the tabernacle itself. It's portable! The entire structure was designed to be easily packed up, moved, and reset over and over again. This shows the desire of God to be with his people wherever they went. (This is why once they arrived "home" in Israel, they built a temple. They no longer needed to move about.)
But what does all this mean for me today? A few things actually! But to boil it all down, I'll give the Sunday School answer: Jesus.
I remember this passage: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19) Today, because of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice to cover with his perfect blood ALL of my sins, I no longer need a tabernacle. I no longer need a temple. I am the tabernacle. I am the temple. God in the power of his Holy Spirit is already dwelling in me.
Yes, the tabernacle's materials were rare and precious. But I am far more rare and precious to the Father who loves me.
Yes, the tabernacle's separation of holy and unholy was needed for us unholy humans to be close to a holy God. But with Jesus I am no longer unholy, but holy, no longer separated with God.
Yes, the tabernacle's design was to be portable, so God could move with his people. But my body is portable. And God living in me goes wherever I go.
The tabernacle was created as place for God to dwell on this earth for his people to worship him. Today, I am a living tabernacle. I am precious living dwelling for a holy God, who goes wherever I go. I am a house of worship. I am God's dwelling.
worship Him 24/7...