Our Old Testament reading today provides eye-wateringly detailed descriptions of the building of the tabernacle and the elements contained within. Not only so, much of it is repeated information from earlier in Exodus (re-read chapters 25-30)! The materials were expansive and expensive – over a ton of gold, 4 tons of silver and 2.5 tons of bronze (New Bible Commentary), not to mention all the curtain materials!
What do we make of this? Is it recorded here in detail so that we can attempt to reconstruct the Tabernacle out on the FAC floodplain? As interesting a spectacle that this might be, I don’t think the detailed and repeated instructions are there for reconstruction purposes – I think that perhaps they are there to show that God is interested in the detail of his plans, and clearly this is important detail as the Tabernacle was to be the dwelling place of God as his people wandered in the wilderness. Can you imagine, the God of the universe, who called forth light from darkness, is interested in the intricate detail of the curtains and lampstands for his earthly dwelling place? God of the infinite and God of the detail – God over all creation. He not only knows and directs the detail of the tabernacle, he knows our detail, he knows our lives, he knows me… he knows you. As the Psalmist says ‘before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely’! (Ps 139:4).
God’s plans for the Tabernacle are almost overshadowed in our reading from Luke today which reveals some detail in God’s unbelievable plan to rescue us. We would do well to slow down and meditate on these passages as we head into Easter.
Here, starkly, we see the anguish of Jesus, sweat running from his brow like drops of blood, asking the Father to ‘take this cup from me’, yet remaining obedient to the Father’s will. He is betrayed by both his sleepy disciples and by Judas’ kiss. I can’t imagine.
The God of the universe, who called light from darkness and the one who cares about the words on my lips – allows betrayal of his son unto death, by mortal man. This betrayal was part of the detail of His plan. It is a sobering and poignant dichotomy and to my human mind, quite unfathomable. Moreover, this was always his plan. His plan was always to rescue his people through Jesus betrayal, torture, death and resurrection. From the beginning of time, through creation, the exodus and building of the tabernacle, God’s redemptive plan was at work, through Jesus, in order to bring us back into to Him. May we never gloss over the details of how His redemptive purposes were brought about in Jesus!
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18)