Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7 – Exodus 25-27

Today’s reading comes from Exodus 25-27. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word.
The Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle would have been an impressive sight to see. God was very specific in the instructions he gave for its construction, and rightly so. The Ark of the Covenant was the very representative of God amongst the people of Israel. It was his physical manifestation. The Tabernacle, which was a mobile Temple, created nearly five-hundred years before Solomon’s Temple, was the home of God amongst the people because that is where the Ark of the Covenant was kept.

God was very specific in his direction for how the Ark was to be built. It was also grand and beautiful. Some believe it was one of the greatest pieces to ever be built in the ancient world. I think we get a great glimpse into whom God is and that he takes beauty and care very important. God wanted his residence to be beautiful. He wanted it to be of precise construction. He wanted it to be of the finest materials. God wanted his home to be the best that any human could make it.

By the time Jesus is living on the earth the Tabernacle is no longer in use. Under Solomon the first Temple is built. The Babylonians destroy Solomon’s Temple and nearly seventy years later it is reconstructed under the leadership of Ezra. During King Herod’s reign the temple is expanded and remolded. During Jesus day it is the third rendition of the Temple. By this time thought the Ark of the Covenant has been lost. Even though the Ark is lost, this huge and massive Temple is still the home of God; it is his physical representation among the people. But when Jesus died on the cross something happened at the Temple … “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” Matthew 27:50-51 NIV84. The curtain separated the Holy of Holies … the most holy place that a priest got to enter once a year … from the rest of the temple. In essence God has left his temple saying its purpose is now over; there is no need for this curtain to separate man from what was once the Holy of Holies.

God no longer resided in the beautiful, ornate, and well crafted temple. He wanted something that was beautiful and majestic, but this time it did not come in gold and stone, but in flesh and bones. Paul tells us that in Christ we are now the Temple of God. In Christ God has taken up residence in our hearts … “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV84. In Christ we are now the Holy of Holies. So I wander how much God cares about the physical appearance and health of his Temple today?

If he cared enough nearly thirty-five hundred years ago when he gave Moses the instructions to erect the Tabernacle and the Ark, I believe he cares enough now. As people who are the Temple of God, I believe we have a responsibility to care for God’s Temple. I believe we have reason to invest into our appearance. I am not saying we need to define beauty the way the world does. I am not saying we need to spend money we do not have. I am not saying we need to be on the cutting edges of fashion. But proper care for the body regarding health, whether our appearance is sloppy or not, and those kinds of things, I think to some degree they matter. Remember God seemed to care when he created the Tabernacle and Ark, and I think to some degree he cares today as well. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

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