REAL LIFE expository study devotional 5 – The Making of the Nation of God 3: The Levitical Code of Worship and Separation.

Kponu, Dieovietoo Fabian

Day 2: God’s pattern of worship — a review

‘‘According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.’’ Exo. 25:9

Additional reading: Act. 7:14; Heb. 8:5

We are to respond to God’s great mercy shown towards us through a daily commitment of worship. This Paul said is the only logical thing expected of us as members of the congregation of the called out ones. However, God is not to be worshipped in our own pattern. If we must worship Him, it must be in true holiness and righteousness as reflected in His ideal pattern of worship in His congregation.

Having delivered His children from the place of sin and bondage, God went ahead to give them a pattern of how He was to be worshipped. This was necessary because the people needed to know that God was different from the idols of Egypt and other surrounding nations and as such should be worshipped differently — in His terms. God, therefore, took out the time to give Moses instructions — a layout plan of His place of worship, the instruments or furnishings as well as the way and manner He was to be worshipped. God also designed the clothing of His priests, chose them and spelt out their responsibilities. 

God began by telling Moses the kind of gifts His children were to take before Him. Then He expressed His desire to live in the midst of His children: ‘‘Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.’’ (V 8 WEB). ‘‘I also want them to build a special place where I can live among my people.’’ (CEV). God has always sought the fellowship of man right from creation. And having raised a people after Him, He again demonstrates His willingness to live in the midst of His children. With His desires known, He went on to describe the kind of place to be built for Him: ‘‘According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.’’

‘‘And let them make [asa … a primitive root; to do or make — do, dress, fashion, furnish, prepare] a sanctuary [miqdas …a consecrated thing or place]; that I may dwell [sakan … through the idea of lodging, to reside or permanently stay:- abide, dwell, have habitation, inhabit, lay, remain, rest, set, set up] among [tawek … from an unusual root meaning to sever; a bisection, i.e. (by implication) the centre:- among, amongst, between, half, in, therein, wherein, middle, midst, with, within] them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern [tabnit … structure; by implication a model, resemblance: – figure, form, likeness, pattern, similitude] of the tabernacle [miskan … a residence, the grave, also the temple; specifically the tabernacle (properly its wooden walls):- dwellet, dwelling, dwelling place, habitation, tent], and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

So God instructed Moses: Ask the people to prepare a holy place for Me for a habitation in the midst of My children. The tent of dwelling and all the vessels are to be according to the model I will show you — (Author’s words). ‘‘The people must make a sacred Tent for Me, so that I may live among them. Make it and all its furnishings according to the plan that I will show you.’’ (Exo. 25: 8-9 GNB). The tabernacle, therefore, was a place sacred, thus, dedicated for the presence of God. For this reason God had to give a precise description of how it was to be built or structured. May I also say that one reason why God insisted on high quality and precision is the fact that He wanted to express His greatness. And making it mobile was an expression of His desire to abide continually in the midst of His people. So, what were the things that made up the tabernacle?

The offering: Was to be freewill offering. Individuals were to decide what to give based on what God had requested — v 2.
The tabernacle: Was a sacred place of dwelling for God’s presence — a place set apart for God to dwell and meet with His children. The glory of God rested here and whenever God’s presence moved the camp of Israel moved. With this God led Israel for the years they wandered in the wilderness. It was the tabernacle of testimony as it contained the Ten Commandments. It was the place God made forgiveness of sins possible by the blood sacrifice of animals, which foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It points to a heavenly tabernacle where Christ, our High Priest lives forever and to God’s final redemption when God will abide with His children forever — v 9.

The ark: Made of Shittim (acacia) wood. Was a chest containing the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna and Aaron’s staff that budded. Over it was a cover called the Mercy seat with two carved Cherubim facing each other. The ark was placed in the most holy place called the Holy of holies, which was akin to God’s throne and where the high priest entered once a year, i.e. the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood for the people’s sins — v10.
The testimony: Was the stone on which was inscribed the Ten Commandments Moses received from God — v16.
The Mercy Seat: Also called the atonement cover was a symbol of God’s throne. On the Day of Atonement the high priest sprinkled blood of the sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of the people of the previous year. It is believed that the sprinkling of the blood of sacrifice was done in the shape of the cross — v17.

Cherubim: These were carvings of angelic beings surrounding God’s throne in heaven. They represented the worship of God, His presence and kingship among His people on earth — v18.
The table and showbread: It symbolized God as the Provider who gave them bread all their time in the wilderness. The showbread foreshadowed Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life — v23, 30.

The lampstand: Symbolized God as the light that guided them in their Exodus. A type of Christ, who is our light — v31-40
With all this done, God proceeded to give further instructions concerning the pattern of the tabernacle — His house, which must be built to His specification and taste. These included the curtains, the bars, veil, the Most Holy Place, the altar, and all other vessels including the garments for the priests needed for the worship of the LORD.

It is obvious that God was clearly telling His children that He is God; holy and righteous and anyone worshipping Him must do so in holiness, righteousness and in spirit. This explains why He asked for a holy place — consecrated, i.e. set apart to be prepared for Him, which will be His dwelling in the midst of His children with the priest offering daily sacrifices for the sins of the people so that they could worship Him.

It is interesting to know that God personally instituted the art of worship. Not only did He institute worship, He gave a model and this makes Him a partaker of our worship. Every item in God’s place of worship was consecrated — set apart for that purpose. In other words, every item performed a service, i.e. every item was a tool of worship.

God no longer dwells in houses or tabernacles built by hands and He no longer relies on material vessels, which were mere symbols of worship. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; He dwells in us and so we have now become His vessels of worship all because of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Just as those items were set apart for the worship of the LORD through the blood of goats, we have also been set apart for this same purpose. Therefore, we must deliberately in total submission and commitment present our bodies as aroma of worship to the LORD as He has patterned our lives to be. 

Meditation: Have I come to terms with God’s desire to use me as a vessel for His worship?

Prayer: I am ready to be used for Your worship; use me LORD.

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