Day 17

Monday, March 8
Exodus 26-27

Let’s level with one another for a second: if you’re reading through the second half of Exodus, you’re in some pretty dense and altogether BORING reading. I feel like it’s good to name that on the front end. This is the part of the Bible where people reading the Bible in a year start to veer off course around the end of January. Because there’s no action. There are no whales swallowing people or teenagers slaying giants. It’s floor plans. Chapter upon chapter of floorplans. And if you’re anything like me, an IKEA instruction manual is about all the diagrams and material lists you can muster.

And yet, all of these intricate details are here in Exodus. We get the Israelite slaves being set free and Moses getting the Ten Commandments, only to be followed by… measurements and shopping lists. And I have to imagine for the Israelites, this would’ve been overwhelming. There were a lot of details and particulars and precise measurements. I like to think of myself as more of a big picture guy, so these tedious little details are not my forte, and quite frankly, I feel like I might have cratered under the pressure of getting it all right, if I didn’t fall asleep listening to the instructions in the first place.

Well I wouldn’t be alone. You see, these blueprints were for designing and building the tabernacle. Now, this wasn’t your average church building or tent. The tabernacle was something a little more important. God had just set the Israelites free from slavery, and God had promised to be with them. So the tabernacle was where God was going to dwell among them. That’s not small potatoes. That’s the God of the universe coming to dwell among God’s people. If I were there, maybe that wouldn’t up the ante on the attention to detail.

Years later, when the Israelite people had settled in Jerusalem as their capital, God instructed them to build a temple. In essence, it was to be the permanent tabernacle, a place for God to dwell among God’s people. King David wasn’t allowed to build it, so he was giving the instructions to his son Solomon. And you know what happened, after a laundry list of materials and dimensions, I imagine Solomon was nodding off just like I would’ve been. Or, as a teenager, he was feeling WAY out of his depth. Sensing this, David stopped the instructions, and offered his son this wisdom in 1 Chronicles 28:20, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He’ll neither let you down or leave you before all the work for the service of the Lord’s temple is finished.”

When the weight feels too heavy and the to-do list feels too long, remember David’s words to Solomon. They haven’t become less true with time.

Reflection by Martin Leathers

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