Day 19

Wednesday, March 10
Exodus 30-31

Have you ever attempted to read the Bible cover-to-cover? If you have, you know that starting with Genesis is easy and entertaining -- it covers the Creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, and Joseph, whose saga and elaborate cloak inspired Broadway. Then, the epic saga continues in Exodus where you meet Pharaoh, Moses, and the Israselites, and God sends the infamous 10 plagues, drowns Pharaoh’s army in the sea, and delivers The Ten Commandments. The screenplay writes itself.

After all the excitement and theatrics, God then takes a practical turn and begins instructing Moses how to build and operate the tabernacle. Some of the intricacies and seemingly quirky requirements are interesting, especially since our modern churches don’t resemble this tabernacle in the slightest. But, it doesn’t make for good bedtime reading. You won’t find this part in Sunday School, and unless you’re an Indiana Jones fan, you may not find this part very compelling.

So why not skip it, or at least skim over the boring “1x1x2 cubits” blueprints, and go straight to the part about the golden calf?

Let’s not forget WHY the Israelites needed to build the tabernacle. Before God sent Jesus into the world to dwell with us, and before he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, the only way for the Israelites to experience God’s presence was in the tabernacle.

Reading the detailed instructions for the tabernacle should give us an appreciation of our personal access to God without the need for buildings or rituals. He is with us always, no matter our location or circumstance.

This Lent, we can also strengthen our own spiritual practices by adopting some of the concepts of the tabernacle: setting aside a special place to experience God; offering up our own time, talents, and wealth as sacrifices; purifying ourselves through confession and repentance; lighting candles as a sign of God’s presence in our midst; and lighting incense when we offer up our prayers.

In life, as in reading the Bible, it’s tempting to skip over the “boring” parts, but sometimes it’s in those parts that God is at work, even now, in this wilderness.

Reflection by Amy Sanders

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