Todays readings.. Exodus 27, Psalm 81&82, Mark 12
“AS IT HAS BEEN SHOWN…”
In Exodus we are reading all the details of the construction of the tabernacle. This was to be the centre of worship for the Israelites for hundreds of years to come. All the detail of its’ construction and its’ measurements are given; this may seem rather boring to read – the precise material to be used, highlighting in particular where gold or silver was to be used. We may think, ‘why was all this detail given, including every small aspect of construction?
Today we read all the detail of the construction of the altar, the network of bronze, rings and poles, pots for the ashes, shovels, basins, forks and firepans ending with the comment to Moses [ch.27 v.8] “as it has been shown you on the mountain, so shall it be made.” So God was concerned with every little detail. Why?
Then we suddenly thought that this is the marvel of everything that God has created. In our lifetime there has been an enormous expansion of knowledge of every aspect of everything that exists. Charles Darwin considered the simple single cell to be the basic building block of life – but it is now known that life – down to the smallest particle that is not visible to the unaided human eye – is incredibly complex.
God is the great creator, so it was natural that he should give Moses fully detailed instructions about the tabernacle where the Levites would minister before him and the people would come into his presence for worship.
The chapter finishes with another command of God! To bring, “pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may burn regularly … it shall be a statute forever to be observed …” [v.20-21] Today some might note that the oil of olives is used, because it is a renewal energy source! Good, they would say, but in God’s method of operation nothing ever goes to waste – except those who have no time for their Maker – will be discarded as waste!
With the example of God’s precision of detail for the altar and tabernacle, we should reflect on the precision of detail when the new creation under Christ came into being. On Sunday in Mark we will read the words of Christ, “whoever believes and is baptised will be saved” [16 v.16]. But some do not think they need to understand and believe all that Jesus and his disciples taught (and what they wrote) and grasp the wonder of it all – and what is to come! They (and ourselves) will soon find out that it matters – what has been shown to us in God’s word!