It doesn’t take long for my eyes to glaze over when I read sections of Scripture like this one in Exodus 36:
“Fifty loops were made along the edge of the end sheet in one set, and fifty loops along the edge of the corresponding sheet in the other set. Fifty bronze clasps were made with which the tent was joined so that it formed one whole . . . . Boards of acacia wood were made as walls for the Dwelling [Tabernacle]. The length of each board was ten cubits, and the width one and a half cubits. Each board had two arms, fastening them in line . . . (Exodus 36:17-23).
Really, does anyone care how many clasps, loops, boards, and sheets were used to construct the Tabernacle in the wilderness? Does anyone care if each board was ten by one and a half cubits?
And what’s a cubit, anyway?*
For a people who spent generations slogging through mud pits to make bricks for Pharaoh’s empire, such precision and detail must have seemed somewhere between burdensome and tedious.
Then I noticed something I’d not seen in my many times reading through these “better-than-a-sleeping-pill” chapters. Every loop had its place. Every socket a reason. Every curtain and hammered blossom, every length of thread and slice of wood, each had a specific purpose. And each has a critical lesson for the 21st century reader.
The New Testament Scriptures tell us God is building His followers into a holy dwelling called the Church. “Do you not know,” wrote St. Paul to the Christians at Corinth, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
In the same way God meticulously orchestrated the construction of his desert dwelling, He is now, today, orchestrating with equal precision the construction of His Dwelling – the Body of Christ. Just as each board and clasp and loop held an important place in the former Tabernacle, today each member of Christ’s Body – the Church – fills a necessary role and function.
Leader and laity, professionals and paraprofessionals, rich and poor, healthy and not-so-healthy, across cultures, nations, languages, occupations, and backgrounds . . . the Master Carpenter knows where each one of us fits into His Dwelling – and He sets us there with meticulous precision in the right place.
And for the right reason.
Trust Him. He knows what He is doing.
* A cubit is approximately 1.5 feet
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