God created the world in just six days.
Yet took forty days to explain the creation of the tabernacle to Moses.
One chapter in Genesis transforms vast darkness into a world filled with all kinds living creatures.
Yet six chapters in Exodus are needed for laying out the specifics of God’s dwelling place with the Israelites.
The tabernacle mattered to God,
and He wanted the Israelites to get it right.
For the first time since walking with Adam and Even,
God was making a way for His presence to become part of daily life in the wilderness.
He wants to be part of my daily life too.
Not just a God who sits on His throne saying,
“Do this but don’t do that,”
but a God who feels what I feel and
goes where I go.
So what can I learn from Exodus this morning?
I’m not planning to chop down acacia wood to build an ark of the testimony.
Or form a mercy seat out of pure gold.
The details of the tabernacle go on and on.
All kinds of utensils.
The building of the tabernacle was no small task.
God’s presence required effort.
And here I sit,
sipping hot tea.
Hoping to encounter Him.
Longing to feel His presence.
Who do I think I am?
I read the verses in these chapters again,
researching online commentaries along the way,
wanting to understand why the tabernacle was so elaborate and what it all meant.
But no amount of study can ever come close
to the work done by Bezalel and his helpers
as they shaped and formed this Old Testament home for the Almighty.
So what am I doing today to prepare myself for God’s presence?
There seemed to be a pattern for reaching Him back then.
First the altar, then the basin, then the Holy of Holies.
Every single time.
There was no way to meet with Him without following these steps.
Maybe that’s it.
Maybe that’s what God is saying to me this morning.
Do you want to meet with Me?
If so, lay down your life.
Place your all on the altar.
Give your life to me.
Then examine it closely.
What needs to be washed?
The basin the priests used to cleanse themselves was made from the bronze of a mirror of all things.
He made the bronze basin and its stand from the bronze mirrors of the women
who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
Not many things are mentioned so specifically in the creation of this holy place.
So I pause and think.
Why is this verse here?
Why is the former use of a material mentioned and why are the ones who donated it mentioned too??
Mirrors were the only way to see what others saw.
These women must have cared about what the world saw in them.
Yet they visited the tent of meeting enough to know there were something that mattered even more.
Their reflection only matter when it led to cleansing.
Is this what happens when we spend enough time near God?
We learn what matters.
We come to realize what can be traded in for something even better.
We seek holiness over acceptance.
We begin to wash away every part of us that is flawed instead of holding on to something that just reminds us of what’s there.
A basin trumps a mirror every day.
Better to wash something off then just examine it and walk away.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says
is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and,
after looking at himself,
goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
I wonder if the priests ever caught a glimpse of their reflection in the basin as they washed their hands.
I think they did.
I think God wanted to remind them of their imperfect humanity before they stepped into His perfect presence.
I need to be reminded of mine too.
So I lay down my imperfect life this morning,
trusting God to do the rest.
Cleanse me, O God.
Then I step into His presence.
I didn’t need to wait for Him to arrive.
He was patiently waiting for me all along.
I just had to lay down my mirror.
And turn to my basin.
He took six days to create the world
and He’s taken 53 years to work on me……….
but He’s still not finished.
(Today’s reading was Exodus 37 – 40)