Exodus 25

Exodus 25 begins a long speech from God to Moses in which instructions are given for the construction and fitting out of the tabernacle (=special tent). The nature and purpose of this tent become clearer over time, but an important clue is given in v.8 when God says that he will dwell among the people.

In one sense, God is everywhere. But he has already revealed his presence in a special way at Mount Sinai, and now he is promising to draw even closer - to dwell among his people as they leave Sinai and move from place to place. (Many scholars think that the tabernacle was intended to be a sort of 'portable Sinai' - to remind the people of what happened there and to enable them to continue to experience God's special presence.)

The tabernacle is a sign that God's banishment of Adam and Eve from his presence is not something which he wants to be permanent. Despite humanity's failings, God wants to draw close. Later, the Son of God would come to 'tabernacle' among us (the literal meaning of John 1:14), and one day in the future God himself will come to dwell among his people, and then there will no longer need to be any special tents or temples (Revelation 21:3, 22).

Like Moses, we at HHBC are in the process of constructing a special building, based on a blue-print (v.9). In our case the blue-print is man-made, and the building will serve a very different purpose to the tabernacle, because Jesus has made the tabernacle obsolete. 

But one similarity, which can encourage us as we see our new building starting to take shape in Sussex Road, is that it too is made from gifts which we have willingly offered to God (vv.2-7). God accepts the gifts we bring, and by his presence he gives them new significance.