Bible Readings for October 3rd
In the beginning, God dwelt with his people in the temple of his creation—that is, in the perfection of the Garden of Eden. There, Yahweh walked among his people, who dwelt with their God without guilt and shame, in perfect intimacy and communion with him. Yahweh made his dwelling place in the midst of his people there until sin shattered that intimacy, forcing Yahweh to drive Adam and Eve out of the Garden and to place cherubim armed with flaming swords to guard the way back into Eden—and especially to guard the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). Ever since then, we have read about the gradual steps that Yahweh has taken to restore that intimacy with his people.
So, back in Exodus 25–31, Yahweh dictated to Moses the plans for the construction of the tabernacle. In those plans, Yahweh included detailed instructions about the courtyard, the two holy places, the furniture that should dwell in his house, the garments that the priests would wear as they ministered in the tabernacle, the material that should be used, and even the skilled craftsmen who would be filled with the Holy Spirit to lead the tabernacle’s construction. Through the tabernacle, Yahweh dwelt in the midst of his people, as the Israelites physically pitched their tents to surround the tabernacle (Num. 2).
For Yahweh to have a place for his holiness to dwell among his people, the tabernacle was a necessity, since it had been built specifically to be portable. The people of Israel moved from campsite to campsite, following the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, setting up the tent wherever they landed (Num. 10). But this arrangement had always been temporary. Moses spoke at multiple points in Deuteronomy of a specific place that Yahweh would choose to set his name (e.g., Deut. 12:5, 14:23, 26:2)—that is, a place where Yahweh would make a permanent dwelling place, rather than continuing to dwell in the portable tabernacle. David sought in 2 Samuel 7:2 to build this permanent house for Yahweh, but Yahweh told David that David’s son, instead, would build Yahweh’s permanent house in the temple.
We will continue studying the construction of Solomon’s temple tomorrow, but consider the breadth of the unfolding story of God’s word thus far. We have studied the whole scope of God’s story, from the creation of the cosmos to the construction of the temple, and all the while, we have inched closer and closer to the coming of God’s own Son into this world for the redemption of his people. This temple is a significant step forward, but even this will not be the pinnacle of history.
Today, spend time in prayer anticipating the day when Jesus Christ will permanently dwell with his people again, in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21:3).
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.