Alright, first let me just say that I fully well expect to offend some of you who are reading this. And please know that my intent is not to offend but to share what I feel God has laid on my heart. And know also, that I’m not judging you…you don’t have to respond unless you want to. God convicted my heart of a few things and that led to a conversation with Him that I felt led to share here. But I’ve mulled over it for a few days just to be sure and it just won’t leave me. And, several things I’ve read and studied lately, not to mention the state of this world, I feel have confirmed much. So…..
I’ve been studying a lot lately about the tabernacle…Moses’ tabernacle to be exact. God gave Moses specific instructions on how to set up the tabernacle – you can find them in Exodus 40. I hope to go into greater detail on each thing at some point later, but for now just to give you the general idea if you aren’t really familiar with it. The tabernacle had an outer and inner courts and the Holy of Holies. You entered the outer courts through the gate and in the outer courts you’d find the brazen altar and the brazen laver. The brazen altar was a place for sacrifices. The brazen laver was a basin with water for washing the hands and feet before entering the inner courts. Upon entering the inner courts, you’d find the table of shewbread, the golden lampstand, and the altar of incense. The next place would be the Holy of Holies where you’d find the Ark…and the presence of God.
The brazen altar was a place of submission…a place of sacrifice. The brazen laver was a place of cleansing. Before the priests could enter into the Holy of Holies or handle any of the utensils in the inner courts, they must have washed their hands and feet in the brazen laver. The table of shewbread was symbolic of communion…the table of Grace. The lampstand contained oil (which represents the Holy Spirit) and it had nine branches. Incidentally, there are nine fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) and nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Also in the inner courts was the altar of incense. This incense was symbolic of the prayers and intercession of the people of God. The next step in would be the most holy place…beyond the veil to the place where God dwelt.
Obviously there’s a ton I’m leaving out here, but for the purpose of this post, I just wanted to give you an overview. Honestly, I have to admit that prior to my recent studying, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about all this myself.
So, the main thing I’ve realized in all this is besides the fact that God is AH-MAZING is that it is all a process. You couldn’t move from one place to the next in the tabernacle without having first passed through the things before it. You couldn’t just go busting up into the Holy of Holies. And remember now that it was God Himself who gave Moses the layout. And you know that God is never this specific without having a purpose greater than just the obvious. The people needed a way to worship God, to make retribution for sin. But all this was also a foreshadowing for us of what it’s like to truly worship the Lord.
And here’s the part where I may step on toes. (Believe me, mine are already squashed.) We can’t get to God without going through Jesus. Jesus said Himself that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that nobody gets to the Father without going through the Son (John 14:6). Jesus is the gate. Now for those of us who are believers, we have been through the Gate. But what happens once we get in there? Can you truly live into all God has for you without submitting yourself to Him? But we sure try don’t we? We think we can tip toe past that brazen altar with our own will in a vice grip. What about the brazen laver? Ephesians 5:25-27 instructs husbands to wash their wives in the water of the word. The Father wants the same for the Bride of Christ…that we would be washed in the water of the Word so that we may be made holy. But how many of us think that we can live for Jesus and hardly ever crack open a Bible? How many of us think we can fully function in our calling and yet be ignorant to the Word of God? And the table of the shewbread…literally the “bread of the face.” We count ourselves in the ranks of the Godly, but when’s the last time we sat down at His table and communed with Him. And I don’t mean the bread and the cup on the fourth Sunday of every month. I mean sitting before the Father with gratitude for the broken body and the spilled out blood that made us whole and redeemed. I mean joining the Lord in fellowship – in relationship. And then there’s altar of incense….the prayers of the saints. How many mornings do we get up and barely even acknowledge the Father? How many opportunities are we given the pray for others and don’t? How many times to we think beyond our own needs and truly take time to lift the name of a friend up to the Throne of Grace?