According to all that I am going to show you, [as] the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct [it].
When this verse comes along, Moses has come down from the mountain once and the people have entered into covenant with God. Now, Moses is back up on the mountain and God tells him to take up an offering of various materials for the tabernacle. I will later read that the people were so willing to give to this project that Moses had to tell the people that there was more than enough. Lots of pastors today would be thrilled with that problem. God has not even begun to describe the tabernacle before He makes clear to Moses that it needs to be built just so.
God seems awfully particular about the things He has the Israelites put together as parts of their worship accoutrements. And there is a reason for that. If I read the description of the tabernacle and sketch it out in my mind — or on paper, both work — then compare it to the scene of Heaven — particularly God’s throne room — that John sees in Revelation, then I find that the two are so similar as to beggar belief. And that is the core of why God commands that the tabernacle and its accoutrements be made according to all that I am going to show you … just so you shall construct it. God is, through the tabernacle and various other parts of the Israelites’ worship, giving a picture of what Heaven itself is like. Mess up the picture and you have a messed up idea of Heaven. Get the picture right and Heaven becomes a place that we can begin to understand.
The non-Jewish believer also has pictures that God has called out to illustrate aspects of our relationship with Him. Possibly God’s favorite pictures in the New Testament are those of the relationship between husband and wife and the relationship between father and child. If those relationships become dysfunctional, then we have marred the image of the relationship between God and His people. And damaging that image comes at a price. Our ability to witness; to tell others about God’s love for them is diminished. Our own ability to understand how God loves us is diminished.
Let me tend the pictures God has entrusted to me — my relationship with my wife and my relationship with each of my children. Let me be mindful that how those relationships are impacts how effective my witness is, how well I understand God’s love for me, and how well my wife and children understand God’s love for them. It is a weighty burden, but well worth bearing.
Father, thank You for the pictures You have provided to illustrate the things that are too big for me to understand without help. Please teach me to tend the pictures You have entrusted to me and to be found diligent in so doing.