You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me continually.
Among the articles in the tabernacle is a table meant for doing nothing more that displaying a bit of bread. The table is approximately 1.5 ft. × 3 ft. (l) × 3 ft. (h) and made of the same wood as the ark and likewise covered in gold. The dimensions are interesting to me because the height is such as to require no effort at all to place the bread on the table. The top of the table is nearly at the height one would carry the bread in the first place.
For little more color on this particular article, Numbers 4:7 instructs that the bread not be removed from the table when the camp gets up and goes. The table is covered with the bread still on it and carried along as it is. Leviticus 24:5-9 gives instruction on how the bread is to be prepared.
Normally, bread brings me back to Christ — the Bread of Life — but there are twelve (12) bread cakes on the table and only one Christ. Since the tabernacle is a picture of God’s throne room in Heaven, it then stands to reason that I should be able to find something that parallels this table in John’s vision in Revelation. And I think I do. In Revelation 4:4, John sees 24 thrones surrounding the throne of God in Heaven and elders sitting on those thrones. While I realize that 24 is twice as many thrones as there are cakes on the table, I also know that John’s vision is after the new covenant of grace had been established by Christ at the cross. Moreover, more than a few teachings I have heard on that passage in Revelation indicate that the thrones are split between elders of the old covenant and elders of the new.
What has any of this to do with me and how I live my life today? At a glance, it would appear that it does not hold any particular application. I mean, there are only 24 thrones which means only 12 spots open for people who spend all of their time in the immediate presence of God; sitting face-to-face with Him. Which is interesting, because the word translated Presence in this morning’s verse literally means Face. These 12 or 24 always see God’s face. Always.
But I am drawn back to the idea of the height of the table. It is no effort or labor of man that puts that bread there. Sure, it had to be turned from grain to flour to bread, then carried to the table and set there, but those are all things that would have happened just going on about one’s day-to-day activities at that point in history. There was no special effort or cumbersome labor involved. To enter the presence of God; to see His face is not by some herculean effort on my part, but something that should be a part of my day-to-day activities. It should be as normal as preparing a meal and setting it on the table. No real work there. In fact, I enjoy cooking when I have the time to do it. So, too, entering into the presence of God should be a joy to me.
Not all of this is in the table of the show bread. Much of it is my own take on things and cannot be considered doctrine in any shape or form. That said, the psalmist tells me to enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving in my heart and to enter His courts with praise. I am meant to revel in coming into the presence of my God. If something is so pleasant, why would I not want it to be a daily occurrence; as normal as preparing and eating a meal?
One other thing about bread: it is common food. Bread was a staple food when this was written. So God was not commanding that they bring Him anything that they would not eat themselves. He told them to make and bring the staple of their diet; the thing that sustained them and to set it before Him. Am I bringing God the things and people that sustain me? Do I pray for my employer? Do I pray for my wife? Do I pray for my friends? Do I pray to God and consider what He would have me do when using my finances? Do I set before God what sustains me?
Last thing: the bread was for the high priest and the other priests to eat. Jesus is my High Priest and therefore all of my sustenance is His. As I considered the passage about the show bread, I thought of the times that Jesus had a few loaves of bread — probably very similar to these cakes — and fed thousands with them. When one’s sustenance was placed into the hands of God, it became enough to sustain many. If I place what sustains me in God’s hands, He will not withhold what I need, but will fill me until I can be filled no more — that is what happened with loaves and fishes. Do I trust Him enough to give Him my little and see what He will make of it?
Father, thank You for this symbol; this picture of what is in Your presence, before Your throne. Please help me to understand the things You want me to from this picture; to take away the lessons You have for me and to live them out today and every day.