When the Lord gave Moses the divine blueprint for the construction of the tabernacle, He instructed His servant to carefully build it according to the pattern he was given (Exodus 25:40), for it would serve as "the copy and shadow of the heavenly things" (Hebrews 8:5). The tabernacle was to provide a place where God might dwell among His people, and be a constant testimony of His presence among them no matter where they went. "And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it" (Exodus 25:8, 9). However, it was never meant to be a permanent dwelling place for the Lord, for "the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48). The Lord was teaching His people from the very beginning the lesson of what it meant to truly tabernacle with Him, so they would be prepared for the future day when He would tabernacle within them and they would never be without His presence.
"In My Father's house are many mansions;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and receive you to Myself;
that where I am, there you may be also."
(John 14:2, 3)
We all have a natural longing for a permanent and secure place. We spend our lives building and acquiring things, just so we will have something tangible and measurable and lasting to hold onto, and maybe in the process, leave our mark on the world. This is true, not just in material matters, but in spiritual matters also. In time, however, all our work will soon perish and turn to dust, and be forgotten - sometimes in an instant like was the case of Job's life. "How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth? They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; they perish forever, with no one regarding" (Job 4:19, 20). With each new crisis or trial, we are continually being reminded of our mortality and the temporal and fragile nature of our human existence. Through the lesson of the tabernacle, the Lord was constantly reminding His people that the only thing permanent and of lasting value in this life is their relationship with Him. As He faithfully guided them through the wilderness, He humbled them with "fasting" and daily provided them a "feast" of heavenly manna, so they would learn that their life was dependent upon Him alone. "...that you might know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3). Every step of their journey was met with new challenges and new opportunities for growth in their faith in the Lord; and each new victory brought them a little bit closer to the promise land. Along the way the Lord required His people to dismantle the tabernacle and suspend the priestly service until they settled in the next appointed place, so they would not be tempted to enshrine their worship by putting their God in a box, like all their idolatrous neighbors had done. Throughout history's turnings, the Lord has seen fit at appointed times to dismantle our human undertakings, in all manners of industry, government, and religion, to remind us that He is the One who is in control! When we see Him work on a global scale, as He has this past year, we need to give pause and pray, as we reverently consider and humbly submit to the miraculous plans He is executing, which requires His people to go through this necessary "undoing," in order that we might be prepared to receive an unexpected blessing like His servant Job did at the end of his trial. "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" Selah (Psalm 46:10,11)."Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together" (Psalm 34:3).
"For we know that if our earthy house, this tent,
is destroyed, we have a building from God,
a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring
to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened,
not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed,
that mortality may be swallowed up by life.
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing
is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee."
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5)