One of the most unique aspects of the Christian faith is the relationship between the people and their God. No other group of people can call their God father. No other god has died for the sins of its people. Because of our unique relationship, we have unique worship as well. But exactly how are we to worship? Can we take license with Father God and worship as we please, when we please? Is worship the three or four songs we sing before the main event – the sermon? Can we commune with God while fishing, or do we need to wear Sunday best and worship in a building? Does our music matter? Is it important to have fog machines and lights, or a pipe organ, or a worship band, or a 100 voice choir?
Last week we read about God’s instructions to Abraham regarding worship – he was to fear and obey God and withhold nothing, including his only son.
God gave another patriarch, Moses, specific instructions as well. Not only did Moses find out how to worship, but he also received the blueprint for a tabernacle – where to worship. We know the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God; He made sure to put the stuff in His Word that we would need for every aspect of our life, so we know that the detailed plans for the tabernacle were placed there for a reason. How can the tabernacle teach us about worship today?
Everything in the Bible points to one major event – the virgin birth, sinless life and voluntary death of Jesus Christ. Everything has to focus on that act of atonement because we are all sinners. The tabernacle was the dwelling place of God. God met and communicated with man at the tabernacle, and before Jesus, the sacrifices made at the tabernacle were the only way for man to atone for sins. The tabernacle’s detailed layout points to the way a sinful people were to approach the holy God before Jesus’ sacrifice. You will never look at the tabernacle the same way again.
And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. Ex 25:8-9 (ESV)
Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” Heb 8:1-5 (ESV)
We see that God told Moses to erect a tabernacle so God could come close to man – God wanted to come close to us even though we are sinners! After Christ’s death, we find that the tabernacle is merely a type and shadow of what is waiting for us in heaven.
Our God, the One who created the universe and everything in it, chose to come close to us and offer us the opportunity to commune with him. Have you ever noticed the astounding love God showed in that passage from Exodus? I usually begin to get a little glossy eyed when I get to the tabernacle design.
If you have the opportunity, read Exodus 40:17-38. I think you will be amazed to see how the tabernacle’s layout points to the way we should worship today (hint: it’s not about the music!)
See you Wednesday.