When you were a kid, did you ever have a situation where you invited guests over, only to have your mom freak out about the condition of the house. You know what I mean. You invited a couple friends to hang out at your house. They had been to your house a dozen times. But when you told your mom they are coming, she made you clean your room, vacuum the family room, and take out the trash. You told her, “Mom, don’t make a big deal of it. These are just my friends.” But her reply was, “I don’t want anybody coming into this house when it looks like a rat hole!”
How do you think your mom (or wife now, if that is your place in life) would respond if the telephone rang and President Obama was on the phone, and he said, “I’m going to be in the neighborhood and I think I’ll drop by to see you. How about dinner at your house?” After coming to, and picking herself off the floor, the next step would be to mobilize the family to get the house absolutely perfect. You would clean every corner of the house, and probably wax the toilet seat. The family would begin working on the perfect meal, and do everything possible to make sure the President felt welcome, and that the house was worthy of the guest.
As you read this chapter, you probably struggled with all of the details. God seems to go overboard as he explains the specifics about how the Tabernacle is to be built. God gives detailed instructions about every jot and tiddle of this tent. He tells them how many curtains to hang, where to put the lamp stands, how many animal skins to use, how many loops on the curtains. In fact, the next three chapters will be filled with more details about the building of the Tabernacle and the clothing for the priests.
As you read it, you may have thought, “Why does it matter how many loops in a curtain?” But the detail in the building of the Tabernacle points to a greater truth that you need to understand. The Tabernacle was to be the dwelling place of God. It would be the place where God’s presence would be manifest among the people. And if God is going to dwell among people, His house needed to be absolutely perfect. They needed to do everything the way God planned it so that God’s dwelling place would make God welcome and that His house was worthy of the guest.
In the New Testament, we learn that the dwelling place for God is now the heart of those who know Him. Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19 that, “Your body is the temple (or tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit.” This means that the presence of God is within you, if you are a follower of Jesus. He dwells in your life, makes himself known to you. Our goal is to live in such a way that He feels welcome and that my life is a house worthy of the Guest. And the Bible is just a specific and detailed about how I can fashion my life in order to make Christ feel welcome. So as you read the next few chapters in Exodus, remember that God is giving details about making His dwelling, and they need to be followed completely, so that the Tabernacle worthy of the dweller.