Summary: Making sense of this text in light of today’s spirituality.
HOW MEETING GOD IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT GOING TO TIBET
by Andrew Chan, PBC August 22, 2001.
Ex. 25:1-9 (NLT)
The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel that everyone who wants to may bring me an offering. 3 Here is a list of items you may accept on my behalf: gold, silver, and bronze; 4 blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen; goat hair for cloth; 5 tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; 6 olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; 7 onyx stones, and other stones to be set in the ephod and the chestpiece.
8 “I want the people of Israel to build me a sacred residence where I can live among them. 9 You must make this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the plans I will show you.
All the rage these days in spirituality of world, to meet God in the mountain, and Tibet seems to be in vogue. Just today in an afternoon talk show, a western Tibetan monk told her spiritual retreat of 12 years on a mountain. The interviewer seems so caught up, enraptured with it. Let’s look at another meeting on a mountain. Pick up story on Ex.24:18 Moses entered the cloud of God on the mountain…
Text assumes a meeting with God is possible because…
1. GOD SPEAKS: “The LORD said to Moses” Ex.24 - Moses approaches God alone on the Mt.Sinai (v.2) and wrote down everything God said to him (v.4) tells of a very close intimate time “saw God” along with the elders (v.10-11) and he entered the cloud of God on the mountain (v.18). Special time of God’s self-disclosure/revelation. – speaks volumes of God’s willingness to fellowship with humanity when He could have easily dismissed them or plan a different route/people to deal with, as He discloses His special provision for a sinful people to approach Him. Special time of hearing God speaks in contrast to mute idols.
2. GOD INVITES: “Tell the people of Israel that everyone who wants to may bring me an offering” - In NIV “whose heart prompts him to give.” God invites, does not coerce or threaten. Tabernacle of God is to built with people offering from their heart. It is to be an act of worship. Not for the sake of gathering materials. Building of tabernacle is done thru’ freely given materials. In response to the generous offer of God who rescued them from slavery in Egypt, carried them on eagles wings to be His special chosen treasured people (Ex.19:3-6). In same manner, in NT Paul urges his readers to give a proper offering of their lives… Rom.12.1:2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
3. GOD PROVIDES A SPECIFIC WAY: Look at the specific instructions. To approach a holy God apart from His revealed way is pure folly. Unless God provides, we will be lost. In NT Jesus is today the specific WAY (John 14:6).
So we can conclude that God has a willingness to meet with people, to tabernacle, to dwell. The text also assumes the meeting is mediated through the regularized disciplines of a community of faith – the tabernacle will be the place where God will receive the worship of Israel mediated by priests. V.8-9 suggests that through human skill and excellence people will follow the pattern that is shown by God. This is a picture of how God desires human response and responsibility in building the tabernacle. Of course, God could have by “magic” make one appear. But no, He inspired folks to build it (Ex.31:3). Today He too involves people in building His church (Eph.4:7-16). We are not an insignificant blip on God’s radar screen. We’ve got a job to do. This is God’s offer to a displaced, lost people. Today the same offer of grace to lost people, displaced by fear sin, the cares of world, is given. The invitation to come home, to be part of something significant, where God will tabernacle with His people is still valid. Can you see God’s willingness to meet with people through Christ (John 1:14). God is willing to come home to people, where words of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, peace, love and joy are found in abundance . They are offered to all who bring the offering of their lives. You can find the final fulfillment of this spiritual reality in Rev.21:1-4.
So do u think we need to go to Tibet to meet with God?