Summary: The shepherd's tent has great symbolism for our walk with God.
1. Sherlock Holmes' Stolen Tent
Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson are camping. After enjoying a day of relaxation, they pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson. "Watson, look up at the stars and tell me what you deduce."
Hoping to please his boss with his own brilliant reflections, Watson says, "I see millions of stars, and if even a few of those stars have planets, it is quite likely there are some planets like Earth, and if there are planets like Earth out there, it is reasonable to assume that there might be life on other planets."
Holmes stares hard at Watson for a minute and then says, "No, Watson, somebody stole our tent!" (Tom Kuntz, "The World's 'Funniest' Jokes," N.Y. Times (1-27-02)
Sometimes our most impressive reasoning doesn't lead to the right conclusions.
2. The Tent was part of the Bedouin lifestyle. [Slide of Bedouins
d. Preferable -- Prime Minister Begin wanted to give the Bedouins a better life and had Israel build them houses -- they put their animals in the houses and lived in the tents!
a. Abraham -- Genesis 18
b. Lot -- Genesis 13
c. God -- Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle)
4. In a way we are "tent people, too -- 2 Corinthians 5.1-5
I. Picture the Tent
A. Material -- Black Goat Hair
2. Could become almost water-tight by absorbing moisture
3. In dry season thinks to allow airflow between fibers
B. Set Up Facing East
1. Wake up; warmth
2. Cold desert nights
3. Roll up flaps in the morning -- Psalm 19.4-5
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
C. Directional Determinations
1. East = "Before you" in Semitic languages
2. North = "Left"
3. South = "Right"
4. West = "Behind you"
II. Purpose in the Tent
1. No Fear of Darkness -- reminder of evil [pin holes of light through black roof
a. Evil/darkness does occur (6th hour of the cross)
b. God is greater and covers his people with protection -- Psalm 27.5
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
2. Hospitality included protection
a. Lot with strangers in Sodom -- Genesis 19
b. Shem and Japheth -- Genesis 9.27
May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant."
[During the CW troops were near the front lines when darkness fell. The leaders decided that it was too dangerous to go on in the dark so they camped for the night. As the men were putting up their tents their officers would say, "Don't drive your stakes too deep, men, we move up in the morning."
1. The Hebrews had a pup-tent religion -- 40 years
2. Feast of Tabernacles was a reminder
3. We all have a temporary nature (James 4.14) -- what will we do while we are here?
C. Presence of God -- Tabernacle
1. God lived among his people in a tent -- Exodus 33.7-11
a. Contrast with the magnificent temples of the pagan gods
b. God permitted the temple David proposed but the tabernacle had been sufficient
5 "Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in?6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling.7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"' 2 Samuel 7.5-7
2. Jesus "tented" or "tabernacled" among us -- John 1.14
1. Flourishing of the upright -- Proverbs 14.11
The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
2. Collapsing the tent -- Death and Destruction -- Jeremiah 4.20