Summary: Where does worship fit in with God’s plan for His people?
‘Sanctuary’ – A holy place; a place set apart for sacred uses
‘that I may dwell among them’ – to abide or lodge where the people are
Why now? Why did God choose this time to make a ‘place to dwell’ among the people?
I. The Journey of the People
1. Egypt is always a symbol of the world
2. As slaves in Egypt they were not free to choose their own God
3. Many of the people had been born in captivity in Egypt and had never known God
B. God begins His deliverance of Israel (Exodus 3-14)
1. Prayers of the people
2. Call of Moses
3. The Plagues
4. Passover Instituted
5. Crossing the Red Sea
C. God provides for the People (Exodus 16-18)
1. Manna from Heaven
2. Water from the rock
3. Deliverance from the Amalekites
4. Basic organization
D. God sets down His standards (Exodus 20-24)
1. Ten Commandments
2. Laws concerning sacrifices (pre-Tabernacle)
3. Laws concerning Servants
4. Laws concerning Violence
5. Animal control laws
6. Responsibility for property
7. Moral and ceremonial laws
8. Law of Sabbaths
9. Three annual feasts
10. Israel agrees to abide by these regulations
God performs all these works on behalf of the children of Israel. Numerous times He has commanded them to ‘not draw near’ to Him (His glory would consume them). But His desire is to have fellowship with them; to ‘dwell among them.’ He has demonstrated His love indirectly to them by performing the above acts. He has earned their praise; but they have no real avenue to give thanks or praise back to Him.
II. The Timing of the Tabernacle
A. It was not built in Egypt
1. We cannot worship God being people ‘of the world’ (Egypt)
2. We were enslaved by sin and had no freedom to ‘choose’ God
3. Having been born in sin, we were ignorant of God
B. It was not built in Canaan
1. Canaan in the Bible is a type of Heaven (the Promised Land)
2. The Tabernacle was a figure of the true Temple (first in the Land, ultimately, for us, in Heaven)
3. The Tabernacle (and later, the Temple) were types of the ultimate Temple in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5)
4. Our worship in Heaven will be permanent and perfect
a. The Tabernacle was always taken down and moved elsewhere
b. While perfect in details, it was still just a glorified tent
C. It was built in the Wilderness
1. In Egypt no fellowship was possible, and therefore, no worship
2. In Canaan, a more permanent arrangement was made (Temple); just as in Heaven
3. The Tabernacle was for a people on the move, as pilgrims in the desert. We have been delivered from slavery in Egypt, but we have not yet arrived in Canaan.
4. While in the wilderness we are totally dependant upon God for protection, guidance, food, and most of all, security. That security does not come through the ‘things’ that God provides, but through His presence.
In this age of grace, the redeemed have been delivered from darkness and bondage and translated into the “kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13), but they have not yet “apprehended that for which they were apprehended in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). They await entrance into His everlasting kingdom, and meantime in the wilderness of this world live for and worship Him “whom, having not seen, they love” (1 Peter 1:8).