Monday, July 23, 2007

The Tabernacle, The Temple, and the Temporal

Of late I have found that...yes, in fact, I am in a desert place! And I love it!

I believe that all of us will find ourselves in a desert place once in a while during our Christian walk. Typically when someone mentions the desert place they talk about being lost, lacking blessing in their life, not hearing from God, or life is just "blah."

That is not the type of desert place I am talking about. To me, the desert place is awesome because it is a place of obedience and learning. There is a period where the temporal dies off and that death helps us move into the promise. (Remember, it was a 11-13 day journey. The Isrealites took 40 years because of disobedience!)

Pondering my desert experience I began reading the Exodus account once again. I found something that I had seen, but never was amazed at.

In the desert place, the Isrealites were instructed to build the tabernacle. In the tabernacle was placed the golden ark of the covenant, and all of the golden items. They were placed in the Holiest of Holies and the Holy place.

The tabernacle was built of mostly temporary material; linens and animal skins. This made me think of the impressive temple in Jerusalem built under the guidance of Solomon.

The tabernacle in the desert seemed like ancient rice paper, ready to flitter apart at the touch compared to the columns of marble and large wooden doors of the temple. One so frail and imperfect; the other so strong immovable.

Then, the image of the golden ark and its trappings being transferred from the tabernacle into the temple moved me deeply.

The whole purpose of the tabernacle was to house the "seat of God", the mercy seat. The ark itself was priceless beyond measure for its skilled handiwork and golden exterior. Even more so, it was eternal because God's presence rested there.

All of this going on in the papyrus-like construction of the tabernacle. How temporary! How temporal! How un-eternal!

But this made me think of my own desert experience. Isn't it funny that God saw fit to put his priceless golden ark and eternal presence in a temporary shelter. The temple seems like a resurrected, permanent monument to the tabernacle which has passed away.

This is the desert experience: a place as frail as me where God sees fit to put His very best into. Eventually it will die and tatter away. Yet, soon it will resurrect anew; marble, solid and timeless. And God's presence will be preserved from the tabernacle of our bodies to the temple of our eternal selves.

This is my desert place. Lord, though I tatter with time, place your golden presence within me!!

No comments: