Focal passage: Exodus 39:42-43; 40:4, 34-38
Tradition holds that one must follow certain rules of etiquette when addressing a member of the royal family.
In America, we expect our citizens to observe a well-established protocol when handling our nation’s flag. Those things and figures to whom we have pledged our allegiance carry with them a glory imbued by the people, whether deserved or not.
God is different.
God’s glory is a part of His nature. Any allegiance to Him is deserved, and He sets the protocol for all who might dwell in His presence. The formalities are actually acts of grace whereby He secures the good of sinful people in the enjoyment of His person.
Because of their sin, it was necessary and for the good of the Israelites that He establish such detailed plans regarding the tabernacle. Their obedience to those plans would mean an audience with the God of heaven who would personally and providentially guide the nation in the way she should go.
For the believer, Christ is the perfect tabernacle. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
The protocol for enjoying God’s presence now is nothing more or less than union with Jesus by His Spirit.
Then we too become a tabernacle although in a different sense. First Corinthians 3:16 reads, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
We are united with Him and partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 2:4), but we are not, ourselves, divine. His Holy Spirit lives inside us and guides us, in much the same way God led the Israelites through cloud and fire. And Christ’s perfect obedience allows us to enjoy God’s presence without fear.
Even still, while God’s presence never leaves us, to the extent that we are walking in the Spirit, we enjoy that presence more and more. Therefore, walk in obedience to His commands, not for faith but from faith, for the good of your soul to the glory of His name.