Reading: Exodus 29, Corinthians 3
“And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them.” -Ex. 29:43
In Exodus 39 we read of the construction of the priestly garments and the tabernacle. And to no one's surprise, the priestly garments and the tabernacle were made according to the specifications that God had given to Moses earlier in Exodus. God commits a large portion of the Torah to laying out the blueprints for how the children of Israel were to worship, dress, eat, work and live. Just like His pattern for the tabernacle and the priestly garments, God's instructions for life were to be done “just as the Lord commanded.”
As an architect, God is fairly inflexible. This is a great frustration to us creative genius types. We don't want to be micro-managed. We want to be free to take God's blueprint for living and tweak it to work for us. I have no artistic skill or sense of esthetic but I am sure that if I was building the tabernacle or the priestly clothes I would want to have a little wiggle-room to get creative or “have fun with it.” (Maybe instead of pomegranate, bell, pomegranate, bell, pomegranate, etc . . . we could throw in a couple of rainbows or a sea horse.) Yet despite God entrusting the job to skillful artisans, He seemed to orchestrate the process so as to create exactly what He wanted.
When God created the world, He did so independently. He didn't outsource the job to mother nature or skillful artisans, but rather made the heavens and earth by His own “hand” and according to His own pattern. Untold years later human beings are still studying this earth and attempting to unlock the meaning of the universe.
The other day my two year old son and I were playing with play-dough together. We collaborated together on some turtles before I realized that if I wanted to make anything that could be described as more than “a wad” I was going to have to do it independently. I could understand why God may wish to do His own decorating for His earthly dwelling place, the tabernacle. Or why God may wish to be in charge of determining how his priests are to dress or His people behave or His universe function. What I find especially fascinating is that God, who has very particular preferences about everything, would allow His people any opportunity at all to participate in His creative process.
Why do you think that God “outsourced” these jobs to Israel? Is He like a Father, taking pleasure in the scribblings of His children? Then why does He make rules for how His children are to scribble? Or is it that the real work that God was doing was not building an earthly tabernacle to live in, but rather creating an obedient heart that would be His tabernacle? What does it say about our God that He could make something so amazing and specific using such naturally contrary hands? What divine truths are hidden in God's incredibly specific patterns?