This past weekend our family was away at a church conference and it was awesome. It was such a re-calibrating time for me and I got so much from the speaking. I don’t think I can share everything I enjoyed, but I will share one thing that really impressed me and that I’ve been mulling over ever since Saturday.
In reading the Bible, you can say that the Old Testament is full of pictures and that the New Testament provides us the captions for those pictures. As the saying goes, a picture is often better than a thousand words. Last weekend I was impressed by the picture of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, not so much by the details concerning it, but by it’s location. When the Children of Israel left Egypt, God gave Moses the blueprint for the tabernacle while he was on Mt. Sinai. God was very specific in His instructions on how to construct it and He left nothing to man’s imagination. Once the tabernacle was built, it was placed in the center of the camp. All the tribes arrayed themselves around it and the Levites and serving priests encamped around it and took care of it. When it was first erected, God’s glory immediately filled it and whenever that cloud of glory was taken up, the Israelites would pack up the tabernacle and follow it until it settled again. In a sense you could say their whole life revolved around the tabernacle.
What was the tabernacle? It was basically God’s dwelling place at that time and it was where He lived and how He moved on the earth. The New Testament shows us that Christ today is the real tabernacle of God. When He became a man and lived on the earth, that was God “tabernacling” among men (John 1:16). God dwelt in Him and moved in Him and He was full of God’s glory. But since Christ today dwells in us, we as the church are also the tabernacle of God. In Ephesians Paul said to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. The church is God’s dwelling place on the earth today.
So I appreciated that just as the life of the Children of Israel revolved around the physical tabernacle, our life today should revolve around Christ and the church. What is at the center of our “camp”? Is it our family, our job, our health, or is it the tabernacle? Is everything in our life positioned around Christ as the center and are we faithful to move with Him when He moves? And as the real Levites and priests, are we faithful in our service of taking care of the tabernacle? Will we have a heart like David, who cared more for God’s house than he did for his own? Or will our house take priority while God’s house lies waste?
These are the questions that the Lord has been speaking to me since the weekend. Within me is a real desire to consecrate myself again to the Lord for His house, the church. I’d like to be one who has a real “tabernacle” living, with Christ and the church as the center. This is what makes our human life and Christian life full of meaning. What else is there to live for? I’m encouraged that seemingly I’m just a stay at home mom, but my real job is a priest caring for God’s house. May the Lord recover us all back to Himself as our real center.