Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exodus 30

My friend Brett made the most amazing model of the Tabernacle a few weeks ago. Oddly enough, it was a part of his job. He is responsible for coordinating all of the details of our video shoots and for next year's KONNECT curriculum, a Tabernacle was on his list. Why was this possible? God left us exact instructions for how to do it.

I've always thought it interesting for God to include these minute details about the Tabernacle in the Bible. It's cool enough that God spoke with such detail to Moses, but then again, he was responsible for getting one built. But what about for all of the rest of us? Why do we have exact instructions for how to completely set up a fully-functional Tabernacle when we no longer need one because of Christ? And most of the detail is actually in the Bible twice! Chapter after chapter of measurements and narrative blueprints. Well, like it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, all scripture was included for a reason. So what can we learn from this chapter?

First of all, I like the part about paying the half shekel to get counted (and not drop dead). It says the rich shouldn't pay more and the poor shouldn't pay less. Aside from being a judgement on our own taxation system which I do not think is God's intent, this sets a standard for the wages of sin being death. Death for the rich or the poor. Death for murder and death for hating. Death for adultery and death for lust. All must pay the price for their sin. None is exempt. No one can get out of it and remain among God's people. So then, with Christ paying the price for all time for all people we can be counted among God's people.

But the part of this chapter I think is really fascinating is the specific formula or recipe for anointing oil and incense. You know how you can catch a whiff of something and it take you back to a memory with perfect clarity? You smell someone's perfume and remember a day spent with your grandmother long ago. You smell a food smell and remember a meal with friends you can almost taste again. Imagine that for the Hebrew people. The Tabernacle and everything associated with it had a unique smell. Nothing else on the planet would smell exactly the same by decree. When you went to worship God, the smell would ignite memories in you so vivid that you could reconnect with all of the times in the past you had worshipped. When a Levite walked by you in the market, a memory of being in God's presence would remind you of your vows and the sins you had to atone for last year.

I'm not exactly sure how all this would play out in their community, but it's such a cool way for God to get inside His people long before He had a way through Christ. It's cool to know that God already knew all of the facts about our sense of smell (having created it that way) that scientists would only attempt to understand in the last few decades. To me, this chapter is just another interesting reminder of how incredible God's Word is and the level of interest He has with even the most mundane details of our relationship with Him.


Bea said...

He is a God of detail, for sure.