A Guiding Presence

Old Testament Reading: Exodus 38, 39 & 40
Psalms Reading: Psalm 45
New Testament Reading: Romans 15

Last year, my kids and I studied history from Creation through Greek civilization in our homeschool, covering the entire Old Testament alongside simultaneously-occurring secular world history. This study included details about the Mosaic Tabernacle, God’s temporary dwelling place in the wilderness before His people reached their Promised Land. As a visual and kinesthetic learner, I love to bring our lessons to life in a tangible way, so you can imagine how excited I was to discover that a traveling life-size interactive Tabernacle replica would be near our stomping grounds last summer! 

The sun scorched down over the Tabernacle when we arrived, which I humored was very fitting since the real Tabernacle was built while the Israelites wandered in the desert. (However, keeping four young children calm in the heat was a bit of a challenge, and I had to make a pilgrimage from the Holy of Holies to the nearest well – I mean, my van – to get water to satisfy my parched children… but I digress). While we had already learned a lot about the Tabernacle before, it was fascinating to see it all with our own eyes and learn all about the symbolism of the Tabernacle to the Messiah and the coming Kingdom. 

In Exodus chapter 40, we see that the Tabernacle, after several chapters of minute details describing its construction, was finally erected, “and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle… throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out… for the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was upon it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” (Exodus 40:34-38, ESV). 

The Tabernacle provided a way for God to live among His people again and guide them through the desert. I do wish that God’s direction was as clear to me as his presence in a cloud pillar leading me through this confusing life (wouldn’t that be nice?), but there is no longer a need for a Tabernacle like in those days, because Jesus is now our mediator and our Shepherd, and the Bible is our map and GPS. Because of Jesus, we have a direct line to God anytime, anywhere through prayer. Our ultimate hope is that someday, we will live together in the Kingdom with God, where there will not even need to be a sun because God will provide all the light we need! 

Our Psalm reading ties into this well. Check out verse 6: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of righteousness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” God is on the throne! Hallelujah! 

And I’ll leave you with this from our Romans passage (verse 13), as you journey through this life relying on God’s direction: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Our hope is through Jesus in God the Father, who is preparing a Kingdom for us that will be permanent (not temporary like the Tabernacle), a place where we can one day dwell with Him. Go in that hope! 

-Rachel Cain


  1. Do some research about the symbolism of the Tabernacle to Jesus and the Kingdom. What speaks to your heart? 
  2. How is your prayer life, your connection with God? What could make it better? (Consider downloading a prayer app that pops up your prayer requests onto your phone throughout the day if, like me, having an uninterrupted prayer time is challenging). 
  3. What do you learn about God in our Bible reading today?

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