Tabernacles of Yesterday to Tabernacles of Tomorrow

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 16 & 17

Psalms Reading: Psalm 67

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 4

Today’s reading of Numbers 16-17 takes us back to the time of the Old Testament tabernacle which is super relevant to what comes later in the New Testament since the Bible is woven together from beginning to end. At this time, the tabernacle was a physical structure in the middle of the camp with the 12 tribes of Israel camped around. And there were some special rules/regulations regarding the tabernacle. Things like only the Levites could hand carry the ark of the covenant (versus toss it in the ox-cart and hope for the best), there were specific offerings at specific times and places, burning incense, priests had certain duties, the High Priest had a sacred role, etc. Given the expectations were literally put in place directly by the LORD himself, it seems unlikely that it was without reason or design or something to ignore. But, today’s reading starts with 250 Israelites fighting against the rules stirring up more rebellion like we see time and time again in them. . .and in us. Unfortunately, these were God’s rules set by his sovereign design, and as we know well, the Israelites, just like us, simply do not know as well as God does. So, God cleared things up for them. It involved a plague, a fire from heaven consuming some, and men falling facedown before Him, but His way was known.

Some of the OT readings about the tabernacle and all the details used to be areas I kind of avoided.  (Though to be fair, if you started telling me about the dimensions of your house and every piece of home décor, I would also likely find myself checking out). But, this past year I had a friend share some of a study she was doing about the symbolism of the tabernacle (and all its little details) and its foreshadowing to Jesus, and it was very interesting. The story of the Old Testament tabernacle definitely seems symbolic to the arrival of the Messiah and the promise of the coming tabernacle of God that one day will descend from heaven to earth. A place where those who are followers of Christ will finally be able to dwell with the LORD and His son.

Revelation 21:3 (ESV)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

-Jennifer Hall

Reflection Questions

  1. What do we learn from Numbers 16 & 17 about who God chooses? And what should our attitude be towards those he chooses for leadership?
  2. What do we learn from our reading today about the Lord God?

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