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Exodus 25 English Standard Version (ESV)
Contributions for the Sanctuary
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. 3 And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, 5 tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, 6 oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breast piece. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
The Ark of the Covenant
10 “They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you.
17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
- Read the passage. For a better picture read the whole chapter. Imagine you were there, what would your emotions be?
- The Old Testament emphasizes the importance of the tabernacle ( kdmanestreet.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/tabernacle.jpg ), a portable tent, in Israel’s worship. Exodus takes seven chapters (25-31) to list tabernacle specifications, and then devotes six more to its construction (35-40). The New Testament touches on some of the symbolism, saying that the tabernacle design and use was intended to reflect heavenly realities (cf. Heb 9-10).
- The first item in the tabernacle mentioned, and the most important, is the ark ( carm.org/images/arkofthecovenant4.jpg ). The ark is also the only furniture inside the Holy of Holies. God’s glory resides here. God speaks to the Israelites through the Mercy Seat on the ark. It represents the presence of God, symbolized God dwelling among His people.
- It contains the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed (v16), along with manna (16:33-34) and Aaron’s rod (Num 17:10). These three items testify to the unchanging love of God, the covenant between God and His people, and the faithfulness and power of God. They serve to remind the people to remember the God of their deliverance, and the God of unfailing mercy and love. They also remind them to obey God’s commands and to keep a thankful and humble heart.
What might you carry around with you to remind you of God’s past actions and continuing presence in your life? Recall the situation, note what God did and how you responded. Thank God for His past grace (prevenient) and His persevering grace.