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Psa 77:13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

 March 27, 2007    Make Me A Sanctuary     Kathleen Maples

Have you ever thought about what you are doing-really doing when you enter the presence of the Lord? Have you ever carefully considered what it actually means when you walk into His House? He carefully laid out His order in His Word for our conduct on how we are to enter His House, and how we are to conduct ourselves. Have we taken the time to read what He said and pray for understanding and sought to be obedient to His Word? If you want to think about it this way, when we get hired to do a job for a human being so we can have a paycheck, we make sure we know what is expected of us and how we are to do this job, and if we are decent folks, we will do our best, whether the boss is looking over our shoulders or not. We will conduct ourselves as we are told in the employee handbook, and abide by the rules of the company because we need our job, correct? I know that doesn't apply to everyone, those who are rebellious follow their own rules and don't usually last long. But, consider the Lord has a Book, and it's full of hope, encouragement, life and instructions for us. Today, I hope you will travel back in time with me to Mount Sinai, just for a little while. If you want to read this in your Bible, what I'm talking about is found in Exodus 19. Imagine this very high mountain, and the children of Israel camped at its base, and the fiery presence of the Lord descends before their eyes on this mountain. Oh, that right there is a lesson to us if we can see it. No matter how big we might think our problems are, the Word of God says HIS presence shakes mountains-and even melts them.

Psa 68:8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

Psa 97:5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

God had delivered these people from much suffering and bondage. They had dwelt in an idolatrous land among pagan people who highly regarded magicians and the occult in their religion. When God delivered Israel, many of them carried out their little statutes and idols of some of these non-existent deities the Egyptians worshiped. A mixed multitude of malcontents left Egypt with them, thinking their lot in life would be better. God set out to strip them of their idolatry, and mixture and confidence in themselves. He was taking them to a better place but in order to reveal to them who He was, He also had to instruct them on what He required of them. We would do well to pay very close attention to this. Just as the tabernacle in the wilderness was made after a pattern of heavenly things, so are the laws and ordinances of God a revelation of His character, and wisdom if we will but take time to explore it so we can better know this wonderful, magnificent God who has given us the opportunity and call to serve Him. And don't we want that? Don't we want to be able to stand before Him on that final day and hear "Well done?" We can't do nothing and expect it to happen. Why wouldn't we want to know Him better?

Exo 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Exo 20:19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Exo 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Exo 20:21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

God speaks and gives them the Ten Commandments. The people are frightened by the thunder and lightening and fire on the mountain. The voice of God frightens them. Remember, they are used to motionless and lifeless idols in Egypt. Big towering pyramids and statutes that do not move or speak. It shakes them and they no longer want to hear Him themselves-they'd rather hear it second-hand from Moses. They had seen this mighty God come down with wrath on their oppressors, destroy the nation of Egypt for their sake, and lead them out of bondage with a strong hand. They had watched Him part the Red Sea and make a way for them when there was no way, and their enemy hot on their trail. They watched God take care of their enemy, permanently. They had seen Him bring forth water from a rock and bread from heaven. He'd been merciful to their complaining. He had tried repeatedly to show His love for these people by providing and protecting and guiding them. And repeatedly they had stomped on His heart. It had to hurt the heart of God when all He had done was be good to them and they still wouldn't trust Him, or believe Him, and all they could do is murmur and complain. And now they don't even want Him to talk to them. Still, He continues in mercy and care for these people. He wanted to be close to them. He wanted them to know Him. If you think this doesn't apply to you, ask yourself one thing-would you rather hear the preacher say 'this is what God told me for you church' or would you rather hear it yourselves from the Master's still small voice on your knees or while you are in His Word for yourself? Oh, I'd much rather hear Him for myself-then be delighted when I enter His Sanctuary to hear it confirmed by the preacher.

Exo 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

Exo 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

Exo 24:11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

He called some of them to come up the mountain and they ate and drank in His presence. He allowed them to see part of Himself.

Exo 24:17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

He called Moses to come into the cloud that had settled on the mountain. His fiery presence was in the midst of the cloud. And Moses went. I wonder as he approached that cloud, did he hesitate? Was he afraid? Would we go into the fire with God? Do we want Him more than we want ourselves? Oh, Father, I do. I do. David said "what time I am afraid I will trust in thee." It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God who is a consuming fire-but how much do we trust His love for us? We aren't sinners in the hands of an angry God if we are His children and love Him and love His Word and it has a place in us. What does He tell Moses first of all when they begin to converse on top of this mountain?

Moses, anyone that brings Me an offering it must be with a willing heart. Gather of the people gold, silver, brass, fabrics, fine linen, goats' hair, rams' skins-dyed red, wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and sweet incense, precious stones for the priest's breastplate. There will be a table before me and on it, shewbread, always. Make a candlestick like I showed you, out of one piece of gold, with the bowls, the lamps, and tongs, and censers. Be sure you make them after the pattern I showed you in the mount. and make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them, He said to Moses. (Paraphrasing Exo 25:1-7)

The ram was a male sheep who was stronger and more aggressive than the other sheep. He was protective of the sheep. The ram's skin was to be dyed red-pointing to the blood of Jesus Christ that would be shed for us and it was to be a covering of the tabernacle. As born again children of God, we are covered with the blood, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Our own, Isaiah tells us is like filthy rags. (Isa 64:6). We must have and appreciate HIS. He imputes His to us by our faith in Him and His Word. The oil for light, speaks to my heart of the Holy Spirit who teaches us His Word and opens our understanding to Its spiritual truths which are life to us. The incense speaks of prayer of the child of God sent up to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. I know there is more to this, but I've never seen so much before in these Scriptures. I was sitting in my front yard yesterday, babysitting, studying these Scriptures and I've been stuck in Exodus and Leviticus here lately. It's amazing how God opens His Word up to us and shows us ourselves-and what we are meant to be. He mentions tongs-and censers. First my mind flashed to Isa_6:6, where that dear prophet encountered the Lord. When he saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and understood just a little of the holiness of the Lord, he was overwhelmed with the realization of how unclean by comparison were the people of Israel, and even himself. This is not condemnation of the devil, or mind games, or guilt, it's reality. It's getting close to the purest light there is and in this light you can see the stains and spots on your garment very well. It's Isaiah understanding how unworthy he was, and the people of Israel, and how merciful the Lord was to their hard hearts. He cries out "WOE is me, I am undone! I dwell among a people with unclean lips, and so are mine!" He's realizing how pure God is and how far short the people have fallen, and how far short he has fallen of the glory of the Lord. God sends an angel who uses tongs to grasp a hot coal off the fire on the altar, and touch it to Isaiah's tongue. He says this has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, your sin purged. Remember the 120 in the upper room, who were all touched by tongues of fire? The fire of the Holy Ghost sanctifying and purifying them? He descended on Jesus like a dove-Jesus was pure. There was nothing in Him that needed consuming or burning up. But men, He descends on them with fire to burn up the chaff. (Mat_3:11) Oh, people, don't ever listen to anyone who throws off on the Old Testament in favor of the New. See how the Old points to the New? And the censers-remember Lev. 10, where Aaron's two sons did not follow the order laid out by God-and just like Cain sought to do it their own way, bring their own offering to God, and expect Him to just take it? They offered strange fire in the censers and were consumed.

Exo 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

Exo 25:9 According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Now the curtains of the tabernacle that were made of linen were to be embroidered with cherubim (Exo_26:1) Remember what Psa_34:7 says? The angel of the Lord encamps around about them that fear Him and delivers them? What a picture God creates here, with this tabernacle and remember Paul tells us in Corinthians now we are the temple of God. Five curtains were to be coupled together-just like the five fold ministry God laid out in the New Testament. (Exo 26:2)

Exo 26:5 Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another.

It was to have fifty loops to hold up the curtain to the rod. Pentecost means 50. Each curtain was to have fifty loops. Each believer has to have their own Pentecost. Each one of us has to be filled with the Spirit of God and the Word of God-that is what will hold us up. These curtains of blue and purple linen, and scarlet, were to be 28 cubits long.

Exo 26:7 And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.

The thing about goats that sticks out to me is they are stubborn, willful and rebellious creatures. They want to go their own way. They can't be led like sheep can. It's not easy to deal with goats. As I meditated on this Scripture, it occurred to me that our flesh is the same way. It's stubborn, rebellious and always demands its own way. Can you imagine this black goats hair covering the luxurious and beautiful fabric of the curtains that made up the tabernacle, with their blue, purple and scarlet curtains, skillfully embroidered with cherubim, and on top of all that beauty-goats' hair. Not a pretty picture. These curtains were to be 30 cubits long, which means they would completely cover the beauty underneath of the linen curtains. Again, each curtain had to have 50 loops to hold it to the rod.

Exo 26:11 And thou shalt make fifty tacks of brass, and put the tacks into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.

Remember what Jesus said? In John 17:11, he prayed we would be one. The Holy Spirit of God is the bond that unites believers-that Spirit testifies of and glorifies Jesus Christ.

Are we not the temple of the Holy Ghost today under the new covenant? See how clearly God illustrates all this in the Old Testament? A carnal person can look at these Scriptures and think "Boring-who cares how this tabernacle was built"-but oh, folks, it's an illustration of who and what we are to be! There is treasure here if we will only take time to dig it up!

Exo 26:30 And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.

Exo 26:31 And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:

Exo 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

What a glorious God! What mercy and compassion He had on these people-and folks, we are ever bit as undeserving as they. We are every bit as flawed and a lot more spoiled with a lot more resources-especially with the New Covenant. In the Holy Place He described a table that would be placed before Him in the tabernacle. On it were to be dishes, spoons, bowls and covers for the dishes and bowls, all of pure gold. The shewbread (unleavened bread-not mixed with any foreign substance that would cause it to rise or puff up-can you see the spiritual application there!) The shewbread was for the priest to eat before the Lord. It was an illustration of how the ministers of the Lord need to get alone with Him and in His presence and eat at His table His Holy Word for the people. He would never serve up His holy bread to someone catering to sin in their heart. In His mercy, He would warn them as He did Cain. They had to be clean or they would drop dead if they entered in to His presence. The priests had to tie a rope around them so if they dropped dead in the holy of holies they could be pulled out. Oh, that tells me it is serious business to approach Him. We need to mean business. The priest was only allowed to enter once a year. He had to enter with his head bowed, bare feet, and the only one who talked in Holy of holies was God. (Exo 28:33) Then there was the candlestick-which represents the light and truth of God. Everything was to be pure gold, not mixed with anything else. The candlestick was to have lamps to be lit to give light.

And the veil-that was rent in two so we could have access to this GLORIOUS GOD!!!! I did some checking and Herod had made the temple 40 cubits high-ten higher than Solomon's Temple. The temple veil was about 60 feet high, and according to the first century historian, Josephus, the temple veil was four inches thick and horses tied to each side of this veil could not have ripped it apart. It too was embroidered with cherubim-like those around the throne of God in Heaven. God had this veil made so man could never separate it like He did when He ripped it in half. Doesn't that make you ashamed for the times you have let the enemy or your flesh and carnal mind convince you with feeble excuses you couldn't go to God in prayer because you messed up or weren't worthy somehow? It sure does me. I imagine He was longing for that moment when He would rip that veil apart and open the way into His throne room. Now I wonder how many were lined up wanting to get to Him? How long does He have to wait for His people to take better advantage of the opportunity given us? I know there are praying people. But there needs to be more-and I'm preaching to myself here, too. We need a determination that we will let nothing keep us from Him. Paul said nothing would separate him from the love of God-he had to go continually to draw from that love God had shown him to keep going. We would do much better to follow his example.

Heb 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

Heb 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Have you fled to the Lord and His promises for refuge from the pressures and craziness in this world that has gone mad? In this world right is wrong, right is becoming something spoken as if it's a dirty word by the media, the politicians, and good is bad and bad is good. Judges pervert judgment. Lawyers defend the indefensible. Society rejects the claims of this Holy God on their lives. They thumb their noses and turn their backs on the only Hope and Help they need. But we, who seeing all this run to HIM have a place of refuge. A hiding place to go where we can be fortified, loved, and strengthened.

Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Heb 4:15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We have to come deliberately, with hearts that are sincere, and honest, with humility. We have to come reverently. We have to come daily. We have to become so determined we let nothing keep us from Him. We have to let His awesome love draw us to Him, into His presence.

Psa 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

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And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32