What is the Tabernacle?
Last week I shared how God led me to pray Psalm 37:4 over myself, how I asked that He would plant His desires in my heart and that I would learn to truly delight in Him. During this time, I began to practice resting in Him as I listened and came into agreement with the music I would listen to. As I took the time to lay down the issues in my life, and any agenda I had, I started to experience new feelings and desires. Part of my process of resting in worship, besides yielding all my hurt, offense and fear, was to simply say, “ God is there anything you want to show me today?” Then, I wouldn’t try to hear anything or do anything, I would just sing, dance before Him, or quietly turn my mind to Him as I listened to a song. Sometimes I would have a “random” image or thought come to mind, and through experience, I recognized this as one way God communicates with me. When my mind is busy singing the words of a song, or I tell the Lord I’m listening if He wants to tell me anything... I know not to discount when a person or thought suddenly comes into my mind. It’s never something I have already been thinking, so that makes it easier to recognize.
One Saturday morning, after teaching choreography to a group I was preparing for the March for Jesus, I closed our class with prayer and lead us in a song. Besides teaching choreography, I was teaching them what I was learning about worship intercession and warfare praise. We spent a few minutes breaking into praise, and then moved into waiting on the Lord as we sang a song together. When I was singing, the concept of the Tabernacle came into my mind, and somehow I just knew I was supposed to make Tabernacle color streamers for us to use during the processional to the Capital Building. At that time, I was not even sure what colors those were and hadn’t studied the tabernacle closely for myself.
I had heard of the tabernacle during the years I grew up as a pastor's kid. However, my knowledge of the tabernacle was limited to what I heard of the Old Testament characters and their lives in Sunday school. Now that God instructed me to use these colors, I needed to learn what was spiritually significant about the tabernacle and what those colors represented. During this time of intense study, what I uncovered changed my life. I discovered the tabernacle represents God dwelling among us. The more I studied, the more God revealed to me His heart's desire to dwell in our midst. In the Bible, Tabernacle means a fixed or movable habitation, like the tent used as a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant by the Israelites during the Exodus and until the building of the Temple. The word sanctuary is also used for the biblical tabernacle, as is the phrase "tent of meeting". The Hebrew word mishkan implies "dwell", "rest", or "to live in", that dwelt within this divinely ordained structure.
There are three images of God dwelling among us:
- in the garden of Eden, walking with Adam & Eve.
- in the tabernacle of Moses
- in the tabernacle of David
- in us, as we become His tabernacle through Christ Jesus.
It says God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. That sounds a lot like taking an evening stroll after dinner. But through the separation of being sent out of the garden because of their sin, that closeness was lost. Yet God has pursued us and made ways to draw close to us. Through the image of the tabernacle of Moses, we see times of great revelation and communion in which God’s people experienced Him dwelling among them. Through the image of the tabernacle of David, God demonstrates how He dwells among us during times of worship and service. And now, through Jesus, we've been given a way for God to dwell with us, as we become His living tabernacle.
I always knew God was with me, but my eyes opened in a new way as I studied about this, and a moment of clarity came with my epiphany. God wants to dwell in me, making me the ark of His presence, and writing his law on my heart! He desires my fellowship, to be with me daily and to commune with me. Once I got a revelation of this in my spirit, it changed my life and even what I focused on. God is the same today as He was yesterday, and the glory of His presence is available to me just as it was to Moses and to David. Romans 8 has much to say on this subject. . It’s the Spirit at work within us that empowers us to accomplish His purpose, intercedes for us and gives us insight in prayer. Since my life is hidden in Christ, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me… and if your life is hidden in Christ, His Spirit can dwell in you too.
Our life, our personal being, is created to be a place where God resides, a tabernacle for Him. We pray for the fulfillment of this, and recognize we can begin the journey now, knowing that the ultimate completion will wait until the day Jesus returns.
During this time of study, the Spirit birthed in me a heart to pray for others; this was not out of my own compassion, but in response to feeling God's compassion for them. Now, I had a glimpse of His desire to dwell with us. When God opens our eyes to His great love, our eyes turn away from ourselves and our troubles dim in comparison to His brilliance. When we are overwhelmed with awe of His magnificent power and holiness, gratitude for His mercy and love naturally flows out from us. Only then do we seek to know what is on His heart.
When God told me to make Tabernacle color streamers and I read about the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, I understood what the significance of these banners would be for the March For Jesus. The Tabernacle is all about God dwelling in the midst of His people. Just as the individuals came together from different churches across our valley to join as one body of believers, each person would carry one of the four colors to represent part of the Tabernacle. It was symbolic, representing that together we are His dwelling place, the Living Tabernacle.
The significance of the banner I made to represent the Tabernacle colors inspires me to pray. There are four colors God instructed to be used in building the Tabernacle, which you can read about in Exodus 26. The 4 colors are Red (scarlet), Blue, Purple and White (linen), and the number 4 represents God’s governing power, His sovereignty over all. I’m sharing an example of my prayer, may it prompt you to pray this week as you seek more of Him in your life.
Tabernacle Banner — Red, Blue, Purple, White
As I pray with this banner, I thank God that it has always been His desire to dwell among us. I thank Him that He has initiated fellowship with us. And if I am praying for our city or an unbeliever, I apply this prayer to them and invite God to draw them close to Himself. I thank Him for the blood of Jesus (Red) that has made the way for us to be in fellowship with Him. I ask God to forgive sin and disobedience and to cleanse with the blood of Jesus. I thank Him for His Holy Spirit (Blue), and ask Him to bring divine revelation of His love to those who do not know Him. I thank Him for His kingship and royalty (Purple), and for His sovereignty. I thank Him for reigning over circumstances and situations. I thank Him for His holiness and purity (White). I thank God that we can be made righteous through Jesus and that He has removed our sin from us and made us pure.
Blessings, Tami Gaupp