Construction projects are costly and require large amounts of capital and personal or community desire in order to see them fulfilled. The building of the tabernacle is no different. In these words, God begins by asking the community to get behind the project and bring offerings. These offerings are of the finest metals, textiles, gemstones, leather and oils. What a wonderful picture of the human component of worship. The finest things we have are to be brought and presented before God in order to build the worshipping community. And what is more costly than our own life, as Romans 12:1 declares,
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
When we offer ourselves truly the tabernacle of God, the worshipping house is taken throughout the world and God’s name is honored to the ends of the earth. But can we as people offer ourselves to God? Will our hearts prompt us to give all that we are to the sacred trust of God? Though the Book of Exodus doesn’t clearly answer this question, the front half of the Roman Epistle does.
There is no one who understands, no one seeks God. (Romans 3:11)
But just as quickly as Paul declares this truth he declares that Christ came to save sinners by offering himself. Jesus freely gave the gift of his sinless life, holy perfection and complete obedience to the Lord in order to see the Church built and established for God’s renown.
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many…(Romans 5:15)
and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:5-7)
The offering of Jesus Christ is the fine gift that enables the church to be constructed. He is the first fruits. He is the beautiful gemstone. He is the gold and silver, the oil and leather that allows the Spirit of God to dwell among us. He opens the doors to the Father and keeps it open by his blood so that all our feeble offerings can be made holy and acceptable to our God and Father. Thank the Lord that the offerings God called for from ancient Israel were but a shadow of the perfect building material God required in order to build his tabernacle, the Church universal.