Holy Place – Tabernacle #5

Exodus 25:23-30; 26; 36:8-38; 37:10-16
This week we enter the Holy Place.  As you pull back the curtain and peer inside, the first thing you may notice is the gold used inside the tabernacle.  Bronze and silver are the metals that are used for the outer courtyard, but gold is mainly used for the objects inside the tabernacle itself.  In fact, one ton of gold was necessary to create the items inside the tabernacle!  In addition to the gold, 3 ¾ tons of silver and 2 ½ tons of bronze was needed to create the entire tabernacle complex including the outer-courtyard and its pieces!

Table of Showbread map

Holy Place and Table of Showbread

Now the Israelites were in the wilderness at the time the tabernacle complex was made, so where did all of these metals come from?  Jehovah Jireh, God our provider, made sure that they actually carried everything into the wilderness with them!  Exodus 12:31-36 tells us that before the Israelites left Egypt, He made the Egyptians “favorably disposed” towards the Israelites and so all God’s people had to do was ask them for their all their items made of gold, silver or bronze, their fine linen, precious stones, etc., and the Egyptians willingly gave.

The Holy Place was the larger of the two chambers that made up the Tabernacle.  It was 30ft long by 15ft wide and 15ft high.  At 450 sq. ft., that might be compared to a very small studio apartment.  While the Israelites would be permitted to be in the outer-courtyard, only the Levitical priests (Aaron’s family) were permitted in the Holy Place. As we begin to map out what this space looks like, keep this in mind – the average Israelite never had the opportunity to view the very holy things inside the tabernacle.  They had the opportunity to hear all about them from their description in the Old Testament scriptures, but all the beautiful gold pieces that will be described in the weeks to come were only viewed by the priests.

The first item that we will study in the Holy Place is the Table of Showbread.  As you enter through the east side of the tabernacle, the table would be found on the right hand side of the tent.  It was approximately 36” x 18” x 27”h.  Pull out a ruler or measuring tape and picture how big this is.  Not so large is it?

Like the bronze altar, its main structure was made of acacia wood and the

Table of Showbread

Table of Showbread Representation

entire piece was covered in gold.  This table held 12 loaves of unleavened bread and this bread has many different names that all refer to the same thing: showbread, bread of the Presence, shewbread, and bread of the face.   The 12 loaves represented the 12 tribes of Israel and at the end of each week, the bread was eaten by the priests and the table was replenished with new loaves.  Exodus 25:29 explains that there were dishes, as well as pitchers and bowls of pure gold that were also on the table.  The pitchers and bowls were there “for the pouring out of offerings.”  So what offerings might be poured out?  Exodus 30:9 seems to imply that drink offerings were poured out inside the Holy Place.  They would not have been poured out on the altar of incense and most likely not on the lampstand, so it makes the most sense that the wine would have been poured out into the pitchers and bowls on this table.

The Table and Christ
So pitchers filled with wine, bowls and a table full of bread, what does that have to do with anything?  I’m very much a visual learner and perhaps one of the things that jumped off the page at me about this table can be seen easily in the picture above.  Stop and think about this picture.  You have the bread and the wine placed upon the table in the Holy Place.  Perhaps it’s a foreshadowing of what we have come to know as communion!  On behalf of the 12 tribes, the priests broke bread and poured out wine at this table and would commune with God!

Consider the bread and the wine that were used on that table.  How are these things made?  The bread begins as a seed and grows into stalks of grain.  That grain is harvested and then crushed to make into flour and then into the bread.  What about the wine?  It too begins as a seed, grows into a mature plant that produces the fruit.  These grapes are then taken and crushed to make the wine.  Isa 53:5 tells us that Jesus “was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”  Just as the grain and the grapes were crushed, Jesus body was crushed and His blood flowed for us.

Jesus says “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” John 6:35.  He was the drink offering poured out on our behalf.  He is the bread and the way of fellowship with God the Father.  Sometimes it is easy to let the busyness of life take over and we lose the satisfaction that comes from fellowshipping around a table with our family.  If we stop and take the time to enjoy that fellowship with our loved ones though, we come away with a deeper connection with one another.  So it also is with God.  I know that when I don’t take the time to fellowship with God, life begins to consume me and I become spiritually hungry and thirsty.  Oh the joy that comes when we take the time to be filled by Christ!  It is SO satisfying!

Digging Deeper:  Take some time to take this week to simply get away from the busyness of life and be silent in communion with God.  I have given you a lot of links for some instrumental background music this week.  Enjoy some quiet fellowship with Him and then perhaps read through some of the following scriptures: John 6:35; 6:51-58; Luke 24:30-32; 22:19-20.  

God’s grace and peace to you until next time!

Carol Ann
By: Michael W. Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdxy2vqrXwY&feature=fvsr

Prayer for Taylor
By: Michael W. Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E0GvR49U3U&feature=related

Letter to Sarah
By: Michael W. Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSEsDk1d8Co&feature=relmfu

The Offering
By: Michael W. Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvHqmacWAZc&feature=relmfu

The Giving
By: Michael W. Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXAqVIT65fE&index=1&list=RDAXAqVIT65fE

Remembrance (Communion Song)
By: Matt Maher and Matt Redman
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oCNwIA6xLc&feature=related

Oh, how could it be
That my god would welcome me
into this mystery?
Say ‘eat this bread, take this wine’
Now the simple made divine
for any to receive

See his body, his blood-
Know that he has overcome
Every tril we will face
None to lost to be saved
None too broken or ashamed
All are welcome in this place.

By your mercy, we come to your table,
By Your grace you are making us faithful

Lord, we remember You,
And remembrance leads us to worship
And as we worship You,
Our worship leads to communion
We respond to your invitation;
We remember you

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