This week, we wrapped up the “Doing the Impossible” series with a message on the importance of understanding who we are in Christ. Until we see ourselves as being worthy to be used by God, we will not be used by Him in the way He intends. We examined an element of the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Specifically, we looked at the golden boards that made the walls of the
Holy Place and the
Holy of Holies. A quick note, the
Israelite encampment was in the shape of a cross, with the temple at the
center, where all the parts of the cross meet.
Remember that all the precious items used to build the temple were only
part of their wealth, and were part of what Joseph ended up with because of his
service to Pharaoh, as well as riches given them before they departed from
captivity. Just to build the temple, the
Israelistes donated 2800 POUNDS of gold (which equates today to
$74,233,600!). They had plenty left
after that, too.
These walls were made of wood. In the Bible, wood is often symbolic of man and his weakness and frailty. Wood can be burned and needs to be protected from burning (thus the covering). Wood comes from trees, which come out of and gain their nutrients from the soil – soil that is cursed. Trees are limited based on the resources given it by the earth (water, soil quality, etc). This wood had to be cut down and disconnected from the cursed ground to be of use in God’s house. The wood was also to be acacia wood. Acacia wood was what Noah build his ark out of. Acacia was also prevalent in the wilderness where God’s people were journeying to the Promised Land. Acacia was also symbolic of incorruptible humanity. We understand that only Jesus was the incorruptible. But, in Him, we become incorruptible – not because of anything we’ve done or what we don’t do, but because of what He did!
Next, those wood boards were fashioned to fit into a silver socket. In Moses’ day, silver was actually more valuable than gold. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers for silver. Of course, we know Jesus was sold for silver. Silver is also symbolic in the Bible of redemption (involving a purchase) or salvation. It is a picture that there is a price paid to redeem man – to redeem you and I. The redemption is what lies between us (wood) and the earth to keep and preserve. It cuts us off from the curse. Jesus became a curse for us! Based on today’s standards, the wood used to make the walls is valued at about $1, but the silver used to make the base is about $1000. Additionally, the contribution used to make atonement offerings in the Israelite community was 1 shekel of silver each. No matter how poor or rich you were, you gave a shekel, and only a shekel. The price for each was set and not negotiable. This was to be used for the service of the tent of meeting. This atonement was temporary and something that had to be bought, but ours is a gift now for eternity. Jesus’ death, and most importantly resurrection, purchases the removal of our sin from us forever. The silver protects us from the earth. It protects and preserves us.
Next, the boards were covered in pure gold. Gold is symbolic of the divine nature of God and His righteousness. His divine nature is love and it is grace. SO, in order to complete the picture, we must allow Him to clothe us in HIS righteousness. Ours is as filthy rags, but His is everlasting and it is unfailing. Lastly, the boards, fit in their silver sockets, are joined together, side by side in His house, with crosspieces going through to hold them together. Gold always touches gold, and the wood never touches other wood. We need to see each other through the righteousness of Christ and not through our own lens. No one board is greater than the other. They are equal in stature and purpose and fit together. And when they are joined together they form a shining wall that literally reflects Jesus. The wall reflected the Ark of the Covenant which is representative of Jesus Himself. 2 Corinthians 5:1 echoes this idea.
This is why it is so important for us to stay Christ-centered in all things – wrapped in grace and love. Then, we will be a more accurate reflection of Him in this world. Then we will be able to do the truly great things of God.
To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/ and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.