Exodus 25:1-22

Exodus 25:1‑22  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The Lord gives instructions to Moses that the children of Israel should make Him a sanctuary that He might dwell among them. See verse 8.
There is a great sense in such a word, I believe. The Lord had already spoken from the fiery hill, down to the which He had come in fire and earthquake. But He had not rested there. He had found no dwelling-place there; He could not. The law gave Him no occasion, no opportunity, to display Himself, or to do His proper business. He found fault with it, therefore (Heb. 8:88For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Hebrews 8:8)), though it was perfect in its way— “holy, just, and good.” (Rom. 7:1212Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (Romans 7:12).) How rapidly, in like manner, the Lord Jesus, in spirit, passes Mount Sinai in John 8, and reaches the sanctuary of life and peace!
The opening of this chapter (Ex. 25) shows that He made a rapid journey beyond it. And He desires a dwelling-place, a sanctuary, where mercy was to be seen rejoicing against judgment, and where a believing soul could meet Him. This is full of comfort. Love, the divine nature, so to speak, rapidly passed Mount Sinai, and rested only in the place where a sinner could be relieved instead of being destroyed.
The sinner himself, once convicted, makes the same journey. Sinai does not suit him either. Conviction or conscience (through the spirit of faith) gives him wings to fly beyond it, to rest not till he reach the very spot where the Lord had gone before. The journey of the Lord was only somewhat the more speedy and immediate. It is taken at once, taken under necessity of nature, as I have said. The sinner lingers round the fiery hill, and leaves it only on the discovery that it is the place of death to him. So, at the creation, God gives witness at once that He could not rest in it, for even the garden of Eden tells of His counsel and purpose touching redemption.
All this has meaning for our comfort as sinners. If we reach the gospel by faith, we know that God is there before us. It is His gospel. And as Israel here had to make a sanctuary, or a dwelling place for God, so it is saved sinners who now make a dwelling place for Him. “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Here is the sanctuary which the Israelite of this day, the poor believing soul, builds for God. Faith rests in God and then God rests in the soul that has this faith. For we can repose in one that reposes in us, but in none else. A person may serve us, a person may admire and flatter us, and seek to imitate us, but all that will not do for the heart. He must trust in us, or we cannot commit ourselves to him. So with God. Nothing builds a dwelling place for Him but the faith which rests in His love, the faith which enjoys His acceptance and adoption of us in Christ Jesus. What an argument with our hearts it should be, that our happy confidence in Him as pardoned sinners is really the only way now to build Him a house!
But again. It is from this sanctuary God issues His commandments, from the place of enthroned mercy—mercy sustained and made effectual and glorious by the person and work of Christ. “And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark, and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I will give thee; and there I will meet with thee, and will commune with thee, from above the mercy-seat, from between the Cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.”
This is also very full of blessing. For when issuing commands to His people the Lord is still upon the throne of grace. Paul, in New Testament form, gives this thought: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” The earlier part of the Epistle to the Romans had been, as it were, constructing the mercy-seat, or raising the throne of grace in the sight of the congregation of the Lord—unfolding the gospel, “the law of liberty,” the mystery of mercy rejoicing against judgment, or of grace abounding over sin; and now, entering on the detail of duties, the voice still breaks forth from the mercy-seat. (Rom. 12)
Deeply precious is all this. Did the Lord return to Sinai, when delivering commands? No; He speaks from the sanctuary of peace. Does commandment or precept come to our hearts invested with the fire and smoke of Sinai? Does it come bringing with it a spirit of fear and thoughts of judgment? Do we listen to it as though life or death hung on the answer we gave it? This must not be. We are besought “by the mercies of God” to do so and so, in obedience, for His name's sake.
Such is the blessedness of this scripture (Ex. 25:1-221And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. 3And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, 5And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, 6Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. 8And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9According 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. 10And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. 12And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. 13And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 14And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. 15The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. 16And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 17And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22And 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. (Exodus 25:1‑22)), I judge—according, at least, to one's small measure in opening it. It tells us how the Lord passed the fiery bill, where the law delivered its words of righteousness; how He passed also the thick darkness, where the statutes of the realm were published. See chapters 20-24. In neither place could He rest. He found no dwelling-place there. But where does He? Either in the cloud which was on high above the bill and beyond the darkness, or in the sanctuary which faith—the faith of sinners—built for Him; i.e., either in His own native glory (so to say), or in the bosom of a poor convicted and humbled, yet trustful, confiding sinner. And where He dwells at peace with us, there He delivers His will and commands to us.
Who can tell it? Heaven has prepared Him a place, and so has faith! Faith does for Him the same work as His own all-perfect power and skill! “He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation.”