Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (25:8 NIV)
This is Moses’ fifth ascent of the mountain (see how 24:12 is matched by 31:18). It centers on the revelation of the plans for the tabernacle (25:9), God’s tent where he purposes to live right at the center of his people’s lives (Numbers 2:1-2) as the indwelling God.
But the question arises: do the people of God themselves want this? For he will not provide and build his own tent. They must do the work (25:8), devoting the treasures that were the fruits of their redemption (25:2-7; cf., 12:35-36), and copying the heavenly blueprint (25:9). No tent, no indwelling presence of God; no devotedness by the people, no tent.
When the Lord appoints emblems, signs and symbols of spiritual realities and blessings, he expects his people to make and use them believingly. We have the Scriptures and prayer as private, domestic “means of grace”; fellowship, worship, the Lord’s Supper as public, corporate “means of grace.” The blessing follows on obeying in faith. Neglect the “means” and you forfeit the blessing!
What must come first, however, is not the tent but the ark (25:10-22). Everything is from the center outward, from the Mercy Seat where atonement covers law (25:16-17), where the sprinkled blood (Leviticus 16:15-17) satisfies the holy God.
Thank you, Lord, for dwelling among and within us.