I came across this passage in my reading through Exodus:
Fifty loops were made along the edge of the end sheet in one set, and fifty loops along the edge of the corresponding sheet in the other set. Fifty bronze clasps were made with which the tent was joined so that it formed one whole . . . . Boards of acacia wood were made as walls for the Dwelling [Tabernacle]. The length of each board was ten cubits, and the width one and a half cubits. Each board had two arms, fastening them in line . . . (Exodus 36:17-23).
It doesn’t take long for my eyes to glaze over when I read sections of Scripture like this. Does anyone really care how many clasps, loops, boards, and sheets were used to construct the Tabernacle of God in the wilderness? Does anyone care if each board was ten by one and a half cubits?
And what’s a cubit, anyway?
It would be easy to forever skip chapters like this, believing they have little to teach the 21st century reader. But we would be wrong.
Exodus chapters 36-40 are only a few of many sections in the Books of Moses that describe in wearyingly exhaustive detail the construction of the Tabernacle, the place God’s Spirit would reside. Each board had its place, each ring a role, each thread a value, each cubit a purpose. To the minutest detail, God left nothing out of order.
And that is exciting.
The New Testament Scriptures tell us God is building His followers into a Holy Dwelling called the Church. “Do you not know,” wrote St. Paul to the Christians at Corinth, “you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
As God orchestrated the construction of his desert Dwelling with such meticulous precision, so too, He orchestrates with equal precision today the construction of His Dwelling – the Body of Christ. Just as each board and clasp and loop held an important place, each member of Christ’s universal Church holds a necessary role and function. Leader and laity, blue-collar and white, professionals and paraprofessionals, rich and poor, healthy and not-so-healthy, across cultures and backgrounds . . . the Master Carpenter knows who we are, where we fit in His Dwelling --and he sets us there with meticulous precision in the right place . . .
And for the right reason.