Thank you for joining our ongoing chronological bible study called COME AS A CHILD.
We have been looking at the structure of the wilderness tabernacle. Our text today is taken from the scriptures found in Exodus; Chapter 26. God has just finished giving Moses a general idea about how to place the coverings of the tabernacle. Now God is advising Moses of the plans for making the framework to support those coverings.
CONSTRUCTING THE FRAMEWORK:
THE BARS MADE OF ACACIA WOOD:
Moses is instructed that the bars which will be used to make up the boards of the framework inside the tabernacle should be made of acacia wood.
Acacia wood comes from acacia trees. Acacia trees are graceful trees that like warm climates. They have deep root structures and are good to use to prevent erosion in landscapes. They grow in any type of soil, even in sandy areas. These hearty trees have bright colorful and beautiful leaves and produce very pretty flowers when the season comes for them to be in bloom.
The acacia tree is still used for many modern-day purposes. It is known for its beauty and strength. In this present age, we are mostly using acacia wood for making furniture and for materials for hardwood flooring. Manufacturers of outdoor furniture especially love this wood because it is so moisture-resistant and solid. This quality would have made the acacia wood a very good fit for the structure of the tabernacle, since the pieces that formed the structure of the tabernacle traveled with the people through the wilderness and theses things were constantly exposed to the harsh elements of the desert. The hard-wearing, strong and heavy wood; could survive well as the people traveled through the wilderness.
Another interesting trait of the acacia tree is that the whole tree, including the flowers, the leaves and the wood can be used in some good and beneficial way, whether it be for food, medicine or building materials. Nothing from this tree is ever wasted; all parts of it are useful. The tree grows very fast and lives to be about 30 years old. The wood is very durable and able to withstand pressure from heavy weights. This quality would make the acacia wood an ideal material for supporting the four heavy layers of the tabernacle’s covering curtains.
I suspect God loved all of these qualities of this amazing tree; and that might be why it is used so many times in the construction of the tabernacle. We have already noted that this wood was used inside the Ark which was placed inside the Holy of Holies. It seems that God took note of the wonderful qualities of the acacia tree and said “Come here little tree; I have a great mission for you!”
THE GOLDEN OVERLAY:
Despite the beauty and durability of this wonderful acacia wood; God told Moses to overlay the acacia with gold. One reason for this might have been that the acacia trees never became very tall, and most of the tree’s branches would not have been long enough to form one long, solid board. The pieces needed to be put together from several sections of acacia wood. The sections of each bar that went into the boards were held together within a golden overlay. One looking at the bars might think that the bars were solid gold. Solid gold would have been too heavy to carry through the wilderness.
Humans are a lot like the acacia wood in the tabernacle. They need God to put their best pieces together and to form and cover their weak places. God takes the talents of each of us and puts them together and then covers us with his love to make a beautiful structure called the church.
These acacia and gold bars of the tabernacle were fit together into forms called boards. The boards became a type of steady foundation underneath the layers of coverings of the tabernacle. Each bar was made to be 10 cubits high and one cubit broad, but the depth of each bar was not mentioned in the scriptures.
This hidden acacia wood that rested within each bar of the structural formation of the tabernacle represented the redeemed souls of humanity. The practical, durable, yet beautiful wood is symbolic of the flesh.
The wood used in the outer courts was overlaid with bronze, representing mankind covered with sin.
The wood used in the inner courts was overlaid with gold, representing mankind covered by the presence of God.
The gold overlays that surrounded the wood bars represented the fact that mankind could be redeemed and made more beautiful by the presence of God covering them. The humanity would be hidden underneath the beauty of the glory of God.
FIVE BARS MADE A BOARD:
We have mentioned before that the number five is the number for grace. Five bars made up each section called a board; and one of the bars from each section was hidden in the middle.
One acacia wood, gold covered bar in each set of bars that made up the boards of the construction of the foundation could not be seen. This one piece was very important.
THE HIDDEN BAR IN EACH BOARD SECTION:
Even though it could not be seen, this hidden bar was the most important bar of each section of bars making up the boards. It was sort of like an Oreo cookie; the best part was inside the middle.
The hidden middle bar was the supporting bar that ran from end to end in the middle of each board section. The supporting bar represented Christ coming to live among men in order to redeem mankind. Without that middle supporting bar the whole structure would have been useless. The other bars were good support; but the support from the middle bar was what made those bars work together and hold in place.
Without the love of God mankind cannot dwell in unity. Without God we fall and we break. We cannot hold ourselves upright. It takes that middle supporting golden bar; the one that holds everything steady and firm to accomplish the needed support. It takes Christ living within our souls for mankind to dwell together in peace and harmony.
THE ENTRANCE WAS IN THE EAST:
There were to 20 boards on the north and the south and six boards on the west with two additional corner boards. The east had no boards; as it was the place of the entrance, and pillars supported the tent in this east entrance area.
Altogether there were 48 boards of acacia wood overlaid with gold. We will speak more of how these boards were used and held up in our next lesson from COME AS A CHILD.
The meaning and symbolism of the elements that made up the foundation and structure of the tabernacle are exciting and insightful to anyone interested in understanding how amazing the mind of God truly is.
No man could have ever composed such a structure for mankind to be able to haul through the wilderness. Only God’s mind could conceive such an awesome and workable plan.