The snow is cooperating today. You know my reading is not going according to plan. The plan was to be on Day 43 and I am still trailing six days behind. It’s these details! You can’t skim through Exodus, can you? Anyway, it’s a snowy day and all I need to do is think about the snowflakes accumulated on just one of our front porch steps, which is at least eight inches deep, and how each flake has a unique intricate design, to appreciate how God is in the details. So I press on.
But I remember the last time I read through Exodus 26-30. My eyes glassed over and I had wondered how the building of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament could possibly relate to my life? I yawned, and I flipped ahead, preferring the section I had been reading in the New Testament. Hebrews. Hebrews 8 to be specific. I was stunned. Have you ever received a subtle Divine slap on the hand? Hebrews 8 refers to the true tabernacle as, a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. I turned back to Exodus, studied the pictures of the Most Holy Place with the Ark of the Covenant (15 ft. square btw) wrote in beside it, “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven” and continued on.
Now, here I am once again, asking the same question. What of all these details? Why all this specificity? There are no specifications on the making of the sun and moon and stars and yet the making of the Ark (two and half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and half high, overlay it with pure gold…cast four gold rings for it…make poles of acacia wood..insert the poles…they are to remain…), the Table (according to Gregory the Great, the four rings of gold in the four corners of the table signify the four corners of the globe and journeying through the four gospels or something like that), and the Lampstand (pure gold, hammer it out…flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms…the wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold…see to it you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain) are described down to the number of loops on the curtains in the tabernacle. It could take me forever to understand all the meaning behind each piece and I begin to wonder if the Old Testament is relevant in some places and not others. Until…
I remember when I went back to school in my 40s and had to take an Algebra class. I had not had Algebra since being a freshman in high school. I had flunked it with one teacher one semester, and then got an A with a new teacher the next. I waved out of college math. Twenty years later, I was totally lost in a class filled with 20 year-olds. My son tried to help me but one weekend, I realized I could have literally spent the rest of my time that weekend trying to figure out one Algebra problem (unsuccessfully) or get on with my life. I’m beginning to feel the same way enmeshed in these details explaining the building of the Tabernacle…
Until…I look for the bigger picture.
Late afternoon, the snow still falling, puppy and I head outside. She leaps over drifts and through the snowbanks the plows had left behind like a dolphin diving through waves. Children sled across the snow packed field at the foot of the hill, arms spread wide, cheering. I hold out my tongue and notice how flakes stick together like cotton balls. Could it be that details can sometimes land on our hearts the same way?
The tabernacle was designed by God but built by man. I’m guessing God needed to give all that clarification, whereas He had designed and built the celestial heavens which needed no explanation of specification.
I am now envisioning eternity before me with plenty of time to receive God’s explanation and revelation, which I might not have time to understand here, now, for this short time I have on earth. The foreshadowing of Christ’s great sacrifice for me/us is where my heart has landed on all this, and I am overwhelmed, once again, by His Love which overshadows everything. Be childlike, He says and I think of Puppy diving through mounds of snow, of the children’s arms spread wide, taking in the beauty, flying across snow fields, mouths wide open with cheers of joy.
So, this may not be going according to plan, but my saving grace is that this plan is called Once a Day! I continue on. Maybe I won’t ever join the ranks of allegorical exegesis, but my eyes will remain fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of my Faith. And my Inspiration.
Oh, and btw, I dropped out of that MBA program and ended up with an MFA and eventually, a whole new life. God is definitely in the details. Just sayin’.