32 Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the people of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did. 33 Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its utensils, its hooks, its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases; 34 the covering of tanned rams’ skins and goatskins, and the veil of the screen; 35 the ark of the testimony with its poles and the mercy seat; 36 the table with all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 37 the lampstand of pure gold and its lamps with the lamps set and all its utensils, and the oil for the light; 38 the golden altar, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance of the tent; 39 the bronze altar, and its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin and its stand; 40 the hangings of the court, its pillars, and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords, and its pegs; and all the utensils for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting; 41 the finely worked garments for ministering in the Holy Place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons for their service as priests. 42 According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. 43 And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them. – Exodus 39:32-43 ESV
Moses fast-forwards the narrative and compresses the timeline to reflect the completion day of the Tabernacle. He provides no details as to how long it took Bezalel and the other craftsmen to wrap up this massive project, but the day came when their work was done. God’s house was complete.
The next step was to present every single item to Moses for his inspection. While Bezalel had served as the project’s foreman and primary craftsman, Moses had managed the entire process from start to finish, communicating every detail concerning the Tabernacle’s construction that he had received from God on Mount Sinai. With the work completed, it was time to determine whether the finished product met God’s exacting standards. And Moses reflects his satisfaction with their efforts by blessing them. They had done everything according to the plan he had provided. Nothing had been left out, scrimped on, or compromised. Every board, yard of fabric, utensil, or piece of sacred furniture received Moses’ seal of approval.
The Israelites had done everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses. – Exodus 39:32 NLT
This statement conveys the obedience of Bezalel’s team. Regardless of the scope of the project and the pressure to complete it on time and on budget, they did everything according to God’s plan. There were no corners cut and not even the smallest alteration was made to the design. Somehow, without the benefit of CAD drawings and blueprints, these men were able to successfully manufacture a vast array of individual elements that would seamlessly fit together to form the completed Tabernacle.
As Moses stood looking over the stockpile of completed building materials, he must have felt a sense of relief mixed with joy. He understood the importance of this day. No matter how long it took to complete the fabrication of all these elements, he could still vividly recall the day he had come down off the mountain and found the people of Israel worshiping a false God. At that moment, he had feared the worst because God had told him, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation” (Exodus 32:9-10 NLT). God had threatened to destroy the people of Israel for their disobedience and unfaithfulness.
That had been a dark chapter in Moses’ life. He had begged God to forgive the people for their sin, but God had responded, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about” (Exodus 32:33-34 NLT). God held the guilty responsible for their actions but allowed the majority of the Israelites to live. Then He commanded Moses to complete the task of leading the people of Israel to the promised land. But before they could leave their camp at Mount Sinai, Moses had to oversee the construction of the Tabernacle, the portable structure that would serve as God’s dwelling place among the people.
Now, it was done. And the piles of completed building materials were a reminder to Moses that his God was still with them. Despite what they had done, Yahweh had not abandoned them. And once the pieces of the Tabernacle were painstakingly fitted together, God would keep His promise and take up residence above the Mercy Seat within the Holy of Holies.
Moses must have felt a sense of eager anticipation as he thought about the next step. With everything ready and approved, it was time to begin the assembly of the Tabernacle. All the pieces were there, but now they must be carefully placed in their proper position so that, together, they could form God’s sanctuary.
The apostle Paul used a construction metaphor as a way to remind the Gentile believers in Ephesus of their rightful place in God’s house.
…you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:19-22 NLT
From the smallest golden bell that would adorn the hem of the high priest’s robe to the heaviest beam that would hold up the roof of the Tabernacle itself, every piece was essential to the whole. No part was insignificant or could be left out if the Tabernacle was going to serve as the holy dwelling of Yahweh. Every single part had been designed by God Himself and they each had purpose and meaning. Paul used the analogy of the human body to convey God’s divine plan for His ultimate temple: the Church.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:16 NLT
The most exciting part of the entire project was about to begin. Moses and the people of Israel were going to watch as the pieces were placed together, slowly transforming the parts into the whole. And soon, on the barren plains of the Sinai wilderness, the house of God would take form. The dream would become a reality. And once the Tabernacle was complete, the next step in the journey to the promised land could begin again.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.