At the beginning of Exodus, the Israelites are dwelling in Egypt. By the end of Exodus, the Israelites are out of Egypt and God is dwelling with them. At the beginning of Exodus, the Israelites are building things for Pharaoh. As the book closes, they are building things for God. God had come to tabernacle among his people, so read the details in Exodus 25—40 with a renewed appreciation.
The book we call Exodus is named such because the Lord delivered the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. But out of the forty chapters in Exodus, only the first twelve are devoted to Israel’s life in and leave from Egypt.
The last and longest section of Exodus is devoted to a portable dwelling place called the tabernacle. From Exodus 25 to 40, we read about instructions and constructions. The reputation of this part of Exodus for readers is not stellar because the minutiae, the level of detail, is intense. These chapters cover:
- The kinds of contributions the people were to make (25:1–9)
- Instructions for the ark of the covenant (25:10–22)
- Instructions for the table of bread (25:23–30)
- Instructions for the golden lampstand (25:31–40)
- Instructions about the tabernacle design and measurements (26:1–37)
- Instructions about the bronze altar that stood in the courtyard (27:1–8)
- Instructions about the courtyard of the tabernacle (27:9–19)
- Instructions about oil for the lampstand (27:20–21)
- Instructions about the garments and consecration of the priests who work at the tabernacle (28:1—29:46)
- Instructions about the golden altar of incense (30:1–10)
- Instructions about the bronze basin that stood in the courtyard (30:17–21)
The details are many, and readers can find themselves lost among the linens and cubits and multiple metals. But notice the obvious: the instructions about the tabernacle and its furniture are lengthy. The inclusion of such lengthy instructions surely highlights the importance of the tabernacle.