In the Daily Audio Bible program, we are reading through Exodus; not the fun part with the miracles and escape from Egypt, but the part with the long descriptions of how pieces of the tabernacle were to be made and assembled. In the old days, this is the part of reading through the Bible that put me to sleep, bogged me down, and made me think I’d never make it through! But today, narrator Jill Parr brought something to my attention: God gave instructions to the Israelites to follow because He is a detail-oriented God. That same level of detail and attention went into all creation, into us, and now (as recorded in Exodus) into the place where He would meet with the Israelites on earth.
That perspective certainly made the whole section much more interesting to me!
Then another thought came to me: God gave those detailed instructions to people because they needed them. He didn’t just say, “Go build a tabernacle for me.” He laid it all out, gave instruction, got skilled workers involved; and the Bible records not only the instructions, but how the end product turned out. This seemed needlessly repetitious to me before today.
This section of scripture shows us how God works. He doesn’t just cut us loose to do His work on earth; He explains, maybe even trains (the workers were certainly skilled in some things), and provides detail we need. At the end of all the skilled work, Exodus reports that “Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39:43) Moses let them do the work, but then checked it, gave them a pat on the back, a “well done,” so that the craftsmen and workers knew it had been done correctly.
This is what God has done for all of us in providing a written account of His commandments. The Bible is God’s download of instructions for us. It’s a transfer of information from a large, infinite, beautiful, all-knowing mind, into a format that our finite minds can comprehend. Think of the patience and grace it takes God to do this! He wants to partner with us, he wants us to experience for ourselves the work of following His ways, and he helps us to understand them. I even think He checks our work, doesn’t He? When we get a check in our spirit, a warning that maybe we’re not following instructions, it helps us correct and get back on the right track. I’m not sure if this holds up, theologically, but I’m going to ponder it for a while.