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Read Exodus 26

The Tabernacle

“Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. All the curtains are to be the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and do the same with the end curtain in the other set. Make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together so that the tabernacle is a unit.

“Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. All eleven curtains are to be the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. Join five of the curtains together into one set and the other six into another set. Fold the sixth curtain double at the front of the tent.10 Make fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set.11 Then make fifty bronze clasps and put them in the loops to fasten the tent together as a unit. 12 As for the additional length of the tent curtains, the half curtain that is left over is to hang down at the rear of the tabernacle. 13 The tent curtains will be a cubit longer on both sides; what is left will hang over the sides of the tabernacle so as to cover it.14 Make for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of the other durable leather.

15 “Make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle.16 Each frame is to be ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, 17 with two projections set parallel to each other. Make all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. 18 Make twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle 19 and make forty silver bases to go under them—two bases for each frame, one under each projection. 20 For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, make twenty frames 21 and forty silver bases—two under each frame. 22 Make six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, 23 and make two frames for the corners at the far end. 24 At these two corners they must be double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both shall be like that. 25 So there will be eight frames and sixteen silver bases—two under each frame.

26 “Also make crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, 27 five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 28 The center crossbar is to extend from end to end at the middle of the frames. 29 Overlay the frames with gold and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Also overlay the crossbars with gold.

30 “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.

31 “Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.32 Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. 33 Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the Most Holy Place. 35 Place the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle and put the lampstand opposite it on the south side.

36 “For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer. 37 Make gold hooks for this curtain and five posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold. And cast five bronze bases for them.

Go Deeper

In Exodus 26, we see God’s instructions on how to build the Tabernacle. As seen in the text, the Lord is very specific in the size and measurements of the Tabernacle, the type and color of thread to be used, and clear instructions about what was to be placed where in the Tabernacle. 

In verses 31-33, we see instructions on how an interior curtain was to be made. This curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, and the covenant law was to be placed in the ark behind the curtain. This curtain banned access to all people from entering the Most Holy Place. The only one granted access to the Most Holy Place was the high priest, but only on the Day of Atonement (see Leviticus 16). God’s people needed this curtain because sin separates us from God. A sinful people could not survive an encounter with the holy God.

This same curtain shows up throughout the Scriptures, but most notably in Matthew 27:50-51. At the moment Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. As a result, the tearing of the curtain gives us access to the Most Holy Place, not literally, but figuratively. Now we can stand before God because of the finished work of Jesus, not because of our good deeds or righteous acts. Hebrews 9:12 says, “He (Jesus) did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” We are the beneficiaries of the torn curtain and eternal redemption!

So often, we get lost and discouraged by the seemingly minor, insignificant details in the Old Testament. Instead, what we see in Exodus 26 is a beautiful picture of God’s intentional design. The details matter. Aren’t you glad we follow and worship a God who knows details like the number of rings in the Tabernacle and the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30)?

  1. What stands out to you in the description of the Tabernacle? 

  2. Why do you think God is so specific in His instructions of how to build the Tabernacle?

  3. How does God’s attention to detail in this chapter encourage you today as you go through the often mundane moments of life?

Did You Know?

One cubit is around 18 inches. This unit of measurement was based on the length of the arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger.

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5 thoughts on “Exodus 26”

  1. God’s design of the tabernacle from the curtains, loops, frames & crossbars reveal every intricate detail the people needed to construct it; every piece of instruction was purposefully given to display God’s holiness & to contrast our sinfulness. We may never fully grasp His ways, but we can be assured that his plan is good, trustworthy and we are tremendously loved. I am so thankful that because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice made on the cross, now nothing can separate us from his love. We can boldly approach him and always find grace & mercy in our time of need.

    1. So good, Ella! I agree with you – thankful for this incredible picture of God’s love and the fact that we now have access to the Most Holy Place through the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ. Always so encouraged by your insight – thanks for the ways you’re leading out in encouraging us through your time in the Word.

  2. I hope we can see this tabernacle one day! Such a beautiful display I’m sure but dull in comparison to His holiness. The very idea that we are included in every detail of these long ago plans is humbling. I’m so grateful for a God who not only cares about the details of our lives but pursues intimate relationships with us through those details.

  3. 1 – How complicated and detailed, but simple and sleek everything is. How colorful it must have been, and how elegant it must have been; especially for that time and age.

    2 – God wanted to be in the middle of his people but in his holiness the Israelites were not ready or good enough to have him in their midst. So God thought up this; a resting place on earth modeled after the heavenly things, that could be built up, taken down, transported with them and built up again. All while involving his people and being physically there for them to come to. Em… how do you build that!.?. What does heaven look like!.?. How can you make something granted and strong but also have it be able to disassemble and transport!.?. I don’t even think Ikea can come up with that! 😉
    On first hearing it, I could not really think what it would look like and how it would work. But as I looked it up, it all started to make sense. The vision with the instructions made it not look so impossible any more. And I think the same counted for Moses and israel.

    3 – God is everywhere and does everything with a purpose, knowing that makes you look around. And as it says in Matthew 7:7 …seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. You start to see his hand in all these things you did, look at, came by a 100 times.

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