Rings in the Tabernacle
Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 20, 2013
I’ve been reading through the Bible marking it in the form of an Inductive study by highlighting words that are repeated. Also similar and related words. When I got to Exodus 37 something popped out at me. I looked at the number of times Moses repeated the word rings. I never noticed this before. That night when I was praying, my mind was suddenly filled with other texts about rings. First off, God’s Spirit explained what the rings were used on and what they were used for.
Exodus 37:5 KJ2000 And he put the poles into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark.
Exodus 37:13-15 KJ2000 And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings upon the four corners that were in the four legs of it. (14) Close to the border were the rings, the places for the poles to bear the table. (15) And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, to bear the table.
Exodus 37:26-28 KJ2000 And he overlaid it with pure gold, both the top of it, and the sides of it round about, and the horns of it: also he made for it a molding of gold round about. (27) And he made two rings of gold for it under its molding, by the two corners of it, upon the two sides of it, to be places for the poles to bear it. (28) And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold.
Exodus 38:4-7 KJ2000 And he made for the altar a bronze grate of network under its rim extending halfway down it. (5) And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of bronze, to be places for the poles. (6) And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with bronze. (7) And he put the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, to bear it; he made the altar hollow with boards.
Four items in the Tabernacle had rings, the ark, alter of incense, table of bread, the the altar of sacrifice. The rings were designed to insert poles the priests used to carry the four items. The temptation here is to look into what the materials represent – gold, bronze, and wood poles, but that wasn’t the lesson God’s Spirit wanted to teach. Looking back we see another story with rings. When Moses was on the mountain talking with God, people were at the base of the mountain trying to figure out what they wanted to do. Someone came up with the idea of making their own god, one they could control. So they all took off their rings and earrings then gave them to Aaron to build a god. I was shown a detail I never thought of before. Israel had wagons full of gold, silver, bronze, and all kinds of material, machines, tools, you name it they loaded it up in wagons and headed out. Now get this. The rings and earrings they donated to make their new god was something they personally carried. Moses came down pulverized the golden calf, mixed it with water and made them drink it. This showed them they were going to carry around the gold they foolishly used all their lives. It seems fair, if Israel used the gold they personally carried to make a god, personally carrying the items for God’s Tabernacle would remind them of their mistake throughout their entire journey. Now look at the difference. The impure gold was on the inside, and the carried the pure gold on their shoulders. It shows how God uses us when sin is still in us…. all of us, you, me, and the people your tempted to judge. What are you going to do – try and carry the load yourself or share the load like it’s designed to be handled?
The items contain a number of materials, but that’s not the question. Before the material was donated to the Tabernacle it was carried in wagons, now they had to carry it on their shoulders. Remember what happened when David tried writing his own rules and used new cart and some special oxen to haul the ark. Sure David thought he had good intentions, but he was loosing the spiritual meaning. The question of what the materials represents is seen when we look at what all of them have in common. It makes sense considering this study began by using similar words. All of these materials and items are used in service of the Tabernacle. They all have a story to tell. Carrying them represented service to God. You can look at what the wood, bronze, and gold represent – each interpretation has to fit the context of service to God and how we are supposed to support each item and detail God gives us for His service. It takes more than donating materials, more than donating the excess you have. You can look at the materials Israel donated for the construction of the Tabernacle two ways. It’s a fact God gave Israel all the materials. It’s a fact Israel worked over four hundred years for everything they walked out with. It’s also a fact, God could have let them slave away another four hundred years, or carry off only what they needed to build the Tabernacle. God’s in control of every detail. If He designs it to be carried, we carry it. It’s called service. The materials and items are for service – when we offer our lives to Christ – it should be for service in a manner He designed.