Exodus 27 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
The tabernacle was the place where earthy, sinful men could meet with the Lord. Of course, most men and women were never able to get that close to God in ancient times, for only the priests could enter the Holy Place, and only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. The closest an ordinary person could come to God was in the court of the tabernacle where the bronze altar was located.
It is amazing just how much precious metal was used in the construction of the tabernacle. It has been estimated that the total weight of all the gold, silver and bronze used for the tabernacle was over eight tons. If you remember, the Israelites obtained all the gold and the silver from Egypt when the people willingly gave it over to them during their exodus. And we’ll find out later on that the bronze came mostly from contributions from Israelite women who gave to the Lord their bronze mirrors. They didn’t have glass mirrors back then; they could only see a poor reflection of themselves in finely burnished bronze. Apparently these women were willing to turn away from seeing their own reflection in order to get a better look at God.
You will have have noticed in the previous chapters that everything inside the tabernacle itself was either made of gold or covered with gold. Gold is the currency of kings and the glorious treasure of heaven. When inside the inner recesses of the sanctuary a priest knew that he had symbolically crossed over the threshold between earth and heaven and had entered into the very presence of God.
In the courtyard nothing was covered with gold. Instead everything was covered in bronze which symbolized the stuff of earth and the judgment of God. Thus the pillars holding up the screens in the courtyard, the wash basin or laver, the altar for sacrifices, and all its utensils were all made of bronze. Instead of having a faith of gold, when an Israelite walked into the courts of the tabernacle he or she would be reminded of their acts of bronze or sins of corruption (see Jeremiah 6:27-28). And that sin had to be dealt with in the place of earth before one could have fellowship with God in heaven. Even the priests who had performed the sacrifices would need to offer their own sacrifice on the bronze altar and then wash themselves in the bronze laver before entering the realm of gold.
The wonderful news is that God sent His golden son to take on the stuff of earth and to become the bronze serpent lifted high on a pole that anyone who looked to him by faith might be saved (see Numbers 21 and John 3:14). Of course, only those who have seen the depths of their sin in their own reflection and have turned away from it in disgust would want to take a look at the son of gold and be dazzled by his glory. Then, somehow, by God’s divine grace by our union with Christ we are metallurgically transformed into sons of gold and sons of God having access to God’s throne room and having a right to all the golden riches of heaven.