The Tabernacle and Its Furniture. B. C. 1491.
1And Bezaleel made the ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half was the length of it, and a cubit and a half the breadth of it, and a cubit and a half the height of it: 2And he overlaid it with pure gold within and without, and made a crown of gold to it round about. 3And he cast for it four rings of gold, to be set by the four corners of it even two rings upon the one side of it, and two rings upon the other side of it. 4And he made staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. 5 And he put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, to bear the ark. 6 And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat 8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 9 And the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims.
I. It may be thought strange that Moses, when he had recorded so fully the instructions given him upon the mount for the making of all these things, should here record as particularly the making of them, when it might have sufficed only to have said, in a few words, that each of these things was made exactly according to the directions before recited. We are sure that Moses, when he wrote by divine inspiration, used no vain repetitions there are no idle words in scripture. Why then are so many chapters taken up with this narrative, which we are tempted to think needless and tedious? But we must consider, 1. That Moses wrote primarily for the people of Israel, to whom it would be of great use to read and hear often of these divine and sacred treasures with which they were entrusted. These several ornaments wherewith the tabernacle was furnished they were not admitted to see, but the priests only, and therefore it was requisite that they should be thus largely described particularly to them. That which they ought to read again (lest they should fail of doing it) is written again and again: thus many of the same passages of the history of Christ are in the New Testament related by two or three, and some by four of the evangelists, for the same reason. The great things of God's law and gospel we need to have inculcated upon us again and again. To write the same (says St. Paul) to me is not grievous, but for you it is safe, Philippians 3:1. 2. Moses would thus show the great care which he and his workmen took to make every thing exactly according to the pattern shown him in the mount. Having before given us the original, he here givers us the copy, that we may compare them, and observe how exactly they agree. Thus he appeals to every reader concerning his fidelity to him that appointed him, in all his house, and in all the particulars of it, Hebrews 3:5. And thus he teaches us to have respect to all God's commandments, even to every iota and tittle of them. 3. It is intimated hereby that God takes delight in the sincere obedience of his people, and keeps an exact account of it, which shall be produced to their honour in the resurrection of the just. None can be so punctual in their duty, but God will be as punctual in his notices of it. He is not unrighteous to forget the work and labour of love, in any instance of it, Hebrews 6:10. 4. The spiritual riches and beauties of the gospel tabernacle are hereby recommended to our frequent and serious consideration. Go walk about this Zion, view it and review it: the more you contemplate the glories of the church, the more you will admire them and be in love with them. The charter of its privileges, and the account of its constitution, will very well bear a second reading.
II. In these verses we have an account of the making of the ark, with its glorious and most significant appurtenances, the mercy-seat and the cherubim. Consider these three together, and they represent the glory of a holy god, the sincerity of a holy heart, and the communion that is between them, in and by a Mediator. 1. It is the glory of a holy god that he dwells between the cherubim that is, is continually attended and adored by the blessed angels, whose swiftness was signified by their faces being one towards another. 2. It is the character of an upright heart that, like the ark of the testimony, it has the law of God hid and kept in it. 3. By Jesus Christ, the great propitiation, there is reconciliation made, and a communion settled, between us and God: he interposes between us and God's displeasure and not only so, but through him we become entitled to God's favour. If he write his law in our heart, he will be to us a God and we shall be to him a people. From the mercy-seat he will teach us, there he will accept us, and show himself merciful to our unrighteousness and under the shadow of his wings we shall be safe and easy.