|Seeing the designer in his design||by Mickey Chiang|
Really, who among us enjoy reading lists of specifications or ploughing through specification manuals of, say, a new building? All right, you few architects can put down your hands. To most of us, such long lists of specifications, while necessary, are boring.
Those who have read Exodus Chapters 25-27 without feeling sleepy deserve praise for their powers of concentration, dedication and thirst for knowledge about God. For these three chapters contain God’s detailed specifications for the making of a tabernacle, a sanctuary in which He would dwell among the Israelites. The specifications included the furnishings.
The tabernacle was to be dignified and worthy of being the royal dwelling of the Almighty God, and yet be easily portable since the Israelites would be wandering for years before they settled down in the Promised Land.
Amazingly, the first specifications were not for the making of the tabernacle but of an “ark”. It was to be “a chest of acacia wood – two and a half cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high” (Ex 25:10). As an expert architect would do, God specified the correct material to be used.
But why acacia wood? According to the Ivax wood products company, it is very durable, hard, tough and has good strength and flexibility. It is resistant to dry rot, insect attack, water and to scraping. And, wait for this, it is used for fences, decks and garden furniture where even if unvarnished it can last forty years. Now, how many years did the Israelites carry the ark through wildernesses and fording streams before claiming the Promised Land? Forty years? What a knowledgeable and far-seeing God we have!
There were further specifications for the ark. It had to have an overlay of pure gold, inside and outside, and a gold moulding around it. “Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other.” These rings were for the acacia poles on which the ark was to be carried about. “Make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover … their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover.” These were detailed, precise and clear specifications.
And so it is with the table, the lampstand and the tabernacle. The longest list of specifications was for the tabernacle. They started with: “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman. All the curtains are to be of the same size – twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide” (Ex 26:1&2).
Why linen and why the specific three colours? Linen was to be the cloth worn by the priests when they served in the tabernacle. It was associated with cleanliness and holiness. It was a material full of holes through which air could pass, thus providing cooling ventilation inside the enclosed tabernacle; this was needful in the hot arid lands through which the Israelites would be travelling. And as for the colours, they would give an attractive and distinguished appearance to the tabernacle, and purple was a colour reserved for royalty in those days.
God is not someone haphazard, woolly headed, imprecise in His instructions. Instead, the design for the ark tells us that He is a consummately creative and imaginative designer, precise in the details. And that was how He made the Universe, right down to the tiniest identical sub-atomic particles. The Universe and all the things in it did not just “happen” but were meticulously designed to the smallest detail. How great and creative is our God!
|Upcoming Course - A Philosophy of Church Ministry (CM201, 3 cr)|
BGST is happy to announce a new course starting July 14, Saturday 2.00-4.00pm that attempts to help churches examine their “reason for being”:
- then you might want to sign up for “Philosophy of Church Ministry” (CM201, 3 credits).
Dr Quek Swee Hwa, the lecturer, brings together his many years of pastoral experience and global ministries and welcomes you to join him as he brings you to visit a broad spectrum of churches.
Theology when applied to the Church means, among other things, the honing of pastoral or shepherding skills. That is the biblical model of the pastor. On a wider, more public level, these are preaching, teaching, and church management. At a more personal level, there are both skills as well as attitudes that can make or break the pastoral ministry of a church: pastors and pastoral staff should develop good listening skills, have a genuine love for people, be willing to comfort and visit the sick and needy, unafraid to rebuke and exercise church discipline with love, and generally be able to communicate and guide all age levels within the church. Rarely can we find all these qualities in one person. But where they are being developed within a church staff team, with the help of a suitable and good support structure, we are confident that a church can be a powerful instrument to nurture Christians in their faith and thereby bring honour and glory to the name of Jesus, its Head.
More information may be found at the following link: http://www.bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events/298-a-philosophy-of-church-ministry
|Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be preaching at the 10.15am and 3.30pm services at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel on 8 July 2012 on the topic, “Rape, Civil War and Deviousness: Israel’s Disgrace” (Judges 19-21).|
|There will be no chapel on 11July 2012 at BGST Clarus Centre. BGST chapel will resume on 18 July 2012 for Dedication of Academic Year 2012-13, Venue: BGST, Time: 12 pm - 1 pm. You are most welcome to join us.|
|Other Courses Commencing in July 2012|
|Upcoming Public Lecture and Incentive Courses|
|Course Schedule for 2012-2013 Semester 1|
|For more information on the Course Schedule, please visit our website: http://www.bgst.edu.sg/media/files/courses/2012-2013-sem1.pdf
|37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Clarus Centre, S(577177).
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