There has been a robust discussion down through the centuries on the meaning and application of these instructions. Now that the Temple no longer stands, the purpose of these verses, even to Jews, has become, at best, hazy. Yet, there may be lovely and powerful messages here that remain incredibly valuable today to a wide spectrum of believers in the One God.
We may not have the sanctuary or Temple as in days of old, but we still very much desire God’s nearness and guidance. Is it possible that the Divine principles expressed in ancient times to inform the architecture of the sanctuary speak to us, too, but now more to the architecture of our lives?
Let’s see how this might be so.
First, God instructed Moses to have the people bring the best gifts of their heart to build the edifice which causes God to dwell in their midst. Isn’t this intended for us, too, with respect to the offerings we bring for church and synagogue, as well as all things we bring and do for any sacred purpose?
God instructed Moses as to the special place for the ark that holds the testimony, God’s words received at Sinai. Doesn’t that instruction speak directly to us, too, as to the special and central place we must give to the word of God in the space of our own lives?
God instructed Moses that there must be a table in the sanctuary for the showbread. This bread was intended to demonstrate a continuing show of gratitude to God for the blessings of the earth, especially the bread that grows from it and sustains our lives. Don’t these words beckon us, too, to display a perpetual gratitude for our many blessings, especially for life and all that sustains it?
God instructed Moses to place a lamp stand in the sanctuary to spread light literally “over against the space before its face.” This was a light that actually enlightened, as God’s light enlightens our path. Don’t we, too, seek to reflect God’s light in our lives and in the world?
In these and so many other ways, God showed Moses a heavenly paradigm of what building space for God on earth entails. These verses call out to us as well to use our best means to architect and construct our own lives in ways that are consistent with these Divine principles. In doing so, we may, too, feel the warmth and strength of God’s ongoing nearness and guidance.