AFTER THE INCIDENT of the golden calf the people of Israel were deeply repentant. When Moses, their aged leader, toiled to the top of Mount Sinai to beg the Lord to forgive their great sin, He graciously agreed (Exodus 32:14). But He sent Moses down with a task for the people which would test their sincerity. On an earlier occasion God had spoken to Moses about building for Him a mobile temple, to be called ‘the Tabernacle’. ‘Let them build me a sanctuary’, He had said, ‘that I may dwell in their midst’ (Exodus 25:8). He had described the building carefully and shown Moses a model which he was to follow. Now the time had come to put the plan into action. The whole construction was to be made from gifts of timber, cloth, and precious metals donated by the people, and it would be put together by volunteer labour.
WHEN GOD BROUGHT His people Israel out of slavery in Egypt to lead them to the Promised Land, they camped in the desert in a city of tents. They needed a place that was set aside specially for the worship of God, and at first they used the tent of Moses, the man whom God had appointed as the people’s leader. This tent was pitched outside the main camp (Exodus 33:7–11). The Tabernacle While they were in the wilderness God gave them the Law which was to govern their life and worship, which became known as the Law of Moses. And He instructed them to build a special tent to be the focus of their national worship. This tent was called the Tabernacle, and whereas Moses’ tent had been outside the camp God insisted that the Tabernacle was erected in the centre of the camp, in the midst of His