Exodus 36

The Word Made Fresh

1“Bezalel and Oholiab, along with everyone else to whom the LORD has given the needed skills and knowledge to perform all the work in the sanctuary, will do everything according to the plan God has given,” Moses said.

2Then Moses gathered Bezalel and Oholiab and all those the LORD had given abilities and who desired to help. 3Moses gave them all the items the people had brought as offerings for building the sanctuary. People were still bringing things every morning. 4Those who were working on the sanctuary came to Moses. 5They said, “The people are bringing much more than we need to do the LORD’s work.” 6So Moses issued instructions for the people to stop bringing things, and the people stopped 7because there was already more than enough to do all the work.

8Those who had volunteered to do the work made the tent with ten curtains of linen and blue, crimson, and purple yarns, sewing the cherubim images into them. 9Each curtain was forty-two feet by six feet. 10Bezalel joined them together in two sets of five curtains each. 11He made loops of blue yarn on the edge of the end curtains in each set; 12fifty loops on the edge of each set opposite each other. 13He also made fifty gold clasps to join the curtains together.

14He made eleven goats’ hair panels for the covering over the sanctuary. 15Each panel was forty-five feet long by six feet wide. 16Five panels were joined in one set and six in the other. 17He put fifty loops on the edge of the panels in each set so they could be fastened together, 18and fifty bronze clasps to hold them together. 19These were covered with rams’ skins and tanned leather.

20The upright frames were next, made of acacia wood. 21Each frame was fifteen feet long by twenty-seven inches wide, 22and each had two pegs to join them together. 23There were twenty frames for the south side 24with forty bases of silver beneath them, two at the end of each frame. 25Twenty frames were also made for the north side, 26with forty silver bases, two under each frame. 27For the west end of the sanctuary tent, which was the rear, he made six frames, 28plus two for the rear corners. 29They were joined at the topmost rings to form the two corners. 30That made eight frames altogether with sixteen silver bases, two under each frame.

31He made the crossbars of acacia wood, five for the frames on each side of the sanctuary tent, 32plus five more for the rear toward the west. 33The crossbars were passed through end to end halfway up the frames. 34Then he overlaid the frames with gold and made the gold rings to hold the crossbars which were also overlaid with gold.

35He made the curtain from blue, purple and crimson yarns woven into fine linen, with cherubim images sewn into it. 36He made four poles of acacia wood overlaid with gold and with gold hooks and he also cast the four silver bases.

37He made the screen to cover the entrance of the tent. It, too, was made of fine linen with blue, purple and crimson yarns woven into it and embroidered with needlework. 38He also made its five poles with hooks overlaid with gold. The bronze bases were also overlaid with gold.

Commentary

1: Moses announces that Bezalel and Oholiab and everyone else whom the LORD has given skills will be put to work to make everything the LORD has given the plans to do.

2-7: He calls them forward and turns over to them all the offering that the people have given. The people continue to bring supplies for the sanctuary and all its trappings until the artisans say they have more than enough. Think what could be done if congregations today would read these verses and take heart.

8-9: The curtain panels for the outer walls of the tabernacle – the fence that encloses the courtyard that contains the sanctuary, the altar and everything else – are the first thing they address.

10-13: The “he” in this paragraph is Bezalel, the one in charge of all the work. He fastens the panels together with loops of blue yarn and gold clasps.

14-19: The panels for the roof of the tabernacle are woven from goats’ hair and fastened together.

20-30: The frames and bases on which they are to stand are made next.

31-34: Bars of acacia wood overlaid with gold are fashioned to provide additional support for the upright frames.

35-38: The curtains and their frames are fashioned to serve as the front of the tabernacle.

Takeaway

Step by step. Piece by piece. That is how the wilderness sanctuary was built. God gives the instructions and little by little the outcome takes shape. Can you see that happening in your own life? Are you gathering the tools you need? Are you following the plan? Can you see, if only in part, the plan God has for you?