This week’s Torah portion, called Terumah, enumerates in great detail (almost agonizingly so) all the aspects of the building of the Tabernacle. Why so much attention to detail? Almost the entire final third of Exodus is devoted to this one topic. What is even more strange is the fact that the Tabernacle was only a TEMPORARY house for God.
Exodus is about the birth of Israel as a nation! Why then interrupt the flow of the story to describe the building of this space?
I think it’s because God was calling Israel to grow up.
Think about how Israel responded to Moses and miraculous works of God. What did they primarily do? Grumble and murmur., They did so at the Red Sea!
Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
The Lord came up with the an amazing idea: Let them work together as one to build a House for me! During the building of the Mishkan, we don’t read about any complaining! God’s command to build the Tabernacle changed them! It began to transform them! This teaches us that transformation begins with the redeeming work that God does in our lives, but real and lasting change and transformation is solidified as a result of what we do for Him! Maturity and growth occurs in our lives as we choose to partner with Yeshua in building the Kingdom on both a communal and personal level!
God was calling Israel to grow up. He did not want to just live in a state of dependency — this would not be healthy. They needed to rise up and take responsibility, but this required them taking action through building! Only building begins to move us being self-centered, critical children who act spoiled and throw a temper tantrum when we don’t get our way. When Israel had nothing to do they complained! When they built the Tabernacle for God, they changed! All of us need to be with God and build for Him to experience the fullness of His transforming work in our lives.