Here we begin consideration of the transactions of the forty days. Moses received instruction concerning a place of worship for the nation. It is important that we attempt to understand what this meant to the people at the time. The great underlying principles are all realized and fulfilled in Christianity.
The instructions began, not with the structure, but with its contents. An Ark was to be prepared and its place was to be at the very center of everything. The Ark with the covering cherubim symbolized that God dwelt among them. The mercy seat above it was a witness to a divine method to God.
The next instructions concerned the table of shewbread. In the East a table was always the symbol of fellowship. Thus the people were reminded of the possibility created of constant communion with God.
Instructions followed concerning the golden candlestick which was a light bearer symbolizing the testimony these people were called on to bear to the outside world. As between themselves and God the propitiatory or mercy seat had made fellowship possible, so between the nation and the world the same provision made testimony a necessity. Light shining in darkness is ever the symbol of holiness and hope. The very form of the candlestick indicated the unity of the people and the diversity of their service and testimony.
These three were the essential pieces of furniture at the center of the national life and religion: first, a meeting place with God on the basis of propitiation, second, a table for fellowship between God and His people, and, finally, a candlestick indicating the office to which they were called.
the Second Week after Epiphany