20 Then he made the structure for the tabernacle of acacia wood. 21 Ten cubits was the length of a board, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each board. 22 Each board had two hand holds for fitting together. He did this for all the boards of the tabernacle. 23 The boards for the tabernacle he made this way: twenty boards for the south side. 24 Also he made forty bases of silver under the twenty boards, two bases under one board for its two hand holds, and two bases under the next board for its two hand holds. 25 For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made twenty boards 26 and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one board and two bases under the next board. 27 For the rear of the tabernacle westward he made six board. 28 He made two boards for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. 29 And they were separate beneath but joined at the top, at the first ring. He made two of them this way for the two corners. 30 There were eight boards with their bases of silver: sixteen bases, under every board two bases. 31 He made bars of acacia wood, five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, 32 and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 33 And he made the middle bar to run from end to end halfway up the boards. 34 And he overlaid the boards with gold, and made their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold. 35 He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen; with cherubim skillfully worked into it he made it. 36 And for it he made four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold. Their hooks were of gold, and he cast for them four bases of silver. 37 He also made a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework, 38 and its five pillars with their hooks. He overlaid their capitals, and their fillets were of gold, but their five bases were of bronze.
strength and beauty
When choosing the raw materials to make a building out of, a builder needs to ask what purpose the building is for. If the purpose calls for endurance, the builder will look for materials that can endure the stress. If the purpose is mainly for show, the builder will look for materials that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Most of the time, it is not one or the other. Architects and designers and construction engineers have to find the right balance between strength and beauty.
For the tabernacle, the challenges included the fact that it was to be taken down and moved regularly. This made strength even more important. Also, it was to be constructed in a desert. Its beauty was not going to be enhanced by idyllic surroundings. The materials had to dazzle.
The LORD has decided to manifest his presence among his people today. He takes up residence inside us. He has decided not to wait until our permanent glorified bodies arrive. We will always feel like we are not strong enough to endure, and we will always feel too ugly to represent God’s glory. But we are the ones he has chosen to do just that.
LORD, use us to show yourself to a lost world. Strengthen our structure, and beautify us, so that this dying world sees your life shining through us.