Did you know there is a building code for how many inches there must be between the toilet and a bathroom cabinet? Fact is, there’s codes for everything. But if you think local building codes are fussy, have a look at the regulations God required for the tabernacle, the precursor to the temple. You’ll find it in the book of Exodus, starting with this verse:
And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. (Exodus 25:8-9)
Back then, you had to know what a cubit was. And measure precisely. But why? Why would Almighty God give the impression that, if they used the wrong dimensions He couldn’t “dwell in their midst?” God is sovereign; He can dwell anywhere He wants. So what’s the deal?
Every detail of the design of the tabernacle nonverbally communicates some important truth. It’s fascinating to consider each part and ask, “What is this teaching?” But the overall specificity, the requirement that it be built exactly according to God’s instructions, teaches a lesson easily overlooked today. If you want to connect to God, you do so on His terms, not your own.
God is Who He is, not who we think He ought to be. His Name is, “I AM WHO I AM.” We don’t get to decide how to approach God. In those days, God taught that important lesson in a rudimentary way, using tabernacle dimensions, etc. But the lesson still holds today:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)