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Letting Go

We all cling to something.

Exodus 26:15-30 (ESV)

“You shall make upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. There shall be two tenons in each frame, for fitting together. So shall you do for all the frames of the tabernacle. You shall make the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side; and forty bases of silver you shall make under the twenty frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons; and for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side twenty frames, and their forty bases of silver, two bases under one frame, and two bases under the next frame. And for the rear of the tabernacle westward you shall make six frames. And you shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear; they shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring. Thus shall it be with both of them; they shall form the two corners. And there shall be eight frames, with their bases of silver, sixteen bases; two bases under one frame, and two bases under another frame.

“You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the side of the tabernacle at the rear westward. The middle bar, halfway up the frames, shall run from end to end. You shall overlay the frames with gold and shall make their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and you shall overlay the bars with gold. Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain.”

A tenon is a post that sticks out of a piece of wood so as to fit into a hole. A frame isn’t a solid board but a truss of boards. That’s nearly as strong but lighter. Two tenons on the bottom of each frame fit into holes in two silver bases. This suggests that each frame has two strong verticals joined by cross-pieces.

The striking thing about all this is that the tabernacle seems to be consuming most, if not all, of the plunder the Israelites received from the Egyptians. Much of it is either made of gold or overlaid with gold. How much gold could they have? Now add the 96 solid silver bases to support the frames. They must weigh tons. At 40 pounds each, that’d come to almost 4000 pounds (2 tons).

They’re being asked to give of their excess, but it’s still a mighty test of faith. Silver and gold do strange things to people. Letting go will be an act of worship that will change them.

Letting go is central to serving Jesus as Lord. We must let go of our dreams, our treasures and, most importantly, control. Our silver and gold aren’t metals; they’re our plans. Life for the Israelites was already so uncertain that they didn’t have much there to let go of. So, the silver and gold were what they could cling to. We cling to our vacation plans, our financial plans, and plans for our children’s future.

Amazingly, God usually lets us keep our plans, but when He doesn’t, we whine and pout. Ask God to help you see what’s really important. We should thank Him for the plans we get to keep and let go of the rest. Think back on the times when God not giving you what you wanted turned out to be fortuitous.

Praise the LORD for these “trials” and “setbacks.”

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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