【Bible Study】Exodus 26: God Is Very Specific About His Tabernacle

Bible Study: Exodus


Good morning everyone, today let's look at Exodus chapter 26. In the past many years, we have not been paying enough attention to the Book of Exodus. As a new believer, I did not really know what I was doing. And whenever I read something like Exodus chapter 26, I just bypassed it. Do you know what kind of things I have bypassed? Many times, I have ignored all those books with long lists of names explaining who was born. Another thing is about describing how to build a Tabernacle.

But this time, I have to lead the Bible study. I cannot bypass them anymore. I have to tell you what this is talking about. It is a big challenge. What is God trying to tell us? Am I going to build a Tabernacle today? No, I'm going to build a church, a glorious church! But is there anything in common? Yes! Definitely! And we got to know how God works. For this chapter, we will look at the topic which is very crucial for all of you. I'm sure you will have a similar feeling when you read the Book of Exodus chapter 26 which mentions all listed items required to build a Tabernacle. A lot of things were mentioned that we have not been bothered about. But, we have to bother about one thing: HOW GOD DOES THINGS.

Being specific is the characteristic of God

God is very specific about his Tabernacle. When we are doing an assignment that was given by God, do you think God gives us an assignment in a manner that has no instruction provided? "You need to build a Tabernacle." "Yes! What kind of Tabernacle do you want?" "You can build anything you like." "Okay, I will build it in anything I like." After one was built, then God said "this was not the one I wanted." Then we will probably ask "what do you actually want?"

Just the same as when you work for a company, your manager asks you to build something, and you don't know what it looks like, but it can be anything. Then you build something, the manager tells you that it is not what he wants. What do you want? I'm sure you will encounter this kind of problem in some way because there are a lot of managers who are not being specific.

One day I was promoted to be a manager, I said "what am I going to do to be a manager?" I really have a problem with being a manager. There are a lot of young people amongst us, I hope I can give them good training from the start that is being specific. So when we become a manager, and I say "there are so many people, what am I going to do with this?" I hate being a manager! I like to be an engineer because as an engineer, I just fixed technical problems. This was much easier than dealing with humans. When I gave assignments to those people, their responses seemed to be so blurry and so confusing. So in the end, I got to make it specific.

So being specific is a part of the characteristic of God, so God is very specific. Even today, if you build a church, God is still very specific about how you build a church. So when you're dealing with your manager or your superior, if he or she gives you an assignment without being specific, then this person is a lousy manager. Now you know the attributes of a good manager. So am I a good manager? Yes, I am a good manager because I study how to be a manager by being specific! So God is very specific about his Tabernacle, it never goes by feeling.

We need to learn how to be specific

There was one interesting talk show in English. The guy on the stage told the audience that he was gay. Then he asked the audience, "do you know why I want to be a gay?" Then everybody stayed quiet. How did we know why? "I have had a lot of relationships with women, and I hate that kind of relationship." Oh my God no! Then the guy said, "every time when I ask women what they want to eat, they just say anything." When going for dinner, the guy said, "oh let's go for a hamburger." "Oh no, no, no, no no no. I hate hamburgers." "Oh my God! You hate hamburgers? But you just say you could eat anything? You hate hamburgers, so what do you want to eat?" "Ohh, anything!" "Let's go for pizza." "Ohh, I hate pizza." In the end, the relationship broke down.

Therefore, what I'm saying is that being specific is a part of the puzzle of being a human. If you are not specific, then you will have a problem. In the Doctrine of Destiny, we give it a Chinese name called Ming Ding, which is equivalent to Destiny, but it's a much better word than destiny. Destiny can sometimes be very misleading. Ming Ding is what we are living for. The Doctrine of Destiny is talking about a doctrine that restores and redefines the term called Salvation. Salvation is to restore the image of God, while we are still alive, not after death. If you live out the image of God, you will go back to Jesus Christ; if you live out the image of the devil, you will go back to the devil's place. What is the image of God? Need to be specific.

When women go shopping, they hang around. They don't know what they want, they just look around the shop windows without being specific. Men behave totally differently. They know what they want and go straight into the shop, pick up the things and pay. I'm not biased against any gender, but that is the typical characteristic. If you are a man, then you can be specific; if you are a lady, you will need to learn how to be specific and not to go by feeling. God never teaches us too much about feeling. You may think joy is a feeling. God never asks to depend on joy. God asks us to live by every word of God. That's very specific.

Engineering mindset is needed to build a church

In the old days, Moses went up to the mountain and God gave him a drawing about how to build a Tabernacle.

"Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain. (Exodus 26:30)

So you need to make a plan, a drawing, and be specific. If you are not specific, you have a big problem. Just as if you're doing software programming, or doing anything without a plan, you will write some lousy code and the code is not readable by the computer at all.

Therefore, you need a drawing, a plan, and a blueprint. What you really need to do is to learn how to do the planning. Being specific is the image of God. Do you want to have the image of God and never go by feeling?

Fortunately, I am an engineer by training. Now, I still remember the first day that I stepped into the university. I managed to get into one of the top universities. And I was a top student most of the time because I knew how to learn and how to study. The first lesson I was taught at the university was wonderful. I still remember it. Do you know what the professor was sharing with us? They tried to shift our minds into paying due diligence by doing something with great care. Because someone built an aircraft and did not pay enough attention, and he just overlooked a pin, and in the end, the aircraft crashed in the air. As a result, the pilot died. Hence why I have a regimented approach of following the rules and the processes and strictly following the engineering design. That was how I was trained.

Another story I learned is about a university in Canada which specializes in training Civil and Construction Engineers. I knew many of you could be at times quite blurred. That is surely a very bad habit. Do you know in the Canadian college that every graduated engineer was given a metal ring to be worn on their fingers? Anyone who has the ring is a good engineer and it all started years ago. The story was made very famous by one of the graduates who built a metal structure bridge and that bridge collapsed, killing many people. Can you imagine many cars traveling on the bridge when it collapsed? The cars were doing a freefall. In the end, the college president bought the collapsed metal racks and placed them in the college yard. Every year at the graduation ceremony, the president would melt the metal and make it into a ring presented to the graduated engineers. The metal ring reminded them of the story of the collapsed bridge.

When I was young, I was trained in this way. Today, I have to tell all of you to equip yourself with the character of God. You know that God made human beings and human beings can perform well. A human body cannot function without arms, legs, heart and liver. The body requires a complete system that cannot go without one another. Our body system takes in food and the food becomes energy. A drainage system to discharge all the waste. God never forgot “Oh, I forgot to make a liver.” “Oh, I forgot to make a leg.” This had never happened as God is a wonderful engineer. Human beings are one of the most complex engineering works made by God.

How to build a church that glorifies God

God had been very specific in building a Tabernacle. Moses was given the drawing and brought the drawing down to the mountain. Moses built the Tabernacle according to God’s plan and God’s glory was signified in the tabernacle. If you build a Tabernacle anyhow, you have a big problem. That is also the reason why some churches have the glory of God and some churches have no glory of God. I am an engineer by training so I know I have to follow what God revealed to us. Am I clear to you? You have to follow the rules and follow the drawing.

In the early days when I was building a church, I need people to attend the church so I prepared a lot of scrumptious food such as chicken, duck, beef, and other good food. Many people came to the church but they were a bunch of people who were only good at eating. Is a church supposed to provide good food and attract those who were only interested in eating?

I was not building a canteen but building a church that glorified God. A canteen’s job is to provide good food and building a church is to glorify God. After a year, I realized the church had no glory because it became a canteen, a place for eating. It was not even a restaurant and it was so horrible. I did not want to attract people who were only good at eating like animals. I wanted to build a church with everyone who wanted to contribute. I started gradually by reducing the food, serving fruits to drinks. In the end, do you know what happened? If they wanted to take a bottle of water, they had to pay a dollar.

Some people commented if that would work as other churches offer free food. This place is to train people to follow the word of God, this place has the word of God, and this place has the presence of God and the blessing from our Almighty God because I wanted to build a church with the glory of Our Almighty God.

Follow God’s instructions ultimately

Follow the plan and follow what had been described in the New Testament. If you want to know how to build a Tabernacle, you better study the letters of the Apostle Paul. Apostle Paul had made it so clear how to build a Tabernacle. He was a good manager and he had revelations from Jesus Christ. In the end, he was writing so many letters telling us how to build a church with the glory of Almighty God. It was like Moses going to the mountain to get revelation from God and build a Tabernacle according to what God said.

This is the character that God favors. Do you have this character? If you do not have this character, you better train yourself with this character by following the rules and plans. Be specific on what kind of materials, measurements, colors, the number of items, the inter drawing, and the connection on how to fit them together with the bolts and nuts to form a stable structure. This was the plan in God's mind. God‘s Tabernacle shall look like a holy place putting all the things as per God’s instructions.

When I studied this chapter and I realized how wonderful God is. God was so specific and never behaved like a woman who was not specific on things. “What do you want to eat? Anything!” God never behaves like that. What kind of Tabernacle did you want to build? Anything, anything. No, that was not God’s reply that was waht a lousy manager would said. Is there anyone among us? If there is anyone among us and if I said to you, "Let us go for a meal together and what do you want to eat?” If you answered anything, my advice for you is “You better change.” Do not come up with an answer “anything” when I recommended you what to eat, you declined and said, "I hate this."

Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain. Exodus26:30 NIV

I learned a great lesson from verse 30 about how am I going to follow what the church is supposed to do? What is the definition of a church given by Jesus Christ? There were many people who were not bothered by God’s instructions of building a church and did exactly the opposite. Do you know what happened? “God, God, why are you not here?” God replied, “Why should I be here?”

Follow what God has revealed to us

I am very particular about the church, and the picture of building it according to God’s desire is getting clearer. Do you know the church is supposed to be a place of shepherding? The shepherding of the sheep and lamb. What is shepherding? **It is to feed the sheep and the lamb to make them grow and God will make them grow. So I work hand in hand with God.God is working among us. I like verse 30 very much, “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain,” which is wonderful, but do not ask me to study this and that, or ask me what is the meaning of doing this and that?

Let me tell you the skin was the skin. Do you understand? The Bronze was the bronze, the silver was the silver overlaid with a layer of gold. Do you understand? You might say I do not understand why God wanted to be done in this way. I do not understand why you do not understand. When God told us to do it, we obey and follow his instructions. Have you ever got the idea why God overlaid the gold and not a layer of mud? If God was going to explain in the book of Exodus why he was using these materials to build the tabernacle, it would be 1000 pages long.

You might be wondering why God did not tell us and I am so curious about it. Are you curious to know the answer? When I am leading the bible study, I study what God had to reveal to us and I do not study what God had not revealed to us. What God had revealed to us was enough for us to swallow. If you want to know what God did not reveal to us, good luck to you. Never studied the things God never bothered to tell you. Are you with me? You pay attention to those God revealed to you.

Let's look at the verse in Deuteronomy,

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29)

I don't want to tell you what God did not even share with us. God did not even share with us why. I want to share with you for the things God has revealed. If you can follow well, you are already someone. You've got what God revealed to you. But if you do not want to follow and want to study what God never even shares with you, that is not knowing God. That is not the approach to knowing God. The right approach is to study what God has revealed to us, which is the approach I am using.

One day I was listening to a Bible study from a pastor. Hestudied Hebrews. I listened from beginning to end. It took one hour but everything he said was his own thing. He never talked about the book of Hebrews at all. I’m so shocked. How come it was like that?

“Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman.” (Exodus 26:1, NIV)

The description is very clear so that there is no room for error. And also it is very specific. If you follow the instructions to build, it will surely work. Similarly, if you follow what was revealed to us about how to build a church, the glory of Almighty God will surely fill the church.

We need the fundamental skills of language

The tabernacle was sophisticated. It was so finely designed, overlaid with gold and silver. And cherubim were woven into curtains by a skilled worker. It was nicely knitted and built together. It’s a nice piece of artwork. It’s not something that they bought, but the measurements might be wrong. It was never like that. If you follow the instructions to put the boards and nuts together, it will be stable and will surely work.

What I wanted to share with you is that Moses was able to put it in words. It was over 3500 years ago, Moses was able to describe it in words. That’s very important. So when I studied this chapter, I got what God was trying to tell us. God is specific and designed with delicate ideas.

Let me talk about language. It’s wonderful to be able to describe things in a clear manner. In Singapore, we follow the British education structure. We have an exam called general paper. It’s basic English. If you read the preface, it says the most important thing of the language is to be able to articulate, to be able to put it in words, be able to concise. The most important thing is clarity.

When I was a manager, whenever staff walked in. I asked them if they can share with me what they want to do. Sometimes, they said that they didn’t know how to say it in English or Chinese. It’s not a problem whether he can speak English or Chinese, he just can't say the exact word.

Language is super important. You have to know that general education teaches you fundamental skills of language. Moses made it so clear because he was trained well in the palace in Egypt as a prince. He had a good education, and he is wonderful. So when God revealed to him all the instructions on the mountain, he could put it into words, it’s amazing!

If you can speak it out in a clear manner, it’s called clarity. Because the fundamental of language is knowledge, if you don’t know the word and you don’t know how to speak it, you don’t have the vocabulary or the concept. For example: a silver base, overlaid with gold. If you study well, you know that knowledge is in words. So you should study language well. You should learn how to read, and also learn how to write in clarity.

You need to master the language, that’s why I encourage all of you to be able to learn. If you don’t learn, then what do you do? A lot of times, I asked if they could repeat what I said. They just couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the knowledge. That's a problem,

Learn language skills and logical thinking skills

You need to have an engineering mindset to build a Tabernacle. You need to think logically when building God’s church. You need to have the language skills so that you can put it in words and communicate to the people. That's how it works. I have plans for this church. There are 2 fundamental things which will somehow catch up the missing elements in your education.

Number 1 is language. You’d better learn how to read, write, speak and most importantly listen. If you don’t listen, you're not going anywhere. Number 2, you have to learn engineering way. You have to have engineering mindset and logical thinking. Do you want to live well? What happens if you get old? Would you plan for retirement at age 40? Or would you retire at the age of 50? I don’t care whether you are 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90. You need to catch up the engineering mindset and logical thinking skills. Some people say we need to have critical thinking. But if you can’t even think things logically, how do you use critical thinking?

What I am trying to say is that you have to put into words what God told you. You see, the doctrine of destiny likes to put things in words. Over the past 10 years, I have written 80 books. I like to put things in words. That is a wonderful thing. I accumulated a lot. If you ask me, “Do you like writing?” Yes, I do like writing. Because writing can make my mind clearer, if I do not put it into words, my mind can not make it clear. Writing is not for the sake of writing and writing is for making your mind clear.

You know how important language is. Don’t say that you don’t know how to speak English, or you don’t know how to say it in Chinese, Malay or any other human language. It’s because you don’t have the knowledge. If you have knowledge, why don’t you know how to speak it? So equip yourself with knowledge, word, vocabulary, keep on learning and pushing yourself forward. Learning is a part of life. In the past few years, if you haven't learned, you have to catch up with what you missed.

Moses was a guy who God used a lot. He learned a lot of engineering and languages. He was able to put God’s instructions into a clear manner, and that’s why God used him all the time.

Without knowledge, people will perish

Apostle Paul did much more valuable contribution to the building of the churches. Paul wrote a lot compared to Apostle Peter. I think Apostle Peter was not a great learner. After Jesus resurrected, he continued to serve in the church for 20 years. After 20 years, Peter still couldn’t write, he needed someone to write it down for him. But Apostle Paul is able to write very well. If you want to be used by God, you have to be a learner. I'm still surprising why Apostle Peter spent 20 years but he’s not learning. What did he do? Hanging around?

For somebody, every time he studies, his entire body is in pain except his hair. That’s a big issue. When some people study, their entire body is uncomfortable, every part of their body can feel the pain. We can’t go on like that any more. Becoming a learner is a part of salvation, it is a part of knowing God. Without knowledge, people will perish. When people lack knowledge, its a sad thing. So don’t allow yourself to wander and waste time. Doing nitty-gritty things, or wandering around is just a waste of time. As they get old, only age grows, their knowledge will shrink. Their knowledge is the same even when your 60 years old. Because they never learn, they only learn to chitchat among the old ladies.

Do you want to do management? Follow the approach of God. Do you want to restore the image of God? Then follow the approach of God. Be specific, learn the word of God, and set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown to you on the mountain. I hope you understand how critical it can be. If you master languages, you will know how to make things clear. After you listen to what I say, one day you will grow in your knowledge about God. If you follow this approach of Doctrine of Destiny, one day you will understand what people are talking about.

In summary, be specific, follow the word of God, and build a church full of the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s going to be one of the most rewarding things in life.

May the Lord bless you.

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