Exodus 25:23-30. 23 “You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 24 You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it. 25 And you shall make a rim around it a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. 26 And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 27 Close to the frame the rings shall lie, as holders for the poles to carry the table. 28 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. 29 And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings; you shall make them of pure gold. 30 And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.
On Mount Sinai Moses mediated the covenant between God and Israel. It is a conditional covenant structured as an If-Then agreement. Otherwise known as the Law. A law that the people declared they would obey, but we all know how that turns out.
And so in addition to the Law, God is also speaking the Gospel to the Hebrews. And it comes in the form of the blueprint for the Tabernacle of God. A blueprint that would start at the inside and work its way out. From the ark and the mercy seat in the Holiest Place to the table of the bread of the Presence in the Holy Place. Everything will radiate out from God’s Shekinah Glory.
The table described in Exodus 25 that will set in God’s tent is sort of the like the ark. Wood overlayed with gold, rings for poles to carry it, pitchers and bowls for drink offerings, and plates for incense.
And of course the bread of the Presence.
Why on earth are the Hebrews told to set out 12 loaves of bread for God each week (see Lev. 24:5-9)? Is God hungry? Is God the bread? No and no. God is not the bread and the bread is not meant to feed God. In pagan temples bread was put out for the deity each day because those gods were constantly hungry and never satisfied. But with Yahweh it is quite the opposite. The bread is FROM God not FOR God. Like the manna from heaven that was rained down each day, the bread is the provision of God for man. Twelve loaves for the tribes, the people, not one loaf for God. God doesn’t need anything from you or me. We don’t satisfy God, he satisfies us.
So let’s get real here for a minute. What will you do today to try to satisfy God? How will you try to feed God today? Please understand today that you live for a perfectly satisfied God. And all it takes is faith in that fact to please him.
Now here’s the most important part. It’s the bread of the Presence. God’s provision for us, his “bread” that satisfies us, is HIMSELF. His own presence. The Hebrew word for presence is paniym which is the same word as face and is connected to the idea of being “before the Lord” – And you shall set the bread of the Presence [paniym] on the table before me [paniym] regularly.
When God’s holy presence is before us all that we long for will be satisfied. Every hunger. Every thirst. Every desire is met when we live face to face with God. God is our greatest provider but he is also our greatest provision.
Remember, the Tabernacle is only a shadow of the deeper reality of God. It’s not about the actual bread, it’s about God. He is the love we long for. He is the mercy we desperately need. He is the safety we run to. He is the comfort we crave. He is the beauty that compels us.
How do we know? How do we know that God is all that we need and desire? Because the life and cross of Jesus has revealed both our greatest need and God’s greatest provision to us way beyond the tabernacle and loaves of bread on a gold table. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. He is our source of life and love. He is the presence of God with us, sustaining us. The crowds didn’t feed Jesus, he fed them.
Christ was sent to us by God to give us what our hearts have been aching for since the Garden, the presence of God with man. He is the paniym of God. The very face of God.
2 Corinthians 4:6. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Our union with Christ now allows us to live “before the Lord.” We can live face to face with God by gazing at the beauty and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He is the proof that God has provided for us by giving us himself.
So again let’s get real for a minute here. What are you counting on to satisfy you today? Him or her? Success at work? Money? Some undisturbed couch time later tonight? Sex? Food? Entertainment? How will you allow these things to drive you into the presence of God? Are you even aware of the presence of God in your life (if you’re a regular reader of this blog I would hope so).
“To live is Christ” has placed the bread of the Presence in you. Your union with Christ is the bread that God feeds your soul with. So stop trying to feed God and start feasting in the house of God on the bread of his soul satisfying presence.