Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain. Exodus 27:8

Many have undertaken to draw pictures of the tabernacle and its furnishings. However there are major differences between these pictures. Why would this be so? The directions we have in Exodus are not specific enough for us to know exactly how these things looked. People interpret Moses’ descriptions according to their own ideas.

When Moses was on the mountain God told him what to build. However he was not only given written directions but also pictures. Words alone were not enough, Moses was “shown” what to build.

Throughout Exodus God gave his people written instructions on how to live a life that would ensure God’s blessing but it wasn’t enough. Situations occurred that were not covered in God’s Word. In Jesus’ day the Pharisees added to these instructions to cover every possible happening but in so doing created an unbearable burden for people (Luke 11:46).

Likewise for us written instructions are not enough. God sent Jesus not to give us more instructions but to show us a godly life. In Hebrews 1:3 we read, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” Jesus is the exact representation of God. This is why Jesus was able to say to Philip, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

God’s written word provides a guide as to what pleases God but when we want specifics we look to Jesus and his Spirit within us. When we seek his ways, we will be “shown,” perhaps not in pictures but by knowing in our hearts. “Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21).