Exodus 25:23-30 The Table
The next piece of furniture God gives Moses the design for is the table. This is where the showbread will be placed.
I noticed a couple of things about the pattern for the table. First of all, its width and length are smaller than that of the Ark but their height is the same. The dimensions are: Length = 2 cubits = 3 feet = 0.9144 meter, width = 1 cubit = 1.5 feet = 0.4572 meter, and height = 1.5 cubits = 2.25 = 0.6858 meter. The Ark is .5 cubits wider and longer than the table.
Secondly, both pieces were made with the same materials and made to be carried the same way. But God doesn’t give any instructions about leaving the poles in place on this piece. Both pieces also had the rings for the poles placed on their legs.
The third thing I noticed is the molding of gold around it. I wondered if this “handbreadth” added to the table’s overall dimensions in width and length. After a lot of searching I believe it added to its height instead. From most of the image of other people’s representations the “rim” went up and down, forming a boundary around the table so nothing fell off. This makes a LOT of sense to me.
Something that has me wondering is how much decorative embellishments God allowed to be on His furniture. Did He keep them simple and unadorned or did He go all out like Solomon did on the temple? I know God put a LOT of beauty into His design but was it simplistic beauty or one of elaborate design? I’m thinking the former case because He wanted the people to pay attention to the meaning and use of the items and not the items themselves. But then again, God gave us the flowers in all their beauty. He apparently loves intricate designs and detail.
God doesn’t go into great detail here for us about the dishes; plates, dishes for incense, flagons and bowls. He doesn’t say how many and what they will look like but He does say they are to be made of pure gold. What kind of design did they receive? What did God’s “good dishes” look like?
When I was thinking about the dishes earlier I was reminded of setting the table for company. In my grandmother’s day you brought out the “fine china” for special occasions. These were beautiful dishes with pieces made especially to impress your guests. I mean, how many people use a “gravy boat” or a “soup tureen” on a regular basis? These things were for special guests.
That is not the case in my home. I have a feeling I’m not alone in how I set my “company” table. My company is always family and it is usually a BIG gathering. I don’t even own a set of china or have enough dishes in my cupboard to feed everyone with. Instead we use disposable plates and cutlery. I always make a joke about using the “fine china” for the meal.
It isn’t that I don’t value my company enough to put out special dishes just for them but I don’t own any and have nowhere to store them if I did. Using disposable dishes also makes clean up easier and lets me spend more time with the people instead of the kitchen sink.
Another thing about the “fine china” for company brings to mind something I heard years ago. I don’t even remember who said it but it stuck with me. The comment was that if you reserve your best for “company only” you are devaluing your family. You should be setting your best before the ones you love, not just the stranger who happens to be in attendance. I should treat my family as honored guests too. I recognize the need to protect children from breakable dishes though. Safety first in this case. But shouldn’t you lavish your love on your family too?
The table and dishes God gave Moses designs for would be VERY special. They would be the dishes set on His table every day. There weren’t separate dishes for the special Holy Days. They were God’s best, set before His family every day. They were not “disposable” dishes that needed replacing. Nor were they a cheap knock off. They were unique, special, and set before the Lord daily. And they contained “meals” specially prepared for Him.
Thinking about the showbread, for the first 38 years it was made from mana. I wonder how the taste of it, and possibly the recipe, changed when the people finally left the wilderness. Never again would they have the real bread of Heaven to offer back to the Lord. But the TRUE Bread of Heaven would be offered much later; Jesus Christ. After that offering, the bread prepared by man was no longer needed or welcome.
Thank You Jesus for being the Bread of Heaven for me. What You offered was/is SO much more precious than even the bread made from mana in the wilderness. Sweeter than honey and the honey comb! Thank You Father for setting Your best before me. I did not earn it but You gave it anyway from Your designs of the tabernacle to the last gifts given on Judgement day. You always give Your best!
I’m looking forward to see what all Your pieces look like “in living color.” Thank You for letting my imagination picture what was built by that first generation. THANK YOU for using them even after the sins they engaged in. That gives me comfort in my life. Not that I’m looking for leeway to sin but the knowing that You give me every opportunity to turn back to You. Help me NEVER try and find the boundaries of Your love.