We move to the boundaries of God’s new home; the courtyard. This sets the perimeter where all the activity of sacrifice was to be conducted.
This boundary didn’t mean that He had no influence beyond its borders or that those coming within them were always acting exactly as He directed. What it did represent is that those who entered these boundaries were entering into HIS territory. HIS house, HIS yard, HIS rules. He had authority over all that happened within those confines and He had a right to expect certain standards of those who chose to enter. He also had a right to say who could and couldn’t enter.
The boundaries of God’s “yard” were to be constructed out of fine linen. This is His fence material. Linen with posts every five cubits. That would make each piece between the posts a perfect square. I wonder if the material was made in square pieces or in continuous pieces that were tacked at even intervals. God didn’t say here like He did with the first two layers of the tabernacle coverings.
This brings up a question for me. The top two layers of the tabernacle aren’t given dimensions or divisions. Were they each done in a single piece? I may have asked this question already but the fence material brought the question back to me.
IF the fencing is made in single runs that would have amounted to two 100 cubit pieces, one 50 cubit piece, two 15 cubit pieces and one 20 cubit piece. I have a feeling it was made in pieces. That would make sense too because then if something happened to one section it would be easier to repair or replace it. It would also be easier to carry it. I cannot imagine the weight of a piece 5X100 cubits!
The boundaries of the courtyard were not meant to contain God’s influence on the people’s lives. They were His children and they made a covenant with Him regarding their conduct in all their lives. His first set of rules were for daily living, not just how they behaved inside His house. But these boundaries were to remind the people that there were standards and requirements for approaching God. He set down rules they would have to follow when they came to Him. And come they would for He held their future and their present.
Thinking about “God’s yard” brings back memories of my grandparents on my father’s side. We lived quite a ways from them but would visit them regularly. I remember coming up the walkway between the yard and their home. We never had to knock to gain admittance. My parents simply called out “knock knock” and went on in. We were family and were always welcome. But when we entered their home we KNEW there were expectations.
The first of those expectations was in greeting everyone. Our family was huggers and hugs were expected to be received and given with love and joy. That was never a problem for me but new additions to the family had to make the adjustment to the culture, not the other way around. Even the new grandchildren and great grandchildren adapted and adopted this standard.
Another expectation was that what was served was eaten or you went hungry. Grandma and grandpa ALWAYS made a HUGE breakfast and dinner but they didn’t cater to the desires of every person at the table. You had many choices from the available dishes prepared but if YOU choose none of them, that was YOUR issue to deal with not theirs. Lunches were not provided so those who didn’t eat breakfast either went hungry all day or fended for themselves. My family was used to a midday meal so my mom would sometimes take us to town to get something to help us make it comfortably to dinner.
A third expectation was that there was no roughhousing or running in my grandparent’s home. We might play more exuberantly in the yard but there were NO fights allowed. They were stopped in short order and those involved were disciplined appropriately.
One of the strongest expectations was that EVERYONE within the confines of my grandparent’s home were family. I honestly don’t recall my grandparents ever having visitors who were not related in some way in their home. I’m sure they must have but I never saw it. And as family, EVERY child was expected to obey EVERY adult and EVERY adult was expected to look out for the welfare of EVERY child. This meant you had TONS of eyes on you at all times making sure you were safe and abiding by the rules. It also meant there was a LOT of love arms you could turn to if there was trouble. I will admit that there were times we children got into mischief that didn’t get noticed, but that is another story and it was kept to a minimum because of our respect for our grandparents.
This is just a small part of how I see God’s house for His children. He had His arms open to receive them but there were expectations every time they “visited.” I can imagine the parents preparing their children for a visit to the Father’s house. “These are the rules…” I can also imagine the care that would be taken in constructing the pieces God had commissioned for His house. How much love went into each pass of the shuttle, piercing of the needle, strike of the hammer, bend of the metal, or braid of the rope? THAT would have been a work of love I would have liked to have been a part of.
God gives us “works of love” that we can be part of now. This is my work of love. My mother in laws happens in her kitchen as she prepares cookies for the youth group and her bible study group. My mother does hers in preparing the church bulletin and keeping the books for her church. My aunt Victoria does hers in TOO many ways for me to recount! My dad does his when he answers ANYONE’S call for assistance, be it mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or construction. ALL of these are done out of love for “our family” and our Lord. I only scratched the surface of the acts of love rendered to our Father and EVERY act is noticed and appreciated by Him. What is your act of love? EVERYTHING you do matters in His eyes!
Father God, thank You for accepting my “acts of love” even when they are not always rendered with a loving attitude. My acts of love in caring for my husband are meant for both him and You. Please help me with my attitude in this area especially. I tend to be too critical, especially when he does something that I think is dangerous. I want to be able to convey my concern without crushing his spirit or yelling at him. Help me speak LOVE in how I address these issues and help me also learn to relax a little as he improves because he IS improving! THANK YOU GOD for those improvements; from him and me!
Thank You Holy Spirit for bringing me personal connections to God’s word. Thank You for bringing it to life for me and making every part of God’s word interesting and meaningful.