I. The house must be a tabernacle or tent, such as soldiers now use in the camp, which was both a mean dwelling and a movable one; and yet the ark of God had not better, till Solomon built the temple 480 years after this, 1 Kgs. 6:1. God manifested his presence among them thus in a tabernacle, 1. In compliance with their present condition in the wilderness, that they might have him with them wherever they went. Note, God suits the tokens of his favour, and the gifts of his grace, to his people’s wants and necessities, according as they are, accommodating his mercy to their state, prosperous or adverse, settled or unsettled. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, Isa. 43:2. 2. That it might represent the state of God’s church in this world, it is a tabernacle-state, Ps. 15:1. We have here no continuing city; being strangers in this world, and travellers towards a better, we shall never be fixed till we come to heaven. Church-privileges are movable goods, from one place to another; the gospel is not tied to any place; the candlestick is in a tent, and may easily be taken away, Rev. 2:5. If we make much of the tabernacle, and improve the privilege of it, wherever we go it will accompany us; but, if we neglect and disgrace it, wherever we stay it will forsake us. What hath my beloved to do in my house? Jer. 11:15.
II. The curtains of the tabernacle must correspond to a divine pattern. 1. They were to be very rich, the best of the kind, fine twined linen; and colours very pleasing, blue, and purple, and scarlet. 2. They were to be embroidered with cherubim (Exod. 26:1), to intimate that the angels of God pitch their tents round about the church, Ps. 34:7. As there were cherubim over the mercy-seat, so there were round the tabernacle; for we find the angels compassing, not only the throne, but the elders; see Rev. 5:11. 3. There were to be two hangings, five breadths in each, sewed together, and the two hangings coupled together with golden clasps, or tacks, so that it might be all one tabernacle, Exod. 26:6. Thus the churches of Christ and the saints, though they are many, are yet one, being fitly joined together in holy love, and by the unity of the Spirit, so growing into one holy temple in the Lord, Eph. 2:21, 22; 4:16. This tabernacle was very strait and narrow; but, at the preaching of the gospel, the church is bidden to enlarge the place of her tent, and to stretch forth her curtains, Isa. 54:2.