The first reading describes a tent
as the place of worship for God’s People.
But notice: no provision for anything more permanent!
Now, we think of the temple;
but that is nowhere mentioned here.
King David proposed a temple;
do you recall God’s response?
“I have not dwelt in a house from the day
on which I led the Israelites out of Egypt to the present,
but I have been going about in a tent under cloth.
“In all my wanderings everywhere among the Israelites,
did I ever utter a word to any one of the judges
whom I charged to tend my people Israel, to ask:
‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'”
This is a subtle theme:
David and his successors spoke of a house,
meaning a physical temple;
God spoke of a “house,” meaning a lasting heritage,
built on faith in him.
It’s the same lesson
God’s People leaving Egypt, will learn:
It’s not about real estate;
It’s about our relationship with God!
We know Solomon built the temple.
Let me recall a parallel development in the story:
how God’s People came to have a king—
because they’re connected.
God put “judges” in charge.
God’s People came to Samuel, and said:
“appoint a king over us, as other nations have.”
That wasn’t God’s plan, but God said, OK.
and it would be the same with the Temple.
Now, recall how that happened:
Solomon built the temple, right?
Solomon was the apex of the kingdom:
he exceeded his father, David—
more of everything.
Remember how it ended?
After he died, the people came to his son, and said:
“Your father put on us a heavy yoke.
If you now lighten the harsh service
and the heavy yoke your father imposed on us,
we will serve you."
Gee—doesn’t that sound a lot like
what they left behind…in Egypt?
See the larger theme?
It’s all about not going back there!
Abraham: go into the unknown; but don’t go back;
Jacob goes down to Egypt; but he tells Joseph,
don’t leave me here!
Joseph says, take my bones out!
Moses said: Don’t look back!
Samuel said: God is your king!
God said to David: I don’t need a house!
You need a house—built on Me!
The tent is a key image:
because it’s not the building, but what’s in it:
it was where God’s Glory dwelt!
One final note—you might not realize,
these are the concluding lines of the Book of Exodus!
It’s as if the author is saying:
this is where our journey from slavery to sin leads us:
not to real estate, not to worldly glory;
but to the Dwelling of the Glory of the Lord!
If we have that, it does not matter
where we pitch our tent, or what we call home.