April 10: Tent Making for Eternity
Deuteronomy 18:1–20:20; 2 Corinthians 5:1–10; Psalm 37:23–40
Paul, the tent maker, knew the temporal nature of human-made structures. For someone who made and probably repaired tents, he knew all their flaws and tendencies for wear. So it’s not a stretch for him to draw the connection from tents to mortality:
“For we know that if our earthly house, the tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1).
Paul is also making a connection to the tabernacle, the tent where the Israelites first regularly experienced God. Like the tents that Paul made, these earthly homes for God would eventually break down and be destroyed. But the Spirit and the heavens, where God actually dwelled, would live on. While temporal tent worship would fall apart, eternal worship in God’s heavenly “building” will remain.
Paul contrasts the art of tent-making and the beautiful worship places of Yahweh with God’s work (what He actually made), which was incorruptible. Right now, we have a “building from God” waiting for us—eternity made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.
He stresses that our eternal reality transforms our “meantime.” It clarifies what “we have as our ambition, whether at home in the body or absent from the body, to be acceptable to him” (2 Cor 5:9). While waiting, we don’t have to live with longing. We don’t need to escape. We can live for Him, spreading the news that the kingdom of God is at hand. Until then, God has given us someone who comforts us: the Holy Spirit (John 17). He reminds us of our eternal confidence and empowers us to live for God.
How would your perspective change if you looked at your daily tasks in light of eternal significance?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
- The Priests of the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel, but shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: for the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. And this shall be the Priest’s duty of the people, that they which offer sacrifice, whether it be bullock or sheep, shall give unto the Priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruits also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep shalt thou give him. For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand and minister in the Name of the Lord, him, and his sons forever. Also when a Levite shall come out of any of thy cities of all Israel, where he remained, and come with all the desire of his heart unto the place, which the Lord shall choose, He shall then minister in the Name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites, which remain there before the Lord. They shall have like portions to eat beside that which cometh of the sale of his patrimony. When thou shalt come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. Let none be found among you that maketh his son or his daughter to go thorough the fire, or that useth witchcraft, or a regarder of times, or a marker of the flying fowls, or a sorcerer, Or a charmer, or that counseleth with spirits, or a soothsayer, or that asketh counsel at the dead. For all that do such things are abomination unto the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth cast them out before thee. Thou shalt be upright therefore with the Lord thy God. For these nations which thou shalt possess, hearken unto those that regard the times, and unto sorcerers: as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet like unto me, from among you, even of thy brethren: unto him ye shall hearken. According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, when thou saidest, Let me hear the voice of my Lord God no more, nor see this great fire anymore, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my Name, I will require it of him. But the Prophet that shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that speaketh in the name of other gods, even the same Prophet shall die. And if thou think in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a Prophet speaketh in the Name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the Prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not therefore be afraid of him. When the Lord thy God shall root out the nations, whose land the Lord thy God giveth thee, and thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their cities, and in their houses, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee, in the midst of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it. Thou shalt prepare thee the way, and divide the coasts of the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every manslayer may flee thither. This also is the cause wherefore the manslayer shall flee thither, and live: who so killeth his neighbor ignorantly, and hated him not in time passed: As he that goeth unto the wood with his neighbor to hew wood, and his hand striketh with the axe to cut down the tree, if the head slip from the helve, and his his neighbor that he dieth, the shame shall flee unto one of the cities, and live, Les tthe avenger of the blood follow after the manslayer while his heart is chafed, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him, althogh he be not worthy of death, because he hated him not in time passed.. Wherefore I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt appoint out three cities for thee. And when the Lord thy God enlargeth thy coasts (as he hath sworn unto thy fathers) and giveth thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers. (If thou keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day: to wit, that thou love the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways forever) then thou shalt add three cities more for thee besides those three, That no innocent blood be shed within thy land, which the Lord thy god giveth thee to inherit, lest blood be upon thee. But if a man hate his neighbor, and lay wait for him, and rise against him, and smite any man that he die, and flee unto any of these cities, Then the Elders of this city shall send and fet him thence, and deliver him ot the hands of hte avenger of the blood, that he may die. Thine eye shal not spare him, but thou shalt put away the cry of innocent blood from israel, that it may go well with thee. Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor’s mark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, that thou shalt inherit in the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it. One witness shall not rise against a man for any trespass, or for any sin, or for any fault tha the offendeth in, but at the mouth of two witnesses, or at th emouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be stablished. If a false witness rise up against a man to accuse him of trespass, Then both the men which strive together, shall stand before the Lord, even before the Priests and the Judges, which shall be in those days. And the Judges shall make diligent inquisition: and if the witness be found false, and hath given false witness against his brother, Then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to do unto his brother: so thou shalt take evil away forth of the midst of thee. And the rest shall hear this, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such wickedness among you. Therefore thine eye shall have no compassion, but life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. When thou shalt go forth to war against thine enemies, and shalt see horses and chariots, and people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And when ye are come near unto the battle, then the Priest shall come forth to speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye are come this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, neither fear, nor be amazed, nor a dread of them. For the Lord your god goeth with you to fight for you against your enemies, and to save you. And let the officers speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it, let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is there that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not eaten of the fruit? let him go to return again unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another eat the fruit. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return again unto his house, lest he die in battle, and another man taker her. And let the officers speak further unto the people, and say, Whosoever is afraid and faint hearted, let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint like his heart. And after that the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, they shall make captains of the army to govern the people. When thou comest near unto a city to fight against it, thou shalt offer it peace. And if it answer thee again peaceably, and open unto htee, then let all the people that is found therein, be tributaries unto thee, and serve thee. But if it will make no peace with thee, but make war against thee, then shalt thou besiege it. And the Lord thy God shall deliver it to into thine hands, and thou shalt smite all the males thereof with the edge of the sword. Only the women, and the children, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof shalt thou make unto thyself, and shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities, which are a great way off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations here. But of the cities of this people, which the Lord thy God shall give thee to inherit, thou shalt save no person alive, But shalt utterly destroy tem, to wit, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods, and so ye should sin against the Lord thy God. When thou hast besieged a city long time, and made war against it to take it, destroy not the trees thereof, by smiting an axe into them: for thou mayest eat of them: therefore shalt not cut them down to further thee in the siege, (for the tree of the field is man’s life). Only those trees which thou knowest are not for meat, those shalt thou destroy and cut down, and make forts against the city that maketh war with thee until thou subdue it. Deuteronomy 18:1–20:20
- For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle be destroyed, we have a building given of God, that is, an house not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens. For therefore we sigh, desiring to be clothed with our house, which is from heaven. Because that if we be clothed, we shall not be found naked. For indeed we that are in this tabernacle, sigh and are burdened because we would not be unclothed, but would be clothed upon, that morality might be swallowed up of life. And he that hath created us for this thing, is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always bold, though we know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. (For we walk by faith, and not by sight.) Nevertheless, we are bold,and love rather to remove out of the body, and to dwell with the Lord. Wherefore also we covet, that both dwelling at home, and removing from home, we may be acceptable to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every man may receive the things which are done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or evil. 2 Corinthians 5:1–10
- The paths of man are directed by the Lord: for he loveth his way. Though he fall, he shall not be cast off, for the Lord putteth under his hand. I have been young, and am old: yet I never saw the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. But he is ever merciful and lendeth, and his seed enjoyeth the blessing. Flee from evil and do good, and dwell forever. For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his Saints: they shall be preserved forevermore but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous men shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever. The mouth of the righteous will speak of wisdom, and his tongue will talk of judgment. For the Law of his God is in his heart, and his steps shall not slide. The wicked watched the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. but the Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him, when he is judged. Wait thou on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee, that thou shlat inherit the land: when the wicked men shall perish, thou shalt see. I have seen the wicked strong, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was gone, and I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the upright man, and behold the just: for the end of that man is peace. But their transgressors shall be destroyed together, and the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous man shall be of the Lord: he shall be their strength in the time of trouble. For the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and shall save them, they trust in him. Psalm 37:23–40