about the verbal blueprints


I have a confession to make. I hope I don’t get stoned or struck by lightning for saying this, but I have to be honest: part of the Bible is very, very boring. I’m not just talking Leviticus, because pretty much everyone is in agreement on that one. I’m also not talking about all the “begat” passages, as the one at the beginning of Matthew has special meaning to me and hopefully to all Christians.

Specifically I’m referencing all the verbal blueprint passages. Like in Genesis 6:14-16 where God gives Noah exact instructions on how to build the ark. Or Exodus 25-40 when God tells Moses in explicit detail how to build the tabernacle and its furnishings, including the Ark of the Covenant. And then, of course, it details exactly how the builders built the tabernacle and its furnishings. As far as I can tell, the two accounts are identical. If I were Moses, I would have saved some papyrus or stone tablets and just written, “So the builders did exactly as God instructed,” or something like that.

Then we get to 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, where again there’s intricate details on how Solomon built the temple. And a good chunk of 1 Chronicles that outlines specific duties for people within the temple. Honestly, I skim through a lot of it. I try to force meaning out of it occasionally and end up with some sort of life application about how God has specific plans for us. Blah, blah.

Our family devotional last week addressed the tedious tabernacle building instructions. It said, “God gave such specific instructions because this Tabernacle was much more than a meeting place. Every aspect of it said something about our need for God and the way those needs are provided for in Jesus.”

Okay, that’s an interesting perspective. Noah’s ark, you know, served a purpose in protecting what would be left of all humans, so that’s pretty important. And the temple Solomon built was a pretty big deal as well, not to mention the layers upon layers of symbolism. But then again, why do we get every specific description in the Bible? Why did God think it so important to include pages and pages and chapters and chapters in excruciating detail for items we’ll likely never have to build?

I think he wanted to give us some examples. I think he wanted us to know that he’d give us the same kind of instructions for things in our own lives intended to glorify him. And I think he wants us to see that, no matter how boring or tedious or monotonous the building will be, the end will justify the means. Every time.

That may look like a career he’s told you to build that will glorify him. Or maybe it will look like a family he wants you to build. Or maybe it will look like a missionary position overseas setting up house churches. Or maybe it’s a song or a blog or a book he wants you to write.

Maybe you have no idea what God wants you to build. Maybe he’s already trying to show you or maybe he’s not ready to reveal those plans just yet. Here’s a crazy idea: why not ask him?

I’ve mentioned the Chazown project before, and I continue to encourage people to check it out, no matter where they are in their walk with Christ. Through the Chazown initiative, I finally saw and understood some of God’s blueprint for my own life. Parts of it have been nauseatingly specific and parts of it have been horrifyingly vague, but so far, it’s all been dead on.

And here’s the kicker: if you’re going to build something to glorify God, why wouldn’t you do it the way he’s instructed? If you’re “building” your life to bring him praise, why on earth would you ever think it was a good idea to build it your own way? What if Moses had said, “These plans are great and all, God, but I think I’ll make the tabernacle my own way.” All that symbolism and foreshadowing and precious meaning leading to Christ would have been nonexistent. Not to mention, they probably would have all been burnt up or fallen into a hole in the earth somewhere along the way.

What has God asked you to build in your life? What instructions has he given? What instructions do you wish he’d give you?