It was a hot summer night in a time when only a few churches were air conditioned. Ours was not. The windows were raised and so was the level of excitement. Boys were seated on one side and girls on the other. We were having a ‘Kid’s Crusade’ and the secrets of the Tabernacle were being reveled through the wonderful media of flannel graph. As each layer of flannel was removed showing the details that lay beneath, a cowbell would ring out indicating a question was about to be asked. The boys were competing against the girls. At stake was a wooden ruler for everyone on the winning side. Even better was that the one that answered the most questions without getting any wrong won an incredible 6 foot long candy bar! It had come down to a sudden death play off. I was representing the boys and an emaciated looking girl with blond hair and green eyes was all that stood in the way of certain victory. Suddenly, the cowbell rang out! The question directed to me was easy. “Out of what was the bronze basin made? There was no way I could miss that one. I stood up, looked confidently at the blonde haired green eyed girl and with a defiant tone answered “Bronze!” “Yes – but what did they use in the making of the bronze basin and its stand?” came the reply. Well maybe I had been a little overly confident. Perhaps it was a trick question. As I stood there scratching my head in absolute bewilderment one of the boys behind me whispered “Mirrors.” I wasted no time in repeating, “Mirrors, they used mirrors.” “Yes – and what were the mirrors made out of?” I needed no help on this part. I had seen plenty of mirrors and they were all made of “Glass!” “Wrong – the basin and stand were made from mirrors of bronze.” came the reply. Well, I didn’t get the 6 foot candy bar. I didn’t get a ruler. I did marry the blonde haired green eyed girl twelve or thirteen years later and my palms still get sweaty every time I hear a cowbell.
It is amazing what we remember from the first time we are exposed to the wonderful details of God’s dwelling among men. Most of the gold, about a ton of it, would never be seen by the Israelites. It was either covered or displayed in places too holy for the common man. Each piece foretold God’s redemptive plan. Carefully crafted to precise details by those with the ability, willingness and resolution to give their best for God it stood as a reminder to this fledgling nation that God was in their midst. We no longer need a Tabernacle to recall Matthew 28:20 …. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”