Spiritual or Physical Food?
“He made of pure gold the utensils which were on the table: its dishes, its cups, its bowls, and its pitchers for pouring” (Exodus 37:16). God is concerned with His appointments in the tabernacle as revealed in Exodus. The golden dishes, censers, spoons—all these things were important elements in the tabernacle and in the worship of the Jews.
The value of the temple items and the care with which they were made, shows the importance God attached to the tabernacle and the sacred services conducted there. Notice the number of times in Exodus that the word holy is used. Holy things are set apart for a specific, intended purpose. The building project was finished “According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them” (Exodus 39:42-43). When the Jews came to worship, the Levites serving on their behalf, sacrificed the animals; everything that was done had special meaning; what God placed in His house to augment what His people did in serving Him was important, too. What the Jews did, they did before the face of God (Exodus 25:30).
Today, we do not have specific instructions for the building of a particular kind of “church building.” We have general authority for providing some kind of meeting place; that authority is inherent in the command to assemble. But we do not have to have a building; it may facilitate what we do, but it is not essential. What we do when we assemble is important. The trend these days is toward informality. This is obvious from the careless attitude with which some people dress when they come to worship God—attire that might be worn to a yard sale or grocery store. The greater lesson for the Jews and for us, is that when we come to worship, yea, in every activity of our lives, we should bring an attitude of reverence and respect for God. The utensils of gold reminded the Jews that God was important and what they were doing was important. When we eat a common meal with family, or with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day, we need to manifest the proper appreciation for what God has provided for us. We can be guilty of physical and spiritual gluttony. While God does not need bread and water to sustain His life, He does provide bread and water to sustain our physical lives. What God gives is good and should be received with thankfulness and respect.