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The Bible goes into great detail concerning how the Tabernacle should be built. In very fine detail it explains each specific vessel that should be constructed and sanctified for service. The details are so precise that here in Jerusalem at the Temple Institute there are scholars that have begun to reconstruct the vessels of the Temple.
In Exodus 25, God gives the details on how the Ark of the Covenant should be built.i
And they shall make an ark of ACACIA wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length, and a cubit and a half the breadth, and a cubit and a half the height.
And thou shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about..” — Exodus 25:10–11
It is easy to read these dimensions and only consider what the ark of the covenant would have looked like. But is there more to these descriptions than just design and beauty?
If you look at the plans to this beautiful ark you will see that God commanded them to cover the ark INSIDE and OUT in Gold. Why would God want Gold on the inside? Nobody would ever see the inside?
Some scholars say that this tell us that what a person is on the inside must match what is on the outside. Who you are on the inside must match what is seen on the outside. Even though people will never be able to see what is truly inside of you, the thoughts and character beneath the surface must match what people see.
God says in 1 Samuel 16:7 “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
These temple vessels had to be filled with God’s purity to be able to be used for his service. For God to be able to use a vessel both the INSIDE and the OUTSIDE must be of Gold.
You could ask, Why didn’t God just command that the entire ark be made out of solid Gold?
But, the use of the acacia wood shows us that we as humans are of earthly substance, created by God, but only by God’s perfecting work covering us can we be used for his service.
Remember, only being purified on the inside and the outside can God’s presence dwell in his vessel.
People should be able to look at the outward appearance and know that God is living in the heart.