As part of our study of Ancient Egypt we have been reading the Biblical accounts of the Israelites in Egypt, including the Exodus and the wandering in the wilderness. Last week we read about the Israelites building the Tabernacle, so I thought it would be helpful to see what we were reading about. I found a free, printable model of the Tabernacle which I printed out, and children assembled:
It was a successful activity and helped to clarify some of the things that we read about. With lots of people cutting, it didn't take that long to put together. It also helps to have a stash of mat board in one's basement to act as a base.
As so often happens, I probably got much more out of reading about the Tabernacle than my children did. I was struck by several things as I read through the chapters. My first reaction I will discuss today, the second I will tackle tomorrow. I was struck by how beautiful the Tabernacle must have been. The beauty didn't just come from the materials, but from the way it was made. Lamp stands formed to look like intricate flowers; linen which wasn't left plain, but embroidered; clothing with pomegranates made from fibers attached to the hem. God clearly loves beauty. This shouldn't surprise us. All we have to do is look at the world He created to see how He loves beauty.
I think sometimes we forget that surrounding ourselves with beauty is important. While the materials used to build the Tabernacle were costly... gold, silver, precious stones, yarn dyed with expensive dyes... that was right since it was for God's glory. But I think in our own lives we often confuse wealth with beauty. We look around our homes and inwardly give up making them beautiful because we know they will never look like the photo spreads in glossy magazine. We forget to look for the beauty in non-costly things.
There is beauty in cleanliness and order. There is beauty in something hand made. There is beauty in nature which we can bring into our homes. (Though, I'll admit that once that nature wilts and starts to fall apart, it is not so beautiful. I suggest removing it before that point and I'll try to follow my own advice.) We don't strive to surround ourselves with beauty to impress others, but because it is a reflection of how God created the world and as such it is good for our souls to live with beauty.