Reflection Questions: The Quest for the Divine Presence 3: The Covering
by Pastor Gene
Although the ‘goat hair’ covering is depicted here as light with black ribbing, scholars almost universally understand it to be made of black goat hair.
- Work through the symbolism of the Tabernacle coverings. The ‘earthly’ outer covering is made of sea cow hides, durable, but ugly. The next covering is of ram skins DYED RED (see Gen. 22:13). This speaks of the blood of Jesus that covers our sins. The next covering was made of goat skins. The color of the hair is not given in Scripture, but it’s universally understood to be black, which is consistent with the material used (and still used) for Bedouin tent construction (SoS 1:5). ‘Black’ evokes sin. Goats were used in the Day of Atonement rituals (Lev. 16:7-22): one was killed and its blood was applied to the Mercy Seat; the other, the scapegoat, was sent away bearing the people’s sins (Lev. 16:21, Psa. 103:12). The innermost covering is a picture of Heaven. It’s made of white linen, with blue, scarlet & purple; it is adorned with cherubim. Discuss the significance of each covering; share your thoughts. Consider the genius of God’s design, prefiguring Jesus’ saving work some 1500 years before He was born. Consider and share how your own journey from earth to Heaven passed through the two middle coverings.
- How is God your covering? What does that imagery even mean to you? Discuss Genesis 3:21, Psalm 5:12, Psalm 32:7.
- How does the idea that Moses may have written Psalm 91 for the priests change the Psalm’s message? Think about the ‘proximity’ to God’s Presence (the Ark) they enjoyed! They dwell in the shadow of the Almighty (91:1); are protected by God-dispatched angels (91:11); are answered when they call out to God and are promised His abiding Presence (91:15).
- Now consider that all Church Age believers are priests. Read and discuss at least one of the following: Revelation 1:4-7, 5:8-10; 1 Peter 2:8b-10. How does knowing you’re a priest change your reading of Psalm 91? But are their qualifiers here? Reread Psalm 91:1, 9-10, 14. Think of these ‘qualifiers’ in the context of ‘Outer Court,’ Holy Place’ and ‘Holy of Holies’ Christian maturity we studied as Tabernacle-walking.
- Perhaps the most beautiful ‘covering’ in the Bible is found in 91:4. What does this ‘covering’ say to you? What is refuge? What is said to be our “protective shield” in this verse?
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