Shadow and Substance
(Col. 2:17, Heb. 8:5-6, 10:1, 11:1, 12:18-25)
Jesus taught in parables to use earthly frames of reference to teach heavenly realities. He asked to what He could compare the kingdom of heaven. He spoke of the kingdom. He never taught us how to build a church. He was focused on us entering the kingdom. He builds His church His way. We do best to simply allow Him to fit us together.
Similar to His teaching in parables, the Lord gave to Moses the law and the model of the tabernacle. Many years ago, I visited a museum with a full scale model of the tabernacle in Pennsylvania. I appreciated that. I had already studied the scripture and sat in on teaching concerning the tabernacle and it’s relation to our spiritual lives. It is valuable, even critical, to understand the process and progression to enter the Lord’s presence. In simpler words, the tabernacle shows the way to get close to God. Once there, our purpose is to stay there. Fellowship, close relationship, has been God’s purpose and desire. He walked with Adam in the cool of the day. Enoch walked with Him. Jesus said, He and the Father are one. That is close.
Jesus prayed that we, His members, those who have received His words, would be one as He and the Father are one. This goes beyond agreement in our thoughts with one another. Much of our thoughts are too low. They do not align with the thoughts of God. How important is it that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are pleasing to Him. No question mark with that thought. It is of the greatest importance that we grow up into His mind and His heart. As this happens, it becomes our delight to do His will. It becomes spontaneous, naturally spiritual we might say. Alignment with the Lord, true oneness with Him is a process.
While it is a process, we find times we call breakthrough. We find ourselves thrust out of old ways, more into the continual newness of the Spirit. We may find ourselves restrained, restricted in some way and we want to break out. True freedom is not the absence of restraint, for our self-centered self wants its own way. The Lord brings us to be constrained by His love. Like a little child, we want and when we have, we do not want to let go. When we see the Lord’s ways are better than our desires, we learn to follow His lead. The breakthrough is like the Passover out of Egypt and like the entrance into Canaan. They were very different but both brought a maturing.
In the wilderness time between these two significant transitions, the Lord gave the tabernacle as instructive. In that day, a few saw beyond the structure to pursue the Lord. Namely these were Joshua and Caleb. Consider that their families, wives and children were included with them to enter the land. I should check out the record to confirm this but I will leave that to you. I mention this because Joshua later says that he and his house will serve the Lord. Joshua knew that Moses had something more and so he hung close and stayed at the door when Moses went into meet with the Lord. All of this I mention that we might see that all of us are called to be like Joshua, to be hungry to pursue what we see in others as substance, as something more than what we have known. We want it to rub off on us. As we pursue, we will find the Lord’s calling and choosing. So it was with Moses, so it was with Joshua and Caleb, so it was with the twelve. Now, Jesus has offered to all, “If any man would come after me, let that one take up his cross and follow me.” Anyone! This goes out to every man, woman, and child. I am convinced that children can begin to follow the Lamb of God. Some are called from the womb. Some hear the call later. When you hear, respond. It is worth the cost. In the shadows we learn, we begin to understand. Don’t stay there. The Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, is calling. When you hear, get up and follow. It is worth every cost.