I am so happy to be back in my comfort zone of reviewing non-fiction Christian books. I generally receive my review books in digital format, but was sent this in paperback. When it arrived in the mail, Jonathan looked at it very carefully, then said, “You get to review that? Maybe I need a blog!”
Works on the symbolism of the tabernacle and other old testament practices and ceremonies can often be fascinating academic studies, but Fesko presents a prayerful and devotional approach to this frequently misunderstood or ignored portion of scripture. Focusing on the individual elements of the tabernacle, Fesko roots all observation and instruction firmly in plain scripture instead of fanciful, or mystical interpretation. He not only illustrates how the tabernacle and its furnishings point to Christ, he makes clear and direct application to the practice of the New Testament church. Each chapter ends with pointed, but humbly prayerful challenges to consider the implications in our individual and corporate worship.
One of the recurring themes in the book is the Garden of Eden as the first tabernacle. It was a new concept to me, but such a beautiful one, as I considered it more. The idea that the Garden was the first place in which God dwelt with man is clearly expressed in scripture, but Fesko drew connections between the garden, the tabernacle and then the restored creation of the end times in ways I had not seen before.
I also greatly appreciated Fesko’s concern with the purity of our worship. Several times he challenges our contemporary lack of appreciation for God’s holiness – at one point claiming that our familiarity with God has bred contempt. Modern evangelicalism often points to the tabernacle as evidence that the ancient Israelites had dry, or even dead, “religious worship”, while we are superior as we worship in “spirit and truth.” I was encouraged at Fesko’s efforts to correct that view, and guide us in our efforts to please the Lord with our worship. As they appear in the Tabernacle narrative, he openly addresses some very unpopular notions to the contemporary Western Christian – financial giving, the sabbath, the sacraments to name a few – but does so with both grace and scriptural honesty.
I was also greatly encouraged at Fesko’s unwillingness to engage in conjecture. In places where an interpretation may be in debate he very clearly states his opinion on the subject, and the reasons for holding that opinion, always rooted in scripture; however he is just as willing to acknowledge where there is no clarity of scripture, and then go no further into dangerous speculation. I appreciated that greatly.
This is a wonderful devotional on a subject that most Christians believe to be irrelevant. I highly recommend it.
I received no compensation for this post. I was provided a paperback edition for the purpose of review. I was not required to provide a positive one. I keep a disclosure statement here.