The table for the sacred bread
The LORD said:
23Make a table of acacia wood eighty-eight centimetres long, forty-four centimetres wide, and sixty-six centimetres high.24-25Cover it with pure gold and put a gold edging around it with a border seventy-five millimetres wide.26Make four gold rings and attach one to each of the legs27-28near the edging. The poles for carrying the table are to be placed through these rings and are to be made of acacia wood covered with gold.29-30The table is to be kept in the holy place, and the sacred loaves of bread must always be put on it. All bowls, plates, jars, and cups for wine offerings are to be made of pure gold and set on this table.
The LORD said:
31Make a lampstand of pure gold. The whole lampstand, including its decorative flowers, must be made from a single piece of hammered gold32with three branches on each of its two sides.33There are to be three decorative almond blossoms on each branch34and four on the stem.35There must also be a blossom where each pair of branches comes out from the stem.36The lampstand, including its branches and decorative flowers, must be made from a single piece of hammered pure gold.37The lamp on the top and those at the end of each of its six branches must be made so as to shine towards the front of the lampstand.38The tongs and trays for taking care of the lamps are to be made of pure gold.39The lampstand and its equipment will require thirty-five kilogrammes of pure gold,40and they must be made according to the pattern I showed you on the mountain.
After describing the Ark of the Covenant we are told about the Table and the Lamp stand which are situated in the Holy Place outside the curtain that distinguishes it from the Most Holy Place. Like the ark and all of the objects within the tabernacle it is made of pure gold and any poles used to carry it around are overlaid with pure gold while objects outside the tabernacle are made of lesser metals like silver and bronze. The closer one gets to the Lord, the more valuable the metals.
The golden Table was the place where the bread of the Presence was displayed at all times. This consisted of twelve flat loaves of bread, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Table and bread were to face the golden Lamp stand with its light which was to burn perpetually. The bread of the Presence, bathed in the light of the intricately crafted lamp stand, was an indicator of Israel’s special status before the Lord. It is the Lord that illuminates the darkness and his favour is the very best light of all.
The lamp stand, with its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms, may be a reminder of the Garden of Eden with its Tree of Life, something that human beings were not allowed to partake of lest they should eat and live forever in their fallen condition (Genesis 3:22-24). If this is so then the presence of the lamp stand in the tabernacle teaches us that true life is found in God and in his salvation. Sin separates us from him and brings a curse; he has found a way to bring us to a new and more wonderful paradise.
The full explanation of these objects awaits the coming of his Son, who brings ark, table and lamp stand together.
Heavenly Father, We are amazed and humbled as we see your salvation revealed here in the book of Exodus. Thank you for coming to us in your Son. Thank you for his atoning work for us. Help us to draw near and walk in your light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.