Most of these chapters are taken up with the putting into practice of all the instructions for tabernacle and vestments which God had given to Moses. No detail is too small to matter – down to the material of which the shovels for the altar fire are made. Bezalel and Oholiab use the gifts of the people and the gifts God has given them to make a place of beauty where God can meet his people.
But before that long passage, there’s a brief mention of another place which must be made – a place of time, set aside for God. This is the Sabbath, and after the disaster of the Golden Calf it’s emphasised with dire punishments if it’s broken. In time that would lead to all sorts of problems, but for now it’s a command to set aside time to be human, to rest and to worship.
For to meet with God, and to know his presence, even more important than the place we create and the beauty with which we fill it is the time we set aside. It may be at church, or it may be in silence at home – but if we don’t set aside that time for God then no place will be a meeting place.
When place and time come together, then God shows up – and the end of the book of Exodus is with God present among his people, as their guide and guard.
How do I make a place to meet with God in my life? In time as well as space?