While Moses was on Mount Sinai, God gave him the 10 Commandments and he gave him specific instructions for all sorts of things. Two of the instructions he gave to Moses were for the people to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle.
Tabernacle means “tent,” “place of dwelling” or “sanctuary.” It was a sacred place where God chose to meet His people, the Israelites, during the 40 years they wandered in the desert under Moses’ leadership. It was the place where the leaders and people came together to worship and offer sacrifices.
God gave very specific instructions to Moses on Mount Sinai regarding how the tabernacle was to be built.
You can see an artist's rendering of the tabernacle at http://www.3dtabernacle.com/images/TabernacleComplete1a.jpg
The tabernacle was first erected in the wilderness exactly one year after the Passover when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavery. It was a mobile tent with portable furniture that the people traveled with and set up wherever they pitched camp. The tabernacle would be in the center of the camp, and the 12 tribes of Israel would set up their tents around it according to tribe. The instruction on how to build the tabernacle was first given to Moses in the wilderness, who then gave the orders to the Israelites.
God dwelled among His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness. He appeared as a pillar of cloud over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night in the sight of all Israel. When the cloud moved, the people packed up and moved.
Inside the tabernacle was the ark of the covenant. The word ark means chest. It was a box of wood that was covered with pure gold. Inside the box, Moses was commanded to place the Tables of Law, the actual stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. These are the stone tablets God gave Moses to replace the tablets he broke.
God gave Moses instructions for many other parts of the tabernacle (the table for bread, the gold lampstand, the altar, the courtyard, the oil for the lampstand, the clothes for the priests, washing basin, etc). You can feel free to mention these other things that were to be placed in the Tabernacle.
God specifically chose two men to lead the building project. One was named Bezalel and the other was named Oholiab. These men had two special qualities. 1) They were filled with the Spirit of God 2) They were very skillful with their hands and the ability to build things.
get your kids talking and engaged
Have you ever slept in a tent before? Where were you? Do you like camping out?
Today we are going to learn about a very big and very special tent God had the Israelites make for the time they were wandering in the desert.
teach a holistic story
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.
If desired, you can teach the lesson from underneath an EZ-up tent or canopy.
Give the paint stick with the cloud attached to it to one of your students. Halfway through the lesson, tell that student to lift the stick above their head, and move to another part of the room. Then take the canopy down and move it to another part of the room. (this illustrates Exodus 13:21 and Exodus 40:36-37).
For the reinforcement activity, we strongly encourage you to use the "Cardboard Box Ark of the Covenant" activity as this will be used in several future lessons.
give them basic Bible skills
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Exodus 25:8-16,22; 35:30-35; 36:8-13
make sure they understand the story
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
hide God's Word in their heartTrust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5