The sanctuary that Moses was instructed to build was an inclusive work. Its very construction was intended to include contributions from everyone. It was also a heart work, meaning that only people who had willing hearts were to make an offering. As God was not desperate for materials, the beneficiaries of this project were to be prompted to give an offering to God. The materials used to construct the structure were intended to be functional but also aesthetically pleasing. There was both a practical and artistic component to the sanctuary. Aside from all these elements, there was an ultimate purpose for the sanctuary: “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Ex. 25:8, 9).
One of the first observations of the sanctuary that rises to the surface is that the building of the structure was committed to the hands of people. God did not make the sanctuary Himself—He asked human beings to make it for Him. Obviously, the reason for this arrangement is not that God was unable to make the sanctuary. After all, He gave explicit instructions on how the structure was to be built. Verse 2 describes their efforts to be considered an offering out of their free will and from their hearts. We see that any human effort put forth into communion with God will always be blessed by His presence.
God is the initiator, not the Israelites. It is God who speaks to Moses; it is God who asks for the sanctuary to be built; it is God who wants to dwell among His people. God wants what we want more than we want it.
Creation happened because God wanted us to exist. When Adam and Eve disobeyed, God went searching for them in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). In the parables of Luke, God is portrayed as searching, sweeping, and yearning for the lost. The valuable lesson that the sanctuary teaches us regarding the work of education is that God not only knows our heart’s desire—He is more invested in our success than we are.
God also speaks of a blueprint associated with the sanctuary, “that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings” (Ex. 25:9). The sanctuary built by Moses in the wilderness was type, pattern, or mold of an original. Just as a mold can serve as an imprint on a variety of surfaces and textures, so the original heavenly sanctuary serves as a pattern for the Israelites in the wilderness, as well as a lesson book for education today.