Exodus 25:30 (HCSB)
30 Put the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times.
We tackle two pericopes here: the construction of the table and the lampstand for the Holy Place. Again, just like with the ark, we see very specific construction guidelines. In fact, we even see God reminding the Israelites to be diligent in following His blueprints exactly in Exodus 25:40. Not that these items contain some sort of power that is derived from their exact measurements and material, but because honoring God, willingly submitting to His authority, and following His commands does.
Both of these items appear to be reminders of God’s provision and nature for the Israelites. And both require man to always take care of and ensure the worshipful remembrance is taking place.
The table seems to be a reminder of God’s provision for the Israelites, most obviously while they were wandering in the wilderness. We know God does not need food, certainly not 12 loaves of bread (the bread of Presence), so this seems to be an ongoing sacrifice, or offering, to God from the produce of the Israelites. This obviously required a regular gathering of ingredients, preparation of the bread, and replacement upon the table: a continual reminder of God’s provision and our celebration and worship of Him for it.
The lampstand, obviously, is to provide light (Exodus 25:37). Jesus claims to be the light of the world (John 8:12). God created light on the first day of creation (Genesis 1:3). But those are just inferred symbolic relations. The text itself does not suggest much meaning to the lampstand other than its utilitarian purpose. We do eventually find, in Leviticus 24:1-4, that the lamp is supposed to be kept lit perpetually. Perhaps a reminder of God’s continual presence? But just as likely, it is just to provide light in the Holy Place. It is also interesting that the lampstand has 7 lights, a number symbolizing perfection in scripture, as well as in other ancient cultures. Perhaps the silence in scripture concerning the significance of the lampstand is purposeful: perhaps it is God using these other significant beliefs for a simple, utilitarian, light source, thus reminding us that He is the one who has intrinsic power and worth, not the objects.
Lord, thank You for reminders, things to bring our attention back to You. I pray that even though we don’t have a golden table or lampstand, and we don’t continually keep bread or oil in them, that we still see You all around us and it focuses our worship on You. Amen.