A Life of True Worship
The earthly tabernacle was designed to lead Israel to worship God. It was patterned after the heavenly tabernacle, where God receives our worship. So what does that say about our worship of God? We don’t have an earthly tabernacle anymore, but we do have the heavenly one. It is pictured for us in the earthly one and made available to us by Jesus Christ.
We tend to think of worship as a service we attend at a specific time and place. And in that service, many people equate worship with singing. But true worship is a lifestyle. It is the life you live according to God’s Word. That’s worshipping God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).
So what does that life of worship look like? The pattern is in the tabernacle. First you must understand that you cannot approach God except through Jesus, for He is the door. Anyone who says there is another way to God does not worship God.
Once you acknowledge that Jesus is the only way to God, you must understand that only His atoning sacrifice, His shed blood, propitiates God. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. God established this pattern in the Garden of Eden when He made coverings for the naked Adam and Eve from the skin of animals. Blood was shed to cover their sin. Christ our Passover Lamb was slain so that the penalty of death would pass over us. We must live our lives in the reality of Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
We must also know that it is the washing of the water of the Word of God that cleanses us. We cannot approach God without clean hands and a pure heart, and this isn’t something we can take care of ourselves. We need Christ’s cleansing to make us pure. First John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, God will forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness. So to worship God, we need to continually confess our sins rather than deny them.
The world of Satan is dark. Jesus, the light of the world, dispels darkness and exposes the deeds of the wicked. Living in the light of Jesus means that we cannot participate in the deeds of darkness. As the psalmist wrote, God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).
The table that held the bread of the Presence reminded Israel of God’s provision. Jesus Himself is the bread of life. So for us to worship God, we must feed on that bread of life. Jesus Himself taught that “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). God’s Word shows us how to live and is our sustenance, so to worship God we must be in God’s Word on a daily basis.
The location of the altar of incense before the veil is a reminder that our prayers go up to God before we enter His presence. We know that whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ name, we have. So our prayers rise to the Father as a sweet aroma, and Jesus is our mediator.
The earthly high priest’s path to God was blocked by the veil. But the real veil, Jesus’ flesh, was torn in His crucifixion. The way to the Father is through Jesus’ torn flesh and is no longer blocked. And Jesus Himself is our high priest, who enters God’s presence and sprinkles the blood of a spotless sacrifice, His own blood, on the mercy seat.
And there at the throne of grace we receive mercy from God because our intercessor, Jesus, has gone before us. Our worship depends on living out these realities. Jesus is our way to the Father because of His sacrifice. His Word cleanses us, gives us light to walk by, and gives us life. We offer our prayers in His name. His atoning sacrifice tore the veil and provided the blood to sprinkle on the mercy seat so we could approach God. A life that doesn’t live according to these truths is a life that doesn’t worship God. Attendance at a service can be mere window dressing and can actually make a mockery of true worship.
Vow to live a life of true worship. Remember the tabernacle and all it represents for true worship in Jesus. Worship God in spirit and truth.
 Kay Arthur and Pete De Lacy, The Key to Living by Faith: Hebrews (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2009).