In many households people don’t think much about the place where they eat their food; many simply eat their fill anywhere and move on to more important things. But for Christians, the table where we eat carries far more significance; it is a place where we gather, at least once a day, to thank the Lord for providing us with food. Without the Lord’s provision we would have nothing to eat at all. It is also a place where our families fellowship together, discussing the events of our day among other things in our lives.
In Exodus chapter 25 we find Moses upon the mountain of the Lord receiving instructions from God concerning the building of the Tabernacle. After first describing what was to be collected for the Tabernacle’s construction in verses 3-9, God tells Moses how to construct the Ark of the Covenant, which is where they were to keep the commandments of God, and where God would dwell and speak to His people (verses 10-22). The ark would later be placed in what is called the Holy of Holies, in the Tabernacle. The Lord next instructs Moses to build a table. The table, like the Ark, is to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. A bit smaller in size than the Ark, the table nevertheless will hold a special place in the Tabernacle as it would be placed right outside the Holy of Holies, in the Holy Place. The table was to hold plates and dishes of pure gold, and verse 30 says, “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.”
Like the dinner table in a believer’s home, this table of the bread of presence in the Tabernacle holds a deeper meaning than just a place for food. The table and the bread represent the Lord’s provision for Israel. He would provide their daily bread (Exodus 16:4). It points to the covenant the Lord made with His people – how they would worship Him alone (Exo 20:1-3). It also represents fellowship with the Lord. Once per week, as the priests replaced the bread, they would eat the bread in the Lord’s presence (Lev 24:5-9). This would take place as Israel journeyed in the wilderness and finally entered the Promised Land. But these things also point to a time when not only the priests, but all true children of God, would commune with the Lord, and remember – He is our sustainer and provider and the One we worship.