When God asks His people to do something, He often gives very specific instructions. Even down to the type of wood to be used in a building project.

In Exodus 25, God instructed Moses to tell the people to bring an offering for the construction of the tabernacle as a sanctuary for worship. One of the items requested was acacia wood that would be used to make the ark of the covenant, the poles to carry it, the table for the bread, the altar, and frames to hold the fabric walls.

What’s so special about acacia wood? For one thing, it is beautiful, light, and extremely durable. Many furniture builders still use acacia wood because of it’s color and ability to be polished. Some species had a unique smell and were used to create incense. Acacia trees generally grew in desert-like areas and could represent a place of rest in a barren wilderness.

But the most interesting thing I’ve found about acacia trees is the presence of sharp thorns covering the branches and the leaves often contain poison to deter insects. Not to mention that the sap oozing from the thorns attracts stinging ants that fight off competing plants. Acacia trees scream “Approach with Caution!”

Why might God have told Moses to build the tabernacle using acacia wood? Perhaps to instill a reverence or holy fear of God. He reminded His people to be careful and not to treat His presence lightly. In fact, when moving camp, God warned the priests not to touch the holy things or they would die. (Numbers 4:15) And when King David tried to bring the ark to Jerusalem on a cart, the death of Uzzah was a harsh reminder that God’s holiness is not to be treated lightly. (2 Samuel 6:1-10) The next time King David moved the ark, he did it right by having it carried and offering sacrifices.

Because Jesus paid the debt for my sin, I can freely approach the throne of God. But I should take a lesson from the acacia tree and remember the awesome power of the God who made the universe.

What about you? Do you see God as approachable or off-limits? What role does a healthy respect play? Do thorny branches remind you of something Jesus did for us?

Like A Tree – Acacia
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