A God of Patterns

by William J. Stewart

When we consider the work of God, we can see time and again He uses and loves patterns. In every age it can be seen through the Scriptures that God supplied a blueprint for His people to follow.

In the creation sequence (Genesis 1:1-31), we can see a distinct pattern and intended design. God created in an order which was logical, both for the plant life which was made and for mankind. The elements of the atmosphere were created on day 2, which of course, the plants (day 3) required to survive. They very next day, the sunlight was created, which again, vegetation requires. The idea that there were millennia between the days of creation simply does not fit the orderly succession which the Lord used. The vegetation would have ceased had the sunlight been delayed such a duration.

Man was left to the very last in creation, seemingly for two reasons. First, all that was accomplished before God created man was necessary in order for him to be sustained upon the earth. Again, God created in a chronological succession which made sense. Second, throughout the days of creation, we see Moses’ commentary on God’s view of his creation. From day 1 through day 5, we read, “God saw that it was good.” But, at the end of day 6, we are told, “God saw that it was very good.” What made the difference? Humanity is the crowning jewel of God’s creation.

Though the blueprint of creation is not for man to follow, it demonstrates a pattern or design which God established and followed. As the Lord follow His design perfectly, so ought men and women follow the patterns which He has given humanity.

When we come to Genesis 6, the state of God’s creation was no longer “good.” men and women had corrupted their ways and walked in violence. Thus, God determined to bring destruction upon the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

One man found grace in the eyes of God, Noah. Thus, God commanded him to build an ark. In Genesis 6:13-16, we read the specific instructions for the ark. Among the details, we know the type of wood to be used, the number of floors in the boat, the length, width and height of the construction, and the number and placement of the single door and window in the ark.

Did Noah understand the importance of these instructions? Genesis 6:22 says “…Noah did according to all that God commanded him…” His obedience was a demonstration of his righteousness before God (7:1). If Noah had decided to change the design of the ark, to disregard the Lord’s blueprint, he would not have been declared righteous, nor would the grace of God remained upon him.

Years later, plans were given for a different ark—the ark of the covenant. God commanded Moses, “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” (Exodus 25:8-9; cf. v 40). The tabernacle, the furnishings, the ark, the priest’s garments—all was to be built in accordance with the blueprint given by the Lord.

Genesis 6 gave a 4 verse plan for Noah’s ark. Here, we find a 4 chapter design for the tabernacle and all that was in it. Exodus 25-28 give very specific details of how God desired the tabernacle to be built.

Near the end of Exodus, we are told “…as the LORD had commanded, just so they had done it…” (Exodus 39:42-43). Because they followed His pattern, the LORD was pleased, and His glory of God filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34).

The tabernacle continued until the days of Solomon. David sought to build the temple, but was not permitted (2 Samuel 7). However, God did give David the plans for the temple, and authorized his son Solomon to build it. In 1 Chronicles 28, David shared the plans with Solomon. The aged king stated, “…all this the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans” (28:19). The temple was not designed by man; it’s plans came by the Spirit of God.

Hear David’s words to the people, “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the LORD God” (1 Chronicles 29:1). What a wonderful statement! David realized the temple was for the LORD (and thus according to His blueprint), not for man (and thus according to his wishes). Man’s preferences, like and dislikes had no place in the construction of God’s temple.

The first several chapters of 2 Chronicles record the construction of the temple. When the work was complete, Israel celebrated, and “…the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). God’s presence coming into the temple indicates His approval—they had followed His blueprint.

Consistently we find those who disregarded God’s plans in the Old Testament were punished. Nadab and Abihu failed to seek God’s will for the tabernacle service, and were consumed by fire for their sin (Leviticus 10). Moses explained, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified” (10:3). David disregarded God’s plan for moving the ark of God which resulted in Uzzah’s death (1 Chronicles 13:7-10). Years later, king Uzziah entered the temple to offer incense, a duty of the priests, and was  struck with leprosy for ignoring God’s pattern (2 Chronicles 28:16-20).

King Manasseh brought all manner of abominations into the temple, which resulted in the LORD destroying him and the nation (2 Chronicles 33:1-11). Following God’s blueprint is not optional. He expects His people to obey.


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