Psa. 84:1 ¶ How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
What was David talking about? What made the tabernacle lovely? This tattered, left over tent from the days of Moses was anything but lovely. The building had nothing about it on the outside that was attractive to anyone. The beauty was all inside. It was the beauty of the Lord that was resident inside the tabernacle that made the difference. Years later, when Solomon dedicated his magnificent temple, nothing had really changed. Solomon’s temple was known for its opulence. It was filled with gold and silver but that had changed nothing. The beauty of the tattered tabernacle was just as magnificent as the masterpiece of Solomon. What made the temple special also was seen in the tabernacle, it was the shining beauty of the shekinah glory of God. Here are some thoughts from John Gill on this beautiful place.
“What made the tabernacle of Moses lovely was not the outside but what was within, having many golden vessels in it, and those typical of things much more precious; moreover, here the priests were to be seen in their robes, doing their duty and service, and, at certain times, the high priest in his rich apparel; here were seen the sacrifices slain and offered, by which the people were taught the nature of sin, the strictness of justice, and the necessity and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ: here the Levites were heard singing their songs, and blowing their trumpets: but much more amiable are the Church of God and its ordinances in Gospel times, where Christ, the Great High Priest, is seen in the glories of his person, and the fulness of his grace; where Zion’s priests, or the ministers of the gospel, stand clothed, being full fraught with salvation, and the tidings of it; where Christ is evidently set forth, as crucified and slain, in the ministry of the word, and the administration of ordinances; here the gospel trumpet is blown, and its joyful sound echoed forth, and songs of love and grace are sung by all believers; besides, what makes these tabernacles still more lovely are, the presence of God here, so that they are no other than the house of God, the gate of heaven; the provisions that are here made, and the company that is here enjoyed”.
The key to the beauty of these places of worship is what they pointed to. Every piece of furniture, every article of priestly clothing, every act of worship all pointed to one thing. It was all pointing to Christ. Christ is altogether lovely and it is His presence that is beautiful.