ALL of the design elements for the sanctuary and its contents (Exodus 25) suggest God’s great love of beauty, of design, of loveliness. We have sometimes imagined that God enjoys plainness. This is hardly the case. God’s love for beautiful things, for craftsmanship, for design and art, is displayed throughout His creation, and it is mirrored in the wonderfully designed elements of furnishings He commanded Israel to fashion for His holy worship.
The church has often struggled with the issue of beauty in places of worship. Some have argued that since Christians are God’s temple today, places of worship should be austere, stark, plain. Others have argued that large expenditures on our places of worship are self-serving in view of the great and continuing needs of so many of the peoples of the world.
But in the biblical descriptions of both the tabernacle and the later temple, other Christians have found models of beauty, craftsmanship, and artistry that bring joy both to man and God. As one woman lavished exquisite ointment over the Savior’s feet as a gift of her love for Him (Luke 7:37–50), many Christians believe that lovely spiritual symbols of divine worship in the places where the church gathers are legitimate expressions of love for God.