On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle. (Exodus 40:2)
God has established that certain times and locations can have a special impact on us. This is to help make an event or practice more memorable. Under the Old Covenant they worshipped on the seventh day to commemorate God’s finished work of creation. We now worship Him on the first day each week, not because there is something inherently ‘better’ about that day than others, but because it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption on the cross.
After detailed instructions for building the tabernacle, God told Moses to set it up on the “first day of the first month” – the beginning of a new year. This would make the act more memorable in later times. When we remember what the tabernacle was we can say there is a sense in which God would have us “set up a tabernacle” at the start of a new year as well.
It was a Place of Sacrifice. It was here that people brought their sacrifices for their sins. A new year is a special time we should review our lives and inspect our hearts and confess our sins to God and trust in the sacrifice of Christ’s blood to cleanse us and restore our broken fellowship with Him.
It was a Place of Supplication where the priests and people prayed. Prayer is a difficult spiritual exercise. It is needful to “set up a tabernacle” at the outset of the year in determining that you will make time every day to commune with God in prayer.
It was a Place of Song where God’s people sang their praises to the Lord – who had redeemed them from their years of slavery in Egypt, and cleansed them of their sins they had repented of. It would be good to determine right from day one, that you will make this year a year of praise to our great Redeemer who has saved us, and then praise Him every day of the year.
It was a Place of Service. The priests and Levites served God in the tabernacle. Let us determine that by God’s grace we will make this a year in which we serve the Lord. There is no better way to start a year than determining to remember Christ’s sacrifice, be more in prayer and praise and to serve Him with all your strength.