Normally he had his iPad in a strong case, and travelled with it carefully stowed in the bag at the back of his mobility scooter. But this once, he’d used the gel case, and accidentally left it perched in the basket at the front. The dropped kerb was just a mite too high, and he took it at the wrong angle. The scooter lost a wheel and tipped, and out crashed the iPad, screen totally smashed. Disaster! Precious stuff needs plenty of protection.
That’s why God gave instructions to Moses, to make outer coverings for the tabernacle. One of goat hair, one of ram skins, and one of ‘the hide of sea cows’ (Exodus 26:7-14). It’s uncertain which animal this latter covering came from, and varies with translation, but it was obvious to me that it would need something to keep out the rain. Well I would think that, being a good English lass. but there again, how often did it rain in the desert? Occasionally, granted, but the worst element they needed to keep at bay, was sand. A serious sand storm could just about bury the tabernacle, and permeate every fibre of softer materials. This most exterior covering had to be virtually indestructible. Ezekiel 16:10 uses the same word for the leather of the finest shoes. This stuff had to withstand the harsh abrasion of sand whipping round it to keep the precious tabernacle, the place where people could meet with God, safe inside.
God has given us some pretty clever bodies. Skin withstands and protects us against infections, toxins, excess ultra-violet light, heat and cold. Wonderful stuff. But it can be scratched, cut, burned, damaged. It only withstands so much; so we use clothing, oven gloves, protective gear, even body armour in some situations, to keep us from harm. In spiritual terms, God has also given us the spiritual armour outlined in Ephesians 6. We need to use all the protection we can get to keep us safe in body, mind and spirit. And of course we need to eat sensibly, and live healthy lives to keep ourselves fit for purpose.
Yet still, I hear people say, “I’m not talking to her – she hurt me!” or they leave a church because they felt slighted. We get so easily offended! People approach you wrong for all sorts of reasons – maybe they are having a bad time themselves, not coping, or just plain exhausted – do you know what they are struggling with? And even if they just simply got it wrong, you know what, you need a thicker skin. Life is like that. Get over it. Love them anyway. That’s what Jesus does with you and me every single day.