Emily Belle Freeman



A Place of Refuge

Exodus 37:11 - Leviticus 1:14

My friend has an old milk barn.

This year he started working on fixing it up.  He has great plans for it.  Someday it will be a little cabin for his family.  I love to watch him talk about the vision of what it will become.

But it’s going to take a lot of work.

So he spends a lot of time there.  Much more than you might imagine.  And he’s gathering a lot of stuff.

One day, when it’s finished, it will be a blessing to his family.  Because of the sacrifice.  Because of the time.  Because of his vision of what it could be.

It will become a place of refuge.


I am reminded of the story of John Moyle.

The chief superintendent of masonry for the Salt Lake Temple.  He worked on the temple for over 20 years.  Every Monday he would walk 22 miles to the temple site.  And every Friday he would walk home.  22 miles.  Twice a week.

Building the temple required a lot of work.  So he spent a lot of time there.

One weekend a cow bolted and kicked John in the leg breaking every bone beneath the knee.  The leg would have to be amputated.  So they got the bucksaw from the front yard, strapped him to a wooden door, and sawed it off.

When against all medical likelihood his leg began to heal, he carved himself an artificial leg. He practiced walking around his home, then around his yard, and finally around his property.  When he thought he could stand the pain, he strapped on the leg and walked 22 miles to the Salt Lake City temple.  He was 77 years old.  Once he arrived there he climbed up the scaffolding and chiseled the words “holiness to the Lord” into the stone.

Now the temple is finished.  Every time I look at that stone I think of John Moyle’s life.  The sacrifice.  The time.  The sanctification.  The consecration.

The sermon of John Moyle’s life was “Holiness to the Lord.”

I am reminded of that sermon every time I visit that place of refuge.


The story of the people of Israel building the tabernacle matches this pattern.  Moses was much like my friend.  The Lord gave Moses a vision of what his people could become.  But it was going to take a lot work.

And a lot of time.

First Moses taught his people what it meant to be obedient.  He spoke of repentance.  And they became sanctified.

He asked them to give, to keep back nothing.  And the people brought much more than enough for the service of the work. (Exodus 36:5)   “For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work, and too much.” (Exodus 36:7)  Within the giving, his people learned what it meant to become consecrated.

On the very last day, after the ark and the mercy seat had been built, and the curtains had been sewn, and the garments completed including the hand made golden bells, and the pomegranates, one final thing took place…

After the sanctification.  After the consecration.

“And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.  And they tied unto it a lace of blue, to fasten it on high upon the mitre; as the Lord commanded Moses.  Thus was all the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished.”  (Exodus 39: 30-32)  It wasn’t until Holiness to the Lord had been fastened upon the mitre that the work was finished.

And for Israel it became a place of refuge.


I wonder to myself, where am I in this process?

Because sometimes my life looks like the old milk barn, and I hope Someone has some great plans for it.  A vision.  Even if I can’t see it right now.

I am willing to work hard.

To give much more than enough.  Sufficient…and too much.  To bring my finest.  A willing and a wise heart.

To sacrifice.  To consecrate.

Because when I am finished, when I have walked the last mile, and chiseled the final stone, I want my life to be holiness to the Lord.

I want to find in Him my refuge.

Emily Freeman