In "Word Focus" Darrell Grim writes:
The Tabernacle has ever been the place of God's presence with His people.
The Tabernacle was first erected in the wilderness exactly one year after the Passover when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavery. It was a mobile tent with portable furniture that the people traveled with and set up wherever they pitched camp. The instruction on how to build the Tabernacle was first given to Moses in the wilderness, who then gave the orders to the Israelites.
God knew that the Israelites needed visual evidence of His presence. When Moses went up to Mount Sinai for forty days and the people did not see or hear from him, they grew impatient and gathered their gold to form a golden calf that they worshiped in place of God. After ten generations of living in Egypt, it was not surprising that the Israelites mimicked the Egyptians in fashioning a visual idol of their own. This act of disobedience demon-strated their need to follow and worship a God who was visually tangible. God's provision of a Tabernacle — itself a splendor to behold — not only allowed the people to sense His presence, but also to see their leader go in to meet with God in a concrete place and not disappear up a mountain.