“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”
Although I wouldn’t call the later parts of Exodus my favorite excerpts of scripture, these chapters tell us a lot about the nature of God dwelling among humankind. In the course of salvation history, for instance, God created the heavens and the earth, had the Israelites build a physical tent to house his presence, dwelled in human form, and presently dwells in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
What we learn from this early dealing of God and his newly redeemed people was that people could only approach God by means of a sacrifice. Though the Holy dwelled among the Israelites, sin hadn’t been decisively defeated yet and so the people lived near but outside the gates of Paradise; it was only inside they could be made into a new creation. The priests embodied the tabernacle outwardly, wearing clothes of the same material, but they and the tent itself could only symbolize what Jesus fully represented in his being.
I once read that “we are worthy of the Spirit’s indwelling because we have been recreated by God’s power into beings made righteous by Christ’s sacrifice,” which means “our daily lives are all tangled up with the things that God is doing in this world…translating the good news into holy action.”
We are created to reflect divine order in how we live day to day in a fallen world. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we should have a different perspective about sin, affecting our attitudes and behavior, making us inclined to follow God’s general and specific will for our lives. And it should have an impact on the people around us.
What you wear matters. Are you covered with the righteousness of Christ and a love that sets men and women free? If so, you'll be taking God everywhere you go. When you pull up your tent pegs and follow God's will for your life, just imagine the possibilities.
Prayer: “Lord, all throughout scripture you have revealed how you dwell among us. The tabernacle was a sign of something greater that was to come. In Jesus, you revealed yourself in a way we could understand, challenging our sinful ways with your holy truth. Now you have cleared a path for your very presence, the Holy Spirit, to dwell in those who believe; you acted decisively to save us in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Transform our hearts and minds that we might reflect your light in a world that believes you set it to spinning and left it all alone. May more people have a personal encounter with you and experience your saving grace as the church lives out our mission to make disciples who make disciples for the transformation of the world. Amen!”