Identity Found in God
The High Priest and the Forgiven
The High Priest
The Blood of Christ
The Living Bread
The Dwelling Place of God
Living Confidently as the Forgiven
The Dwelling Place of God
We have had the experience of preparing several homes as God has led us from place to place – 6 different homes in fact. While we have never built one from scratch – I don’t know that I am capable of making that many decisions – we have done our share of remodeling and creating a dwelling place for our family. Measurements have been made, paint colors chosen, placement of furniture thought through. We always have to ask the question what needs to happen and be in place to create a space for our family to land?
I imagine this is what God considered as well. “Hmmm what would be good for my family and I?” Day one of creation through day six, He worked on creating this space…light, sky, water, land, sea, vegetation, sun, moon, starts, fish, birds, animals…After each part of creation He proclaimed, “Oh this is good!” And of course His last but not least addition was man and woman who He described as, “very good”. So there they were, in this newly created beautiful space – dwelling together – walking together in the garden. A glimpse of perfection. Then came sin. Sin – separation from God. No longer could they live amongst God in such a way. In fact, because of their sin, their nakedness needed covered, thus, the first “sacrifice” went down. The Lord made garments of skin for them. In order to make these garments, an animal must have been killed so its skin could cover their sin. God led them to the edge of the garden and banished them – out they go – no longer able to physically live and walk in the presence of God.
But God doesn’t stop there; His heart’s desire is to walk with us. He continued to speak to His people and would show up here and there, like in a fiery bush. As He led the Israelites out of Egypt, He showed up. The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Exodus 13:21-22) God’s presence was with them. The Lord showed up in a cloud atop of Mt Sinai as He revealed the law to Moses.
Next, God began to prepare for His next form of dwelling. Exodus 25:1-9 reveals His first step, asking Moses to tell the Israelites to give God an offering, and He listed all the items needed to accomplish His plan revealed in verse 8. He wanted them to build a sanctuary so that He could dwell among them. He gave Moses the blueprint, the pattern – a very detailed plan. The Lord was the head foreman of this building project. Everything had a purpose. As the Tabernacle was completed, the Lord showed up as His cloud, His glory filled it. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. Exodus 30:34-38
Next God established His dwelling place in the Temple at Jerusalem. Instructions were given again and behind that curtain in the Holy of Holies, the place only high priests could enter just once a year, God dwelled among His people. This became the place of interaction with God. These earthly tabernacles were temporary. They were manmade. Hebrews describes them as copies or shadows of the heavenly dwelling place of God. They are the “In the meantime” homes. These sanctuaries, the sacrificial system, was all in place so God’s people can be forgiven of their sins, and draw close to God. This is, until Jesus came.
We have already examined His role as the High Priest. Now let’s consider the dwelling place. Matthew 27:51 describes what happened as Jesus breathed His last breath, “In that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Such a short statement, but let it all soak in. This curtain, the very thing that separated us and the presence of God, torn. No longer in existence. The absence of the curtain signifies access to God. Jesus has made it possible, through His sacrifice – through His blood and beaten body – through His appearance to THE most holy place before God – on our behalf – through His Resurrection (His coming back from the Holy Heavens), through the message that God has accepted Him as a final sacrifice that was made for all of our sins – we now can come before God Almighty.
So where is God dwelling today? What home has He prepared? Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” He lives in us, with us. The Holy Spirit resides with us. We have access 24/7 to our great God. What a gift it is to live life on earth, which isn’t pain free, with the presence of our Creator. Because of Him, we can dwell here in this temporary place. What’s next – oh! Consider what Jesus tells us in John 14:1-4, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” They, the 3 in 1 – they’re preparing the place for our next move! This place, perhaps resembling the perfection in the garden, prior to sin, will be like nothing we have ever experienced or imagined. Our challenge, on this side of the move, is to do our best to prepare to live in such a way to ready our hearts to live with Him. (And guess what?! No boxes or moving trucks will be needed!) God’s getting things ready for us!
Take some time and acknowledge God's presence with you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Be mindful of His presence as you go throughout the day. Recognize His presence in all you do. He loves doing life with you!