God’s Presence (25:8)
For God to have a mobile home was about as odd sounding to Israel as it is to us today, but for different reasons. In ancient times gods were associated with places. For Yahweh to say, “My place is with My people,” was paradigm shifting. It reinforced and foreshadowed the words God would speak at the end of the Exodus journey, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5).”
Likely we have become too comfortable with God’s presence to be appropriately moved by this verse. We are four stages ahead of where Israel was here – from sanctuary, temple, incarnation, to indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As any history teacher will tell you, “We must appreciate how we got here if we are to appreciate where we are.”
Reflection: How would having a God who was willing to travel with you have encouraged and challenged Israel? What aspects of God’s character are revealed through His command to build a tabernacle? When are you tempted to doubt those aspects of God’s character? How does this reflection on the tabernacle increase your understanding of and appreciation for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?
Mercy On Top of Presence (25:21)
God’s presence is a double edged sword. Honestly, it is a blessing that none of us can handle on our own. The construction of the Ark of the Covenant reminds us of this. For this reason, on top of the Ark of the Covenant was the mercy seat where offerings would be made for sin.
As we read of the Ark of the Covenant’s construction, we should be struck by God’s holiness, wisdom, and grace. Holiness – as we recognize that the mercy was absolutely necessary due to the difference in God’s character and ours. Wisdom – as we see the foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s heart to prepare our understanding. Grace – as we realize what God saw (His Son) each time lamb’s blood was shed on the mercy seat.
Reflection: When you think of God’s presence in your heart do you also reflect on what Christ did to tear the veil in the temple of the Holy of Holies? Allow this to deepen the appreciation you have for the indwelling Holy Spirit. How does this imagery affect your identity as the “Temple of God”?
Sanctified By God’s Glory
Exodus 29:43 (ESV)
“There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory.”
Ultimately, what is it that motivates us to put off sin and pursue holiness? There are many answers we could give which might capture some truth. We see here, however, that the final answer is – the glory of God.
Sin is living for self and now. It is only the glory of God that can penetrate the lies which seem so appealing, right, wise, good, understandable, or acceptable. With that said, how much do you know about God, His character, and His ways? Does your vocabulary stop with words like great, good, powerful, or smart? If so, then chances are your view of God has a hard time penetrating and impacting your moments of temptation.
If you want to have a more robust view of God which will shine forth and stand up in your moments of temptation consider reading one or more of the following books.
- The Bible – but instead of asking “What does this passage say to/about me?” ask “What does this passage reveal about the character and ways of God?”
- The Attributes of God by A.W. Tozer
- The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
- The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
- The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink
- The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
As you read, or as you just reflect on temptation, always be asking yourself the question, “How did a particular temptation diminish or discredit the glory of God in my life in order to make itself look more appealing?” Remember the fight against and away from temptation is always a flight towards and for God.
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.