God With Us…Amen!
Sovereign God, You know everything, You see the real me, and You accept me as I am. I praise and worship You.
Read Exodus 36:8-38
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
God is “using you, fitting you in brick by brick … with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone … a holy temple built by God” (Eph. 2:20-22, The Message).
Descriptions of tent furnishings are repeated to emphasize that the willing workers are carrying out God’s instructions to the letter (Heb. 8:5). I remember from my youth hearing talks about the symbolism of the different parts of this temporary temple and its later, more permanent expression. Until attention turns, in the next chapters, to the ark and the altar, details of loops and curtains and wooden frames seem to have little relevance to us today.
With no tabernacle, of course, there’d be no God-presence. The tabernacle foreshadows the incarnation—God’s Tent of Meeting is a tent among the tents of his journeying people. When Jesus comes, he is God clothed with flesh, a human baby born to a humble family in an ordinary stable. The incarnation theme continues to paradise, for the object of our hopes for this life and the next is pictured as a city with a slain but risen Lamb at its heart. A city, vehicle and symbol of human rejection of God (Gen. 11), is remade into a wonderful manifestation of the presence of the incarnate God.
“Tabernacle” means “Dwelling.” God dwells among his people, not in a tent or a temple or a church building but among them. Physical structures may symbolically represent this presence, but the real presence is in the world through the community of faith. It was so for the covenant people journeying to the Promised Land; it is true for us as Christ’s church. Some have difficulty with this word “church” because it has come to stand for bricks and mortar, or alternatively, a moribund institution. Scripture tells us Christ loves his people, his church; died for his church; and blesses his church with his presence. That presence is the church’s greatest contribution to the world.
Is Christ present in your neighborhood through his church? What does it require of you for your church to be a growing influence on those around you?
Lord, I’m grateful for the church that nurtured me to faith, and for the pastors, teachers and leaders who mentored me.