The Presence of God
Lord God, You gave Your people of old the means to know Your presence. May I learn from this teaching.
Read Exodus 25:1-22
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.
We offer God our “firstfruits,” the best of what we have. Nothing less than the best will do for the purposes of God.
Where does God dwell? In heaven? In our hearts? The immortal God who “lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16) has chosen also to live among his people (8). Scripture gives an amazing series of God’s dwelling places: the tabernacle, the Temple, Jesus, the body of the believer, the local church. What does this mean? We will let the question of where God dwells intrigue us until we reach the design of the tabernacle itself.
God’s first instructions were for the tabernacle’s most significant sacred furnishings. The Ark, a tangible witness to the presence of God, housed the covenant law engraved on stone (16). Other evidence of God’s abiding presence was added later, including manna and Aaron’s rod (Heb. 9:4). Before Sinai, there was no special people, no holy nation, only the mixed rabble of ex-slaves. There at Mount Sinai they heard the voice of the Lord; there they responded to him; there the ex-slaves became the Lord’s covenant people. However, they were still frail humans. God knew how hard it was to contain the covenant only in their minds. God gave them tangible things, holy things, to help assure their flickering faith. Far more than a mere symbol, the God-given Ark visibly attested to God’s enduring presence.
There is deep meaning in the very name “atonement cover” (17). There God will meet with them. There sin will be “covered.” A simple word for a simple thing that humans themselves create—a cover—becomes a profound theological term for what God does every time he forgives our sin and lets us begin again. In Leviticus, the word recurs at the end of sacrifices for sin. The priest will cover the sin and the person will be forgiven (Lev. 4:26,31,35).
Notice that more important than the value of the items’ given is the giver’s motive (2). Examine your motives in regard to your gifts and service in the Lord’s work.
Lord God, I come to You in awe and reverence as Your people did of old. Cover my sins with the blood of Your Son and forgive me.
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