Where Does God Dwell?
Holy Spirit of God, inspire my thoughts, invade my imaginations, guide my decisions, and give me grace at all times.
Read Exodus 26:1-37
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.
“The symmetrical patterns and proportions found in the design of the tabernacle show God’s concern, as in his work of creation, for order, harmony, and right relations” (Richard Harvey).
The God whom heaven and earth cannot contain declares he will live in a tent (25:8), but no ordinary tent! Its lavishness seems extravagant to Christians struggling to deal with materialism and the pursuit of wealth. But the tabernacle was built for impoverished ex-slaves struggling to become a community. In “churches of poverty,” the creation of something extravagant for God has power to inspire, to lift people from the drudgery and hopelessness of their lives, whereas in “churches of wealth,” such extravagance may be self-indulgent display or worse. I have seen impressive medieval cathedrals built on the sweat of peasant labor. I have seen the magnificent Cathedral of St. Magnus in Kirkwall, England, built as part of a plot to seize the Earldom of Orkney. But I have also seen the beautiful Church of the Holy Cross at Point Cross in Vanuatu (an island republic in the South Pacific), far grander than the simple thatched homes of the villagers. Built as something beautiful for God, it rises above the ordinariness of their lives, like the tabernacle, constructed entirely from the free will gifts of the people (25:8).
Jesus was not affronted by the grandeur of the Temple but by its commercialism. He honored it as his “Father’s house” but in the same conversation Jesus referred to his own body as the Temple (John 2:21). In Christ, “all the fullness of the Deity lives” (Col. 2:9) but Jesus’ self-sacrifice and resurrection created the possibility of God’s residence within his followers and corporately within the Christian community. The almighty and transcendent God who fills “heaven and earth” (Jer. 23:24) once chose to be present in a particular way in tabernacle and Temple. And now God chooses us, the new community of believers, as the “place” where he will dwell.
A most remarkable Christian doctrine is that Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, will be at home in a human heart. Is your heart a suitable residence for Christ?
Thank You, God, for living in me. Help me to grow into a dwelling place ever more fit for You.
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