Recently I contributed a series of devotionals for a group of men from my church. I thought I’d repost them here. It is a five part series around the theme of God being in charge of things.
This is part 3. The other posts in this series are here.
The Complimentary Pair
When God finished creation it was ordered as He pleased. Heaven and Earth were intertwined. They were a complimentary pair – made to go together like man and woman, or ice creams and sunny days. The creation was in harmony with the creator and everything worked just fine. Heaven was Gods dwelling place and Earth was ours but they weren’t separate. Then obviously we stuffed it all up and so mankind was shut out from Gods presence. Thankfully God had a plan to bring things back together, but there would be some conditions to meet.
Whenever I read the latter parts of Exodus through to Deuteronomy, I have to be honest – my eyes glaze over a little. Genesis and the escape from Egypt are a thrill ride but then things get a little bogged down. Moses may be the most widely read author in history but there is only so much talk of genealogy, census records, and ceremonial bowls I can handle.
In amongst the excruciating detail though truth emerges. As God maps out the plans for the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) we see that everything must be exactly according to His specifications. All the world was a mess, but for that one patch of dirt where the tabernacle was. In that precise spot, everything was exactly as He intended it should be. God was fully in control, and there was His dwelling place among us.
Approach with Confidence
Thanks to Jesus we no longer have a set of impossible conditions to meet. God can again make his home among us. When the Holy Spirit landed on the disciples at Pentecost it was God again entering his dwelling place. But this time it wasn’t a pillar of fire over a tent in the desert or fire falling from heaven on an ornate temple – it was tongues of fire landing on His people.
Once upon a time, if you tried to access Gods presence you had to be the right guy, on the right day, following the right rules. If anything was amiss you were deader than disco. But now we’re told in Hebrews 4:16 we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we can receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This challenges me in two ways:
- Look at what it took for people to access God’s presence before Jesus. Yet now it is freely mine. It cost God his son to purchase this access – am I treating this as the most precious gift that could be given or taking it for granted?
- The Holy Spirit dwells in us thanks to Jesus, but there is still wisdom in understanding where God chooses to locate His presence. He is repelled by sin, disorder, disunity. Can I attract God to be more present in my life by restoring order to an area that is out of order?