Saturday, April 13, 2013

"God with Us" (Exo 39-40)

 39:32Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished. And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did...40:1Then the Lord spoke to Moses, shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, and partition off the ark with the veil...40:16Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did...34Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle... 36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys...38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
Replica of the Tabernacle in Israel today, as prescribed by God in Exodus 39-40
In the summer of 2012 I had the most amazing opportunity ever, a true gift from God, most unexpected and greater than I could have imagined. I spent three weeks in the land of Israel. A group of 40 of us landed in Tel Aviv and on to Jerusalem on May 14th 2012. We had the privilege of studying first hand the History and Geography of the land of the Bible-Israel, from the Northerns parts of Galilee, to the mid regions of Bethlehem, down to the Jordan valley all the way south to the Negev. On one occasion, we camped out for a few hours in the Wildreness of Paran (Gen 21:21, Numb 12:16), which is the context of our story today.
Altar of burnt Offering & Laver of bronze
Golden Lamp stand
Many people have asked me, "what was the highlight of your trip", as hard as that question is, I always seem to come back to my desert experience in the Wildreness of Paran. It was not because of the time when all 40 of us were scattered across the desert, sitting alone on a hill of our choosing as we contemplated how it must have been for Israel. It was hot, there were ants, flies, the ground was true desert fashion. But rather it was after that, when we had a chance to visit a replica of the Tabernacle (tent) made just like God had instructed Israel (Exo 36-39). 
In the desert all I saw to draw my attention was the Tabernacle of God, which represented God's presence. The tent itself is not flattering but its symbols caused me to tear up uncontrollably.

Taking pictures of every item of the Tabernacle, I walked into the The Outer Court, where the altar of burnt offering stood with the Laver of bronze used for Priest cleansing (27:1-8, 30:17-21).

Then strolling into the holy place where only the priest were allowed in....seeing and touching the articles inside: The Gold Lampstand (25:1-40)
The Table of showbread (25:23-30)
The Altar of Incense (30:1-10)
All along admiring the curtains that stood like walls on both sides as they gleamed with colors prescribed by God (26:1-37)
The Tent Curtains
Then I took a deep breath, stopped and then went in....yes we went into the Holy of Holies...where no one was ever permitted to enter except the High Priest and only once a year and not without blood, making atonement (reconciliation-making right with God) for Himself and the nation. All 40 of us from different nations were permitted to enter this most holy place because of the eternal high priest Jesus Christ who had gone before us and died to reconcile us to our most Holy God, tearing the veil of separation between God and us, offering a bridge for all who will come into the tent of fellowship (Heb 5:10, 7:26-28, 9:7, 11, 24-26).
Show bread
In our text today we see how God comes to dwell with His people Israel. In a tent symbolized by the cloud radiating His glory. Separated from Israel because of their sin, but ever present and ever involved. The great "God with us" in the Old Testament is displayed as a shadow to the real and everlasting promise found in the New testament. Where "God with us" Jesus Christ, comes in the tent of flesh and dwells among us and we see His glory (John 1:14). 

He comes to break the wall of separation (sin) between Israel and Himself and not only Israel but all mankind who will receive Him as their God and savior.
Manna and Aaron's Staff that budded
Manna in The Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant

The two tents in view (Old & New)
As I touched "The Ark of the Covenant" with shaky hands and opened it and saw Aaron's budded rod, manna in a bowl and the tablets of the 10 Commandments...I could hardly contain myself. I took my pictures and dashed out, ran up to a nearby hill and looked at the reality of then and now and I cried tremendously out of gratitude. Because of Jesus I am free to worship and come into God's presence, even boldly and talk to Him, and sometimes shout to Him in my frustration. I looked at the tent of Old and I looked at my present tent, where God Himself lives in the person of The Holy Spirit and I could not imagine that God cared that much, that He will go through so much trouble to rescue me...even me. I looked at the old tent in the Wilderness of Paran and saw my current reality, not only "God with us" but saw "God in us", "God in me". I looked at the tabernacle of old and I am obliged to look to the future tabernacle where God will not only be inside of me, but He will dwell on earth with man, the fullness of heaven's abode will be finally on earth with man (Rev 21:1-3).

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.-(Rev 21:1-3)

As I write I am fueled with great emotions of comfort and I burst out in praise to our God...Maranatha!...You are good, You are faithful, You are provider and You are Deliverer. This emotional story of God's plan to live with man, is unfolding. It closes this very long book of Exodus with great anticipation for what comes next. 

Until next time where we will summarize the book of Exodus and move on to our next book Leviticus.  Read, share and be comforted.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

My Testimony