We’ve just finished a series in our college and young adult group on the Tabernacle called SHOW MY YOUR GLORY. I know, not the sexiest topic but it was a fascinating investigation into some of those more obscure, and dare I say anal-retentive passages that we tend to gloss over. In short, this type of study is called typology which is the predictive relationship between the Old and New Testaments. From the first week on, we discussed the importance of God’s Presence in our lives: how to obtain and sustain in.
In Exodus 33, we see a conversation taking place between Moses and God, ”face to face as a man speaks with his friend” (v. 11). God informs Moses that He will not be traveling with the obstinate Israelites or He might want to start picking them off. Moses pleads with the Almighty and reminds Him of His Promises as well as His reputation among the nations. Moses was a man who was hungry for revelation and relationship with Yahweh. “Teach me Your ways,” he begs (v. 13).
For all the supernatural works, manifestations, outpourings, and refreshings, Moses desired to hear God’s voice. We see the phrase ”THE LORD SAID TO MOSES” 200 times in the Old Testament. These conversations were full of teaching and instruction about safe living, peaceful existence, healthy, and social reform. This just states that the voice of God is precise, powerful, and with purpose.
“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (v. 15). Moses is wise enough to know that God must go with them. Yes, food, water, shelter, shade from the sun…all are needed but He realized that with God’s Presence, they would be taken care of, and then some. ”Now Show Me Your Glory” (v. 18). That was interesting…the Israelites were terrified of God’s appearances…but Moses wanted Him to keep showing up. So, God directs Moses to appoint skilled craftsmen to begin assembling the Tent of Meeting, or the Tabernacle. We see several significant pieces of furniture start to appear. It must have been an arduous task but, “…at last Moses finished the work” (Ex. 40:17-33).
The Tabernacle was a place of communication (point of reconnection with God), the Brazen Altar was a place of substitution (forgiveness),the Brazen Laver was a place of purification (living holy), the Table of Showbread was a place of provision (live by His Word), the Altar of Incense was a place of exaltation (prayer and worship), the Lampstand was a place of illumination (power of the Holy Spirit), and the most important piece…the Ark was a place of reconciliation (Jesus). What happened when these were all in place?
”THEN the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” We can clearly see the key to attaining and sustaining the Presence of God in our lives. If we get the pattern principles right, God will show up in major way. The Presence of God is not an event or a spectacle but needs to be evident daily in our lives. The Word tells us clearly that when we get God’s pattern right, we will experience His Presence so powerfully that we don’t just survive but thrive. I fear for the American church, especially this present young adult generation. There so many distractions that lull us to sleep and make us so comfortable. Churches develop codependent followers who forget how to depend on God. Are we truly ready for crisis? For God to clean His house? For persecution? Will our faith stand? He abides with us…do we abide with Him? Are we prepared to abandon the temporal and embrace the eternal? Are we ready for a move of the Holy Spirit moment by moment? Are we hungry enough? Are we desperate enough?
His manifest Presence demands a response: Will it be terror like the Israelites? Uncertain like the high priest? Could it be that God’s presence makes us uncomfortable like the Philistines? Abinadab was apathetic. Uzzah thought it was ordinary and mundane. Michal looked on as a spectator. David was filled with immense joy. Obed-edom welcomed the Presence of God into his home and life and it soon flowed into the lives of his family. Hannah cried out for God’s Presence while the crippled man in Acts was desperate for it. Are we excited and longing like Moses? Not wanting to leave? Moses prioritized this because he knew in God’s Presence, there is peace, joy, hope, strength, stability, healing, comfort, salvation, purpose, meaning, significance, love, grace, forgiveness, restoration, and refreshing.
Who best reflects our attitude about the Presence of God?