God’s Desire to Dwell With Us

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One concept that runs through scripture from Genesis to Revelation is God dwelling or being present with his people. We see God being present with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:8-9). We see it in Moses’ days when the presence of God was represented in the tabernacle, specifically the ark. Once the temple was built it represented the presence of God among the community (1 Kings 8:13), even though they realized it could not contain Him (1 Kings 8:27).

In the New Testament we find God dwelling with his people through Jesus. In Greek the word for tabernacle has a verb form that means “to dwell”. That is what we see in John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” When Jesus came in the flesh he was God’s presence among us. What is more, he made the temple obsolete because he fulfilled the very purpose of the temple (John 2:19). Last in Revelation 21:3, “3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

So from the first people to the last dwelling with us or having us be in God’s presence is close to God’s heart and part of his original intention for mankind. In the meantime we have God’s Spirit dwelling inside of us (Eph 2:22).

That is one of the things that makes sin so bad. It isn’t a woops or just a mistake. It is the fact that our rebellion has a separating effect from the presence of God (Isa 59:1-2) and prevents God’s original intention for us to happen. What is more, unlike the Old Testament, where only certain priests could perform acts of ritual purity to enter God’s presence, in the New Testament we are all God’s priests who can enter into the presence of God with confidence (Heb 4:16 & 1 Peter 2:9). So let us enjoy the fact that God wants us to be in His presence and that at the end of the day that is exactly where He will make sure we end up if we put our faith in Him.

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