Tuesday, September 17, 2013

God's Dwelling Place

And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14)
The biblical Feast of Tabernacles begins this week and it always causes me to think about what it means that God “tabernacles” or makes a dwelling place with His people.  For the people of Israel it meant that God showed up and His literal presence (His Glory) dwelt in the holy of holies in the Tabernacle.  God gave this feast as a reminder that He is not a God who is far off and out of reach, but always near at hand when His people need Him.  As Christians we believe that God Himself put on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and did dwell among men.  (2 Corinthians 6:16b - As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.")
He dwelt among us for the purpose of teaching us how to live.  How to be Holy.  How to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”   Then He did a strange thing.  He left.  He put His Kingdom into the hands of His disciples and said:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
He is leaving, but He says He will be with us to the end of the age.  How?  If He is leaving, how will He be with us?
Acts 1:8   But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
So He puts His Spirit in us.  (I suppose you could say His Spirit “tabernacles” in us).  Why?
Why do we need to have His Spirit in us?
1 Corinthians 12: 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. . . 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
He puts His Spirit in us to make us His body here on earth!  To be His presence on earth!  Again. . .why????
Have you ever had a non-believer ask, “If there is a God then why does the world have so much evil? would a loving God let children starve; wars rage; people suffer?”
Matthew 25:42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
We, His Body, His tabernacle on earth; are not feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, binding up the broken hearted, healing wounds.  It is written clearly for us in the Bible; it is demonstrated perfectly for us in Jesus Christ.  I think it’s time that we became the dwelling place of God in a dark and hurting world.  Faith is active.
Happy Feast of Tabernacles!