Exodus 40:34-38 God’s Presence

God’s presence was visible for ALL to see from the day His Tabernacle was erected.

God moves into His house. After all the construction and erection is finished it is time for God to inhabit His Tabernacle.

The first thing that popped into my head as I started writing is “Moving Day!” but God didn’t move. He still maintained His home in Heaven but He allowed His presence to inhabit the Tabernacle created for Him too.

Something else just struck me as I was rereading our passage. I have often bemoaned the attitudes of the children if Israel in the wilderness. I wonder how they could be so blind to the presence and omnipotence of God. They fell into rebellion so many times that God finally said “ENOUGH” and prevented the original group from entering into His promise.

When we looked at the golden calf episode I wondered if fear was what drove them to seek another god. I wondered if they thought God had abandoned them because Moses was their only connection to the true God. But with our passage today, there is NO WAY they can make that excuse stand. “For the cloud of the Lord was on the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of ALL the house of Israel THROUGHOUT ALL their journeys” (verse 38, emphasis added by me).

They had proof positive that God was in their midst EVERY DAY. This is proof beyond what they picked up and ate EVERY MORNING during their time in the wilderness. There is NO WAY they can claim God wasn’t paying attention to them or meeting their needs.

So why did they go astray so many times? Was it because these signs were so familiar to them that they no longer saw any wonder in them? The mana they ate and the presence of God were a daily occurrence for this whole group. Did they get “bored” of these signs or simply take them for granted? We know from later reading that they did tire of the mana and wanted something else. I can’t imagine tiring of God’s presence. But I can imagine taking it for granted, as I’ve done so myself at times.

God’s presence was so strong that Moses, the man who had stood in His presence on several occasions, couldn’t enter the Tabernacle. This changed though or there wouldn’t have been an opportunity for the priests to minister in the temple. Was God’s presence strong to keep any but the priests out or was it the newness of His presence that only lasted for a time? We know from our reading that only the priests went into the tent itself so maybe Moses was now allowed within this dwelling any more. I have trouble accepting that explanation as Moses continued to lead the people in the Lord’s will and he HAD to meet with Him to receive that direction. I’m thinking that this separation only lasted a short time or Moses met with God in his original tent of meeting outside the camp. But that would be problematic too as this would separate Moses from God in the people’s eyes. I’m going for option number one where this separation was temporary for Moses.

The children of Israel now had something that NO OTHER people had. They had their God living with them, or at least His presence among them. This separated them from all the other deities.

We have something even better than they did. We have the presence of God living within each of us who choose to follow Him. We are no longer relegated to looking on in wonder. We are in personal relationship with God. We have His Spirit filling us from top to bottom! No more standing outside the door hoping the high priest gets the prayers right. We can make our own petitions to the Lord and He HEARS us! He also directs our lives through His presence in our hears instead of being led by an outward sign.

Father God, thank You that I don’t have to stand outside the door and wonder. Thank You that I can come to You directly and bring my needs or concerns to You myself. Jesus is the only intermediary I need, or want. Thank You also for sending my Your Spirit to show me Your way and cement our relationship. Your Spirit living in me is proof positive to me that I’m not alone nor am I forgotten. You are with me always and know my every need. Help me NEVER lose sight of the importance of our relationship or take You for granted! Help me stop each day and reflect on the treasure I have in our relationship. No. Not everything is going to turn out perfect in my life but I am perfectly safe and loved through whatever comes. I TRUST YOU to be in control.

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