God Among His People

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), February 10 

“So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God” (Ex. 29:44-46).

UnknownEver since man’s eviction from the garden of Eden, God has desired to dwell among His people. He does not dwell with them, however, because He is holy, humanity is sinful, and the earth is cursed. In mercy God devised a way that reveres His holiness, covers man’s sins, and consecrates a place where He and sinners may meet.

The place – The Tent of Meeting is a place on earth designed to communicate both separation between holy God and sinful men and the restoration of that broken relationship.

The priests – God chooses and dedicates Aaron and his sons as servants in the tabernacle and as adjudicators between Him and His people. These priests wore an ornate ephod with 12 stones engraved with the name of the tribes of Israel as a physical reminder of their calling and duty. The consecration ceremony reminded them that they too were sinners in need of cleansing and substitution. The morning and evening sacrifices were constant reminders of the sinfulness of man, the holiness of God, and way of atonement. The priests were never to take their role lightly; they wore their priestly garments and headdresses that declared, “Holiness to the LORD” (28:36).

The price – God requires a sacrifice from anyone who wishes to approach Him. These sacrifices, both individual and corporate, declare that sinful humanity can only draw near to Holy God through the blood of an innocent substitute. Whenever they offer their sacrifices, they lay their hands on the head of the animal to identify with the animal, transferring their sin to that animal and acknowledging the reality of sin’s penalty―death.

Sadly, Israel rebelled against God as her priests corrupted themselves and her people worshiped idols. God removed Israel from her land—for a time. Then a High Priest came who offered Himself as the substitute for man’s sin. God accepted HIs offering, and God again dwells among His people, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

God longs to dwell among His people. May He find a welcomed dwelling place in the hearts and lives of His people today! God among His people!

Questions from today’s reading (Exodus 29:1-31:18):

What role would Israel play in the construction of the Tent of Meeting?

What would celebrating the Sabbath require of Israel as a community?

How does the LORD communicate with the congregation of Israel?