03/16/M – The Lord’s Dwelling Place

Exodus 24:3-25:30; Matthew 24:37-51; Psalms 31:1-2; Proverbs 11:14

OT: “The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to take an offering for me. You are to take my offering from everyone who is willing to give… They are to make a sanctuary for me so that I may dwell among them. You must make it according to all that I show you — the pattern of the tabernacle as well as the pattern of all its furnishings. “They are to make an ark of acacia wood, forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Overlay it with pure gold; overlay it both inside and out. Also make a gold molding all around it… Make a mercy seat of pure gold, forty-five inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. Make two cherubim of gold; make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat… The cherubim are to have wings spread out above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and are to face one another. The faces of the cherubim should be toward the mercy seat… I will meet with you there above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the testimony; I will speak with you from there about all that I command you regarding the Israelites.”” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭25:1-2, 8-11, 17-18, 20, 22 ‭CSB‬‬)

Many people view Exodus as the book where God gave Israel the Ten Commandments and the Law. The perspective is probably fueled by the Cecil B. De Mille film that gets shown on TV every year around Passover time. While it is true that God did give the Ten Commandments and the Law in the book of Exodus, it seems that the primary focus of the book is worship. The reason God gave for liberating the Israelites was for them to worship Him. After God gave the Ten Commandments and particulars of the Law, He called Moses up to the mountain to give him very specific plans for a tabernacle – a place where God could be present in the midst of His people, and that would serve as a focal point for worship. The Law was given to give the Israelites guidelines to follow so that they could remain a holy people… but why did He want them to be holy? A big motivator was that He could live among them so that they would be known as His people, graced by His presence, protection, power, and provision. But God is not willing to be worshipped in any way that we like – no, He is holy, and He must be worshiped in the specific way that He describes, so very careful attention and very specific instructions were given to Moses on the mountain so that God’s people would be able to abide with Him, draw near to Him and receive His blessing through holy and sanctified worship.

NT: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delayed,’ and starts to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards, that servant’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:45-51‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

There will come a day when Jesus Christ, the son of God will return to complete what He started, dwell with His faithful worshipping disciples, and establish His kingdom here on earth. The key to that is faithful worshipping disciples. Just as a bridegroom expects to return to a bride that has remained faithful, the Lord is expecting to return for a church that has remained faithful to Him, His word, His ways, and His will. Those who grow tired of waiting and become unfaithful will not be greeted warmly. So as we live here between what has already been accomplished by Christ and what has not yet come to pass, we remain faithful by the grace we receive through His Holy Spirit… we abide in Him and allow His words to abide in us by His Holy Spirit… we become the Lord’s dwelling place spiritually – the temple of the Holy Spirit… and we remain faithful worshipping disciples, doing His work and always ready for His return.

Psalms: “Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced. Save me by your righteousness. Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:1-2‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

As this was true for David, how much more true is it now of the Lord’s faithful disciples who have been given the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, who can now abide in Christ and truly find refuge in Him. As we make  God our primary pursuit, walk fully in the leading and empowering of His Holy Spirit, and lean not on our own understanding – He will eternally, now and forever, save us and be a rock, a refuge, and a fortress for us in the midst of any and all kinds of trials and difficulties. Trials and difficulties will come. Having Him as our refuge is the big difference maker.

Proverbs: “Without guidance, a people will fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭11:14‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

Living according to your own understanding will lead to a fall. Surrendering to the Lord fully, becoming the dwelling place for the Lord, and allowing Him to guide you through His words and the words He gives through trusted people will bring deliverance.

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