Considering Jesus Challenge
God With Us
Day 24, January 24, 2013, Thursday
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.’” Revelation 21:3
God has always wanted to dwell with mankind; He truly wants a relationship with us. Throughout the Old Testament, writers describe God as continually wooing Israel into a deeper relationship with himself so that he could dwell among them. Leviticus 26:11 reveals this longing in God’s heart when it says, “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
“…and He will dwell among them.”
God wants to live with us, walk with us, abide with us, dwell with us, and “tabernacle” among us according to Revelation 21:3. All of that was made possible through Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Huh? How could God “tabernacle” with us? Tabernacle is a noun not a verb.
I always thought the word tabernacle was a noun, but maybe I‘m wrong. In the Old Testament, a tabernacle was a temporary house specially constructed for God’s presence. As the nation moved from place to place during their years of nomadic wandering in the desert, God also moved with them in the tabernacle carried by the priests. The tabernacle was a “thing;” and we all know from playing Twenty Questions that a person, place, or thing is a noun.
Well, most of the time anyway. Nouns morphing into verbs usually indicate that the noun has taken on a life of its own and will exert more influence within the sentence. The unexpected “verbed” noun has much more power as a verb than it ever did as a garden-variety noun.
Here are some recent expressions I heard when nouns were used as verbs:
Would you xerox a copy for me?
Hey, skype me later so we can talk.
My friend soldiered on through her final exams.
I googled my professor and found out he was from Harvard.
Calendar some time with me so we can discuss the new proposal.
For sure tabernacle is most often used as a noun in the Old Testament, but it meant more than God just living near Israel. It was active, relational abiding that God wanted with his people, not just to hang out in a tent while they dragged him through the desert. He wanted intimacy.
God’s longing shows up in the New Testament when a derivative of tabernacle is translated, “dwell.” As it’s used here, tabernacle is not a noun; it’s a verb. “Skēnoō” literally means “to fix one’s tabernacle, or to abide in a tabernacle.” Just read through John, chapter 15, and you’ll see how important abiding, or tabernacling, is. God has wanted to dwell with us ever since Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden, so he sent Jesus to restore his relationship with humanity.
At the moment, I’m sitting in the airport waiting to fly back to Colorado. When I get there, I’ll return to the hotel where we’ve been staying, which really isn’t my idea of “home,” but now I wonder if it’s more of a “tabernacle” instead. I’ve been moving from place to place since August of last year, and all the while I’ve sensed Jesus wooing me into a deeper relationship with him – a more intimate and authentic one.
Jesus has wanted to “tabernacle” among us during our journey in Colorado, but it’s been a significant challenge for me because there is so much upheaval associated with being a nomad. But that’s what Jesus is after – he wants to draw near to me regardless of the circumstances I’m in. “Tabernacling” or dwelling with me implies that Jesus desires intimacy, community, consistency, and familiarity with me. It also implies that Jesus wants to establish my identity as someone who belongs to him.
Who wouldn’t want that?
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them.”
Wow! God himself will be with me and wants everyone to know I am his.
I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I do know that Jesus wants to be right in the middle of it with you. He doesn’t want you to be alone, feel alone, or face it alone. Consequently, if you belong to him, he has given you his Holy Spirit so that you can’t be alone.
What a promise!
Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow, January 25, 2013:
Okay, so I didn’t get all the way through the entire passage today. There was way too much to see. Jesus has so much to reveal about himself and I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. So, tomorrow we’ll pick up where we left off. If I still don’t finish tomorrow, I’ll take another day – this section of scripture is loaded with insights about Jesus!
“‘And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’“ Revelation 21:4
“And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write for these words are faithful and true.’” Revelation 21:5
“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the springs of water of life without cost.’” Revelation 21:6
“‘He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’” Revelation 21:7
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.