The Bare Soul
- June 28, 2009
Exodus 25:8 - Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
God loves us. Most of us have heard that over and over until it loses it true meaning. The reality is that God REALLY loves us. Something that many of us can probably relate to more than God loving us is that God really LIKES us and desires to be with with His people. It has always been the desire of the Father to dwell amongst His people, as we read in Exodus 25:8. It is not something that God planned grudgingly or with reservation, but throughout time it has been his utmost desire to "hang out" (if you will indulge me with contemporary vernacular) with His beloved. God's desire and love and longing for us is infinite, although He patiently knows that we are but time-bound creatures made from dust that can't comprehend how much He yearns for our company. Yet, this God whose very nature is love desires a people that will love and like Him in return. He desires a holy people that will not run from Him but run toward Him at His beckon. Undoubtedly, the Lord God Almighty could have designed His people to love Him in a forced or compulsory manner. Much in the same way, the Father could have created the sanctuary for His presence outlined in the book of Exodus. However, God desired for His people to love Him and to want to dwell with Him so that they might be compelled from their own passion for the Most High to build Him a place on this earth for His abode. The Lord Jehovah could have supernaturally made the sanctuary of the Lord appear in the wilderness but that was not His desire. He wanted the children of Israel to painstakingly pay attention to every detail and to labor with love on this most holy construction. This showed God that they truly desired Him as much as imperfect man could desire to please a perfect God.
Fast forward approximately 1300 years to the time of Christ. For years, the Jewish nation had immersed themselves in a temporal mindset that God would continue to dwell in their midst if they would but maintain the temple and its practices. This presumption led many to miss the signs of Jesus Christ's first appearing and His spiritual destruction of the temple made with hands. It would be another 40 years after Christ's death when the temple in Jerusalem would be razed to the ground by the Romans. However, Jesus totally nullified the temple and it's sanctuary by sacrificing His own life on the cross. This allowed the true sanctuary of God -- that one not made by human hands, to become an eternal dwelling place in the hearts of men and women where God could reside. In II Corinthians 6:16, Paul states that this all loving, all powerful, all knowing and caring God desires not only to dwell in once sinful man, but to also walk with him in his daily life. Imagine the God of the universe wanting and "liking" to spend time with us in our seemingly mundane lives. Most of us would probably attest that our lives are often filled with ordinary routine that would many days not even warrant a journal entry in our respective diaries. Yet God is fascinated with our lives to the point that He desires to walk and talk with us every moment of the day. It is certainly true that we could never give back to God anything of substance since He is the owner of all (Psalm 50:10; Psalm 89:11). The only thing that we can give Him is ourselves, or more poignantly, our time. The Lord gives every single human a pre-determined allotment of time upon this earth. It is our responsibility to use it wisely. True wisdom would dictate that the more time we lavish on the Lord, the more time is richly invested.
For those of us who know the Lord and understand that He is indeed dwelling within us, there are still things we must do in order to maintain the sanctuary of the Lord. Although God desires to spend time with us, He can often be relegated to an isolated place in the sanctuary within. While we are no longer in the construction business (for Jesus constructed a perfect tabernacle within us all for Him to dwell) it is still our responsibility to maintain it. God will never love or like us less than He does right now, yet He will be silenced oftentimes from expressing His love and joy within because of a sanctuary that is unsanctified. Paul stated to the Corinthians in his first letter (6:19), asking them: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? In the previous verses he was admonishing this fledgling church that they must flee the sins of the flesh because these are what keep them from fellowship with God and with one another. The apostle knew that in order for God to live uninhibited in their lives that they must first of all renounce the lusts of this world that would seek to pollute the sanctuary within. If the devil cannot have your soul, there is nothing more that he would desire to have is your time -- time wasted on the unfruitful deeds of darkness that would pollute the dwelling place of the Most High God. However, ... if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). Beloved, there is nothing that will enable us to maintain the health and holiness of our respective sanctuaries like the blood of Jesus. It will wash away all darkness and filth and will once again allow His light and fellowship to abound. Once our sanctuary is filled with light, we will once again "feel" and comprehend the love and friendship of our God as He rejoices over us with shouts of triumph (Zephaniah 3:17).
Beloved, we must no longer worry about creating anything of "good" for our God. We can never build Him a sanctuary that would please Him in exchange for the sanctuary that He has made possible within all of humankind to dwell. Tragically, for many, God will never occupy these places of His habitation because so many will never invite Him in. These are mysterious "God-shaped", glorious dwelling places in the heart of every man, woman, and child that have existed since Jesus Christ gave this wondrous gift to humankind nearly 2,000 years ago. For those who do know our Lord and have accepted Him to dwell within His sanctuary, it is merely a matter of living free from the entanglements of this world to enjoy His heavenly presence. God desires us -- God longs for us -- God loves us -- and He LIKES us. He desires to live and and move and have His being within ours. All we must do is accept Him, welcome Him, and appreciate Him by living according to His will. Then, we will know what it means to be living in the love of His eternal sanctuary, forever in His care!
Abba (Papa) Father, we thank you for your life within us. Illumine the eyes of our understanding that we might better understand your love for us. Show us your desire to walk and talk with us in the sanctuary created not with human hands, but in that one created by Your Son within all our hearts. May we better understand through our daily communion with You the joy and affection You have for all. In Jesus' name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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