Reading: Exodus 40:17, 34-38
In Exodus 25:8 God commands Israel to make the tabernacle and promises “that I may dwell among them.” In Exodus 29:46 God adds “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt.”
God dwelling among His people is a wonderful thing. It means Israel is God’s chosen nation. It means He is close to them; that He watches over them carefully for their preservation. It illustrates God’s great mercy: holy God stoops down and lives with sinful people!
When Moses writes in vs 34 “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” he does so for a good reason. Now the people are sure that the tabernacle has not been built, set up and dedicated in vain; the promise of Exodus 25 is fulfilled. The tabernacle is definitely the dwelling-place of God, the Leader and Keeper of His people. The Israelites have many reasons to glorify and glorify the LORD, the “I AM” who keeps His promises.
What about the future? In Genesis 17:7 God promises “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” This means that God will dwell with his people forever. When we look forward to when Israel enters and settles in the Promised Land we are encouraged. The tabernacle was a temporary and movable structure, suitable for Israel as it moved from place to place for forty years in the desert. Later it was replaced by the great and glorious temple built by King Solomon. When Solomon completed the work then also “the cloud filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:10). God continues to dwell with His people.
Key text: Exodus 40:34 “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
Question: The above says: holy God stoops down and lives with sinful people! What does this tell you about God’s feelings towards His people?