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“That I May Dwell Among Them…”

Posted by Emma on February 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Filed under:Bible,Christianity,Studying the Word

Today I was reading in Exodus 25 and it set me to thinking, particularly verses 8-9. “They shall make a sanctuary for Me–so that I may dwell among them–like everything that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its vessels; and so shall you do.”

God wanted Israel to build Him a sanctuary for the soul purpose that he might dwell among them. This could not just be any sanctuary, it had to be perfect. God is perfect and holy, he can only dwell where it is perfect and holy. His sanctuary had to be made exactly as He said, exactly like the pattern of the heavenly one that He showed Moses on Mount Sinai.

Often times we easily dismiss these chapters as well and good but not applying to us. Be honest the last fifteen chapters or so of Exodus are boring, excepting the golden calf incident, right? However, the more I read the rest of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, it becomes impossible to just dismiss these chapters.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Wow. You are God’s temple and you’d better keep it holy, if you do not want to be destroyed.

That natural question is how do we keep the temple of God holy? We live according to the pattern shown us on the mountain. Which mountain? Well, two actually. The first is Mount Sinai, where God gave us his instructions, showing us the pattern we should live by. They can be summed up in the ten words (as the original Hebrew says) or ten commandments as the English scriptures translate it, which in turn can be summed up in two commands, love God and love your neighbor. (See Matthew 22:37-40) The second mountain is Calvary. On that mountain our Savior died willingly for our sins. On that mountain He proved that He was Lord of all. On that mountain He started the process that would make us the temple of God. We must live according to the pattern that He set for us.

As I read on through the New Testament, I come to 1 Cor 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

The Spirit of God rested on the Tabernacle and the first Temple, in Hebrew it is called the Shechinah, Today, God’s Shechinah does not rest on a building, one place in the world, instead it rest on every believe who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price and now the Shechinah, the dwelling presences of God’s glory, the Holy Spirit, dwells in you. That is why we must glorify God in our bodies. If you are not comfortable being owned by another, you have no business calling yourself a Christian. You cannot be a Christian without being the temple of the Holy Spirit and owned by God. When you accept Christ, you give control to Him and you are not your own.

The next passage that stood out to me was 2 Cor 6:16-18. “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’”

Again we see that we are the temple of the living God and He will dwell among us. Sounds familiar? It is very similar to Exodus 25:8.

These passages make it clear that the current dwelling of God’s Shechinah is not in a temple made with hands but in the midst of His people and as such we are to be holy, we must be separate from the world and stay way from unclean things. (This unclean is not unclean as in covered with mud. Essentially, it means unholy, a full definition would require another article.) In the American church we often miss the reason for why we must be holy and not destroy our bodies, God’s temple. As we look back to the Old Testament and study how God’s Shechinah dwelt in the Tabernacle it becomes clear. When God’s Shechinah dwelt in the Tabernacle not even Moses was able to enter because of the glory. (See Exodus 40:35) What makes us think that we can be flippant about God dwelling in us?

Scripture is clear we are the temple of God, but do you really understand what that means? Can we really understand without studying the chapters in Exodus about the Tabernacle? I do not think we can. I think we must study Exodus, and the rest of Scripture to know how to live so God can dwell in us. The books of Exodus and Leviticus make it really clear that God will not dwell just anywhere. We should be honored that He will make us His temple but we also should be scared stiff because the living God, who is so holy that not one tiny speck of unholiness can abide in his presences and whose Shechinah glory was so much that not even Moses could enter the same dwelling with it, dwells in us and has bought us with a price. We are not our own. We are the holy temple of the living God. God dwells in us and in our midst. Live like it or be destroyed.

4 Responses to ““That I May Dwell Among Them…””

  1. Shelbe Jordan Says:

    Thank you for sharing that Emma. That is almost eactly what our pastor was preaching this morning.

  2. admin Says:

    That’s cool. I love it when God works it out for me to hear the same message from different people. It helps affirm the truth of the words, at least it does in my mind.

  3. Shelbe Jordan Says:

    I agree, yes it does. It just goes to show me how much I need to apply that lesson to my life, again.

  4. Katharine Says:

    Wow, that’s really thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing!