Remember how God’s Upper Story (US) started in a garden? He was dwelling with his creation and the creation had one guideline – don’t eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. After Adam and Eve opted to disregard the guideline and take their own path, God removed them from the garden – they no longer lived in the presence of God. The presence of God does not reside where there is disobedience and mistreatment of one another. The years and generations that followed them proved that humanity cannot be trusted. Now God wants to communicate to his people. He has something to tell them. Their Lower Story (LS) has been horrible – mostly their own doing, but God continues to write an US of redemption for His people.
They are about to enter their new garden, the Promised Land that God told Abraham would be theirs. God speaks directly to Moses – not in a dream or a convoluted vision, but he speaks “face to face” with him. There is to be no misunderstanding now. He explains to Moses that He again wants to dwell among the people. But if He is, then some things have to change.
- If I come down, I have guidelines for how you treat Me and each other. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-7, page 61)
- If I come down, I am going to need a place to stay. The Tabernacle (Exodus 25, page 63)
- If I come down, your sin has to be dealt with (atoned for). The sacrificial system becomes official (Leviticus, page 70)
The US dips down into the LS at this point. God is letting them on his US plan to redeem all of humanity and reestablish his relationship with them. That’s all fine for them, but how does that affect you and me today?
We live in the post-Jesus era and it’s important that we understand that Jesus coming to earth was God’s ultimate declaration of his desire to dwell among us. But if he is going to come down, then things had to be different, right? Right.
Our sin has been atoned for by Jesus and he is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 10:1-18). With the blood of Jesus on the doorframe of your life, you are forgiven and given direct access into the Most Holy Place.
We are now the place where God dwells. We are the new tabernacle. The church is not a building, the church is us and we are the place where God resides. See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Our Guidelines are to love God with everything we are and love our neighbor as ourselves. The Great Commandment is the guideline Jesus gives to and models for us. The guideline of sacrificial love: Matthew 22:38-40 and John 13:35.
Check out these words from the apostle Paul many, many years later…
But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
God’s question to us is the same as it was for the Israelites? God wants to dwell with us, are you in for it? Has the sacrifice of Jesus been applied to the doorframe of your life? Do you realize the presence of Jesus is in you where you live, where you work and where you play? Are you committed to loving God with everything you are and loving your neighbor as yourself? We simply are not that different from the Israelites 3400 years ago.
If you missed Sunday and want a recording of the message, click here.