And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. Exactly as I show you… (Exodus 25:8-9).
It’s that time of the year. Finals are wrapped (or very nearly there). Time to pack up the essentials and go live somewhere else for the next couple of weeks. It’s a brief season of mobility, isn’t it? And maybe for some of us, home isn’t really “home” anymore.
Think about all that stuff that makes your space “your space.” What makes your room “home”? Posters on the wall? Desk, chair, computer? Bedding? Bookshelf? There’s a sense of identity and security in that space, right? You uniquely belong in that space.
My sister and brother-in-law just arrived in town from a year and a half as missionaries in Jordan. And on the ride home I asked them, “What do you think about the words ‘welcome home?’”
“I’m just really confused,” a jet-lagged Andrew replied. “Norman feels most like home, but our stuff isn’t there anymore.”
And I wonder if God somehow feels something of this orientation in these chapters of Exodus. One of the greatest things lost in the Fall was the presence of God among his creation, his presence WITH us. And for the first time since Eden, God will live among his people again. God wants to come home.
When I was a kid, and my mom told me to clean my room, we typically have very different definitions of the word “clean.” Anybody else? Notice here how particular and detailed God is with the Israelites. They don’t get to offer any kind of space they want. It’s not on their terms. Nothing about this relationship ever has been. Nothing short of God’s specifications will do. What do you think that means for us today?
Keep in mind as we continue the story of God, the tabernacle becomes the temple, and the temple eventually becomes the Church. As God lived in the tabernacle, now he lives in the united body of Jesus-followers. And just as particular as God was about the dimensions and colors and materials of the tabernacle, so is he particular about his current house–you and me together.
What is something practical you can do today to “clean house” and keep God’s living space up to his standards?