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"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). 
"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. ... Moses said, 'Please show me your glory'" (Exodus 33:7, 18).

God has dwelt with man ever since creation. He first did so in the Garden, but he didn't stop after Adam and Eve were removed from there due to their sin. It was they who broke fellowship with God; it was they who broke the covenant relationship. God has always been the initiator in seeking fellowship with his creation. What a good, loving, kind, and gracious God!

It is interesting to note that when God takes on human form at the birth of Jesus, John tells us that he "dwelt among us." This literally translates to, "God made a tent with us." John's audience immediately understood his meaning. God had dwelt with the Jews since the exodus out of Egypt. When the Israelites marched out of slavery toward the promised land, God led them to the desert. In the desert, God spent twelve chapters (20-32) giving them his terms of the covenant. In other words, God gave them his law; this is called the Mosaic Law. This law was to instruct the Israelites in how they were to worship, obey, and love the Lord their Savior; basically, how they were to live in right relationship to him. But as soon as God finished giving them the law, the Israelites sinned. Actually, they sinned while he was still giving them commands on how to worship him. They built a golden calf, an idol. And God was not happy that they already, again, had destroyed their fellowship.

God's response? Moses goes to intercede for the people, but God's righteous response is still to send a plague on the people. This points to the necessity of an intercessor greater than Moses. (This greater intercessor would come in the form of God himself later on.) Then, Moses goes into the tent where God's Spirit dwelt to ask God to forgive the people and to not remove his presence from the people even though they sinned. God relented and his presence went with the people, although most of that generation would perish before entering into the promised land. But even though man was not faithful, God was - and he still is!

Notice that when Moses goes to meet with the Lord in the tent of meeting, the tent is outside the camp, but when Jesus comes, he dwells among his people! What an incredible picture of grace! Knowing that man cannot keep covenant with God, he graciously says, "I will do it for them, and then I will dwell with them always, and they shall never depart from me again." Oh, what matchless grace, what incredible love, what unfathomable pardon! And oh, what fellowship, oh, what joy divine!

Notice also that it is only when one goes into the tent that one can meet with or commune with God. So it was that when the temple was finally constructed in Jerusalem, it was only those who went into the tabernacle that could commune with God. When the Son of God took on flesh, Jesus didn't abolish the temple or the sacrifices; instead, he fulfilled them! It is only in Christ that one can commune with God. It is only when one is in Christ that he can be united with Christ. As it has been since creation, it is only those who are in the Garden, in the tent, in the temple - IN CHRIST that are in communion with God. It is all those who are outside the camp, all those who are outside the temple courts, all those who are outside of Christ (meaning they are still in Adam and under his sin) - those are the ones who are cut-off from communion with God. It is those people who are utterly destroyed.

Lastly, Moses saw a glimpse of God's glory at the end of Exodus 33. But those who have seen Jesus Christ and know him by his Spirit have seen his full glory! They have received his full pardon, the fulfillment of his promises of grace and redemption! It is from Christ that the world has seen the full grace of God (in his life, death, and resurrection) and it is only in Christ that we have fellowship with him - eternal fellowship that will one day be unhindered in heaven! Hallelujah!

Do you know where all of this is going? We began in the Garden, communing with God. Although man has broken that fellowship, God has continually and persistently been working for the redemption of that communion. He has dwelt with man in the Garden, the Tent, the Temple, and he will dwell again with us in the garden of heaven through Christ! Go ahead and read Revelation 22 - the picture there is one of a garden with a river of life running through it to nourish it.

Sinner, God came to dwell with you. He came that we all might have life. But this union is only realized when we submit to God's lordship and live under his rule; it is only possible by believing in, trusting in, placing our faith in Christ. It is he who has come to dwell with us; we must receive him if we are to dwell with him.

Oh Lord, your Word is clear: only the Father can draw us to the Son and cause us to be born again. Lord, in your mercy, draw sinners to yourself. Amen.