Tent Living

Published on Apr 6th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Tent Living

Tent Living

Maybe it is a college president who comes to the basketball game in his Levis and sits in the bleachers with all of the students.  It may be the parent who not only sets up the fort in the living room but also decides to sleep on the floor that night.  It is also the boss who comes and eats in the same cafeteria as his employees.  When someone who has better comes and participates in something we consider lesser just so they can be close to people, it speaks to our hearts.  When they do that once we are moved by their niceness.  When they do that on a regular basis we are moved by their genuine love.  Jesus, God himself, came and lived among us.  But this was not the first time that God made the decision to dwell with this people.

In Exodus 25:8 God says this, “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” That sanctuary was going to be the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle would be placed right in the middle of the Israelite’s encampment.  The Tabernacle was literally a very fancy tent.  While the children of Israel wandered around the wilderness…God chose to dwell with them.  In a tent.  I like tent camping.  There is just something about that little piece of nylon between you and the bears that makes you feel safe.  I have also camped in a canvass tent.  They always have this peculiar smell.  One time I was privileged to take a tour through a $250,000.00 Air Force chapel tent.  It had two compartments so that two services could be held at one time.  It would protect you from chemical warfare and it was air conditioned.  When I took the tour it was very windy and the continual flapping was a constant reminder that you were still in a tent.  My wife, on the other hand, does not care if the tent is vinyl, canvass, or costs more than our house, she prefers not to spend a night in a tent unless it is set up over a four-poster bed in a hotel. God, on the other hand, had such a desire to dwell with his people that he met with his people in a tent.

I am not sure why that moves my heart so much.  Maybe my heart is moved because it is so amazing to me that the God of heaven would chose to communicate so effectively that he desired to be with his people during a time that they were being punished for their disobedience, that he would live in a tent with them.  Or maybe it is because his desire to dwell with his people has lasted for so many thousands of years.  My guess is that it is both.  I just have this amazing picture of this good father who has delivered his children from a horrible evil,  then has watched them almost immediately disobey.  Then he has to punish them for their disobedience.  Then, when they look up, he is living right with them in a tent just like they are now living (maybe a little fancier but still a tent).  That is a good father.  I have to punish you but that does not mean that I am abandoning you.  Even in your disobedience, I long to be with you.  So cool.

Let me leave with you another example of God’s desire to be with his children.  Exodus 26:22, “and for the rear of the tabernacle westward…”  It is almost a throw away phrase.  The rear of the tabernacle is to face west.  Making the entrance face east.  Why?  Genesis 3:24, “He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”  The garden of Eden was where God met with and fellowshipped with man. The east gate to the garden is blocked.  There is no entrance there.  But the east gate to the entrance of the tabernacle is open and there is once again fellowship with God.  One must make sacrifice for their sins in the Holy Place but then God meets with his people.

For us, today, Jesus has made the path to fellowship with God so much clearer and easier.  Because of Jesus, I now walk with God and live in his presence.  When I worship, I enter into the heavens to worship and fellowship with him there.  No more tent camping.  But the fact that he was willing to come and dwell in a temporary tent, just to be with us…so awesome.

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