God’s Dwelling Place

There’s just something about coming home. Whether after a tiresome day of work, or a less than relaxing family vacation, the feeling you get when you walk into your home is almost indescribable. This has been especially true in my life. On multiple occasions, I can remember thinking to myself, “I’m home.” The sense of joy that flooded my soul poured out into excitement that could not be contained. On one such occasion when I was in college, I had the opportunity to travel during a summer with a music group. It was a fantastic experience in which the Lord blessed in great ways. We travelled to ten states, as well as British Columbia, Canada, over the span of twelve weeks. As much as I liked travelling, the feeling of being home (which was a humble college dorm room) was one of the greatest joys.

There’s something special about where you dwell. Dwelling is not a simple overnight trip. While I was travelling, we stayed in church buildings, home, hotel rooms, and even a couple RV’s. I may have stayed there, but that’s not where I dwelled. There’s something special about where you dwell.

When we look in the Bible we find that although God is everywhere (omnipresent), He dwelled in four specific places. These places were not just any place. They were special. In fact, they were sacred.

The Garden of Eden

After God created the world and all that is within, He had communion with the first man and woman. They talked together. However, when Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says that they hid themselves “from the presence of the LORD.” God was with them in the Garden. When we look a little bit further, we find that the Garden of Eden was not just any garden that God dwelt in. This was a sacred place. It was this Garden that God formed man with action beyond the spoken word that He used to create the rest of the universe. It was here where He formed Eve out of the rib of Adam. It was here that God gave Adam specific instructions to name the animals and keep the garden and tend to it. And until Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command to not eat the fruit of tree of knowledge, it was perfect- literally perfect. This was the first of God’s specific dwelling places, and it was sacred.
The Tabernacle

After the children of Israel made their exodus out of Egypt they started on their journey to the Promised Land. However, one of their first stops was Mt. Sinai. It was here that God would meet with Moses to give the Law, as well as instructions to build a special tent called the Tabernacle. We find in Exodus 25:8 the reason why God wanted a Tabernacle to be built. “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Italics mine) God was everywhere; however, He wanted to dwell among His people in a special way. God dwelt in the Tabernacle.

Along with the instructions of how to build, God gave very specific instructions on what to do and how to act within the confines of the sacred walls of the Tabernacle. The priests had detailed descriptions of what to do before they entered and what to do while inside. God had a reason for the multitude of do’s and don’t’s; His dwelling place was sacred.

The Temple

God dwelt in the Tabernacle for many years. According to Jewish tradition, the Tabernacle was used for almost 370 years before being destroyed by the Philistines during Samuel’s era as Judge of Israel. Though we can’t know for certain, we do know this: King David felt the need to have a dwelling place for God. David wanted to build God a permanent house in which to dwell among His chosen people. In I Kings 6:11-13 we find the account of God reminding Solomon that if he would follow His commands, then He would fulfill the promise He made to David that He would dwell among His children once again, this time in a permanent temple. Solomon then finishes the temple and dedicates it to the Lord and has a service that so glorified God, that He moved in and filled the temple.

This temple was not without its restrictions, though. The rules of the Tabernacle were not nullified at either its destruction or the construction of the Temple. The priests still had rigorous schedules to keep. But why go through all the trouble? Why bother with the high demands of Temple work? Because God’s house was sacred.

The Believer

We find the fourth dwelling place of God in 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

God, via the Person of the Holy Spirit, indwells in every believer. While we do have a responsibility to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit and thus can be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), He does always indwell us. [“Filled” does not address a certain amount of the Holy Spirit, but rather how much control He has over our lives.] God dwells in every believer. In similar to fashion to the other specific dwelling places of Almighty God, a sacredness exists in this place as well. God expects His children to be different. We aren’t like other people. We have God within us.

While Christians know that God dwells within them, they act as though they have evicted Him from His own dwelling place.

So let me ask you: do you act like God dwells within, or do you portray that you have evicted Him? Does the fact that God dwells with us change our everyday life into something sacred? Does what you say to your unsaved coworkers reveal who lives within? Does the way that you run your youth group or Sunday School show that you’ve got Someone inside? Are your friendships guided by God’s omnipresence? While you are texting your boyfriend or girlfriend, do you remember that God is there?

We can boil these, and numerous other questions down to this one: Does God’s presence in your life reveal that you are sacred? It’s easy to say that God dwells in you. But living in such a way that honors His continual presence is a tougher subject. Don’t live like you’ve evicted God from His sacred dwelling place.

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