This verse is found in the section of Exodus which records God’s instructions concerning the Tabernacle. It records God’s intention to “dwell among” His people. In fact, the connective “so that” suggests that it was to fulfil this intention that God orchestrated the events of the Exodus. In other words, God’s purpose for delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt was to let them have a “God dwelling among His people” relationship with them!
What did this kind of relationship look like? It meant that God would be with them as their God (Exodus 29:45) and He would acknowledge them as His people (Exodus 6:7). He would live among them as the Almighty God, to be reverenced, worshipped and obeyed by them, and as the loving God Who would watch over them, protect them and provide for them. He would meet with them, speak to them, lead and guide them (Exodus 29:42-43). It would be a relationship of reverence, love, and intimacy with God.
God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt to let them have such a relationship with Himself! To remind them that this was His intention, God instructed them to build the Tabernacle. It was a physical structure to tell them that He’s holy and awesome, and yet at the same time, He’s not distant, but right there in their midst, with them and among them, and He wanted to relate intimately with them.
The good news is that God’s intention of dwelling among His people and relating intimately with them continues today. We see this through the coming of Jesus, Who is “Immanuel” or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is God dwelling among us (John 1:14). And even now, the ascended Christ is still dwelling among us in the Person of the Holy Spirit, Who is with us and in us (John 14:16-17).
What does this mean? It means that as God’s people, we have the privilege of enjoying an intimate relationship with God. For just as God met with Moses and with the sons of Israel in the Tabernacle (Exodus 29:42-43), He’ll do the same for us. This is His purpose for saving us, so that we might have an intimate loving relationship with Him. It means we can draw near confidently into His presence to seek His grace, strength and help in times of need, to inquire of Him when we need wisdom and guidance, to intercede for others, and just to enjoy His fellowship (Hebrews 4:16, 10:19-22).
Do you have such a relationship with God? God saved us for this! Can you draw near to Him confidently, and experience His nearness, and hear Him speak to you? He intends it for you! And if you can, do you draw near regularly? It will be such a wasted privilege if we don’t. Go to God daily in worship, prayer, and devotion, enjoy His presence and let Him speak to you. And throughout the day, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, know that God “dwells” with you and pause ever so often to connect with Him.
Monday: Exodus 29:42-43a
42 It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.
43 I will meet there with the sons of Israel…
Tuesday: Jeremiah 31:34
They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Wednesday: John 17:3
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Thursday: John 10:14, 27
14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
Friday: John 15:15
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Saturday: 1 Corinthians 6:19
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
Sunday: Hebrews 4:16, 10:22
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
All scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).
By Pastor Yong Tai Tong