And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8
This verse expresses God’s great longing to dwell amongst the human race. This is in one way the greatest declaration of His love, in that it is not some great act that He has done, but His desire to be in a permanent relationship with us that is as close as marriage. God looked down on the camp of Israel and said to Moses, ‘Make Me a tent; I’m coming down to live with you.’ God’s desire to live with us could only be truly fulfilled through Christ – His incarnation is a statement of the heart of God towards each one of us. And this desire is perfectly fulfilled in the New Creation, when it says that God Himself shall dwell with His people on earth – Revelation 21:1-3. God is not a distant God; it is our sin that separates us from Him. God is a Father and He loves to be with us. The birth of Christ was the key step in the fulfilment of the Father’s longing, and constitutes an unimaginable sacrifice on the Father’s part, because He knew what would happen to His Son. It was allowing a Lamb to enter the wolf’s lair. For God so loved the world that He gave His Son, to be our nearest neighbour, our closest friend and advisor. God came down to earth to live in all the rough and tumble of a normal family, and to suffer all the misunderstandings of a religious system that had grown cold. Jesus Christ came down, embracing the inevitable suffering, because He loves each one of us and is determined to fulfil the dream of eternal life with us. On Calvary He died for us; in Bethlehem and Nazareth He became our closest relative, ready to live with us for ever.
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