While on mission in Sierra Leone I found it necessary to spend more time in prayer and Bible study. A brief devotional time in the morning was not nearly enough for the spiritual challenges that I faced.
God’s people need His continued presence to help them complete their mission. God graciously met His people in the tabernacle so that He could instruct them as they journeyed to the Promised Land.
God’s promise to meet His people showed that He wanted to know them in a direct and wonderful way. At the same time, the furnishings and the atmosphere of the tabernacle demonstrated that He was a holy God whom the people could not approach in a flippant, irreverent manner. They could not make any likeness of God. That would mean they would be worshiping something created with their own hands. If the people kept the Sabbaths and reverenced His sanctuary, they could count on God’s blessing. They would have good harvests and peace in the land. The tabernacle foreshadows the work of Christ. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament explains how the high priest, the furniture, the ritual, and the worship in the tabernacle point to the completion of our salvation through Christ.
God’s presence with His people is a fundamental teaching of the New Testament. The Great Commission was accompanied with the promise, “Lo I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). Jesus promised that every follower of His would have the Holy Spirit to teach, comfort, and direct his life. This is a message that we must take to the world. Many people believe that God created the world but no longer has a concern for His creation. We can tell every man and woman, boy and girl, that God is thinking about them. He knows the smallest details of their existence. He has a plan for their lives.
As we obey the teaching of Christ, we have the assurance that He is near us. One missionary family who had just been evacuated from a troubled country wrote, “We believe that the safest place in the world for us is in the center of God’s will.” How can we increase our awareness of God’s presence in our lives? A reflection on the following questions may help.
1). Do we keep the Lord’s Day for rest and worship, or do we do the same things on Sunday that we do on other days?
2). Do we spend much more time watching television and reading secular books than we spend with God and the reading of His Word? How does this affect our awareness of God’s presence?
3). Do we pray, asking God’s guidance for our work and the work of others?
4). Do we talk with other Christians about our spiritual needs and ask for their prayers?
5). As we make decisions, do we wait upon the Lord for His direction?
7). Do we come to the Lord regularly in repentance, asking forgiveness for our sins?
The tabernacle worship taught that God was in the midst of His people as they journeyed to the Promised Land. The New Testament teaches us that the Spirit of God lives in the heart of every believer. Jesus promised, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Whatever challenge we face, we are not alone.