34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:34-38)
At long last! At last the ‘dwelling place of God is with His people’. The high point of the book of Exodus is this moment when the cloud of glory, the ‘Shekinah Glory’, came down and filled the tabernacle. The Shekinah glory represents the arrival and presence of God. This is the goal of the Exodus: God rescued His people so that He could live amongst them. The tabernacle was designed to allow for a Holy God to live with a sinful people. For the rest of their days God will travel with His people. God will be with them, lead and guide them. In His condescending grace He left His glory to come and live with His rescued people. Meet Jesus in the Old Testament. This whole event points to something in the future, or rather, to Someone in the future. In John 1:14 we are told that the Word became flesh and dwelt (literally: tabernacled) amongst us. John says that in Jesus we have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, full of grace and truth. Jesus is the True Tabernacle, the True Temple – as He Himself says in John 2:13. Jesus was called ‘Immanuel’, God with us. Exodus 40 prefigures all of this and points us to Jesus. But Jesus is even better. No longer is the glory confined to a Temple made with human hands or a Tabernacle sewed together with human skill. Now Jesus, by His Spirit, lives within every heart of every one of the people He has rescued. He saves us in order to live within us! The reason a Holy God can now take up residence within us is because the cross replaces the centre piece of the tabernacle: the altar. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself does away with sins once and for all. We are now made holy by His death and we have access by grace through faith into the very presence of the Holy One. And wonderfully Jesus says, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ PRAY and ask Jesus that He would live within you. Like Israel, ask Him to help you not to take one step forward without His accompanying presence. Enjoy His leading presence with you today.