Exodus 40: 34-38
The book of Exodus ends on a glorious scene-literally. The last few chapters describe in excruciating detail how the Hebrews meticulously put together the priestly garments, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tabernacle. After all this painstaking labor, the Tabernacle--where men would officially meet God--was completed. God appeared and so filled the tabernacle that Moses had to step out. The Lord’s glory was there, and there was no room for men. I wish every worship experience on Sunday would be like that.
This seems like a good time to think about omnipresence. Most people know (or can figure out) that the term refers to the fact that God is everywhere in all creation, but they might not have thought out what that means.
First, here are some Scriptures which talk about God in this way. Solomon, when he dedicated his temple, declared “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” The Lord, when confronting rebellious sinners, claimed through his prophet "'Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?' declares the Lord. 'Do not I fill heaven and earth?'declares the Lord?" and of course the expected answer is obvious. But the ultimate declaration of God’s omnipresence is found in Psalm 139: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
But if God is everywhere, then what do we mean when we say we’re “entering his presence”? How could God be anymore “here” than “there”? What exactly happened in today’s passage? I think that the modern world has a profound analogy which might shed some light on this. Think of radio waves. They surround us, go through the walls of our home, and even go through our bodies. But our five senses don’t register them at all, and if some tribesman in Africa was never exposed to the outside world, he'd never know radio waves even exist. Until. . . . he happened to pick up a radio and turned it on. Once he turned it on and turned that little knob to the right frequency, he'd hear what the radio station was playing.
I believe that it’s the same with us. I used to attend a church that met in a gym. During the week, people played basketball, did aerobics and all sorts of other activities, and many of them just thought of it as a gym. What was the difference on Sunday morning? It’s that a group of people met together for the express purpose of “tuning into” our Savior God. When I do my personal devotions, Bible reading, and prayer, I’m “tuning into” what my Father has to say to me and what I want to say to him.
This thought can be incredibly comforting and disturbing at the same time. Through Christ, I have access to the Lord anytime day or night. The question is not “Is God here?” The only question is “Am I listening to the right frequency?”
Lord, please speak, for your servant is listening.