“Among” vs. “In”

As I concluded my reading of Exodus a couple of days ago, I was impressed with how the book ends. Notice how Moses concludes this book,

 

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle…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.” (Ex. 40:34, 38)

If you remember back through the whole book of Exodus, there was a lot that happened! It begins with the Jews slavery in Egypt, God’s deliverance of his people through the plagues, crossing the Red Sea as the Egyptian army chased them, and God’s miraculous provisions throughout the book. Then, the last few chapters describe the intricate detail of the construction of the tabernacle and all the items that went with it. When all was prepared, then the glory of God, representing His presence, filled the tabernacle and the nation was ready to proceed to the Promised Land. Wow! What an ending to a book! God has taken up residence AMONG his people! This dramatic summary gives the readers high hopes for what will come next in the history of the nation.

Can you think of anything more exciting than God taking up residence AMONG a unique people on the earth! The God of the universe was visible through the fire and cloud as he inhabited the tabernacle. God was now AMONG His people, and the nation could experience the blessing of his reign over them.

As fantastic as the filling of the tabernacle was, this event is dwarfed by a new truth Paul describes in 1 Cor. 3:16,

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

Did you see it? God is no longer AMONG his people he is now IN them! That is amazing! Unfortunately, we often take this stunning truth for granted. It was only after all preparations were met that God could take up residence IN us just as he did in the tabernacle. Our sin needed to be paid for, and we needed to embrace Jesus as our Savior and God before that could happen. Only as a result of the finished work of Christ, could the Holy Spirit reside IN his people through faith.

Just as the Jews in the Old Testament were to yield to the leadership of God as they took the Promised Land, so must we yield to his direction so that he can make us more like His Son.

Paul tells us of the role of the Holy Spirit in conforming us into the image of Jesus is 2 Cor. 3:18,

“And we all… are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Father, thank you for being a God of order. A God who has a plan for our salvation and a means for us to become more like your Son through the enabling of the Holy Spirit as we yield to His authority. Thank you that you now reside IN me! Help me to walk worthy of that honor.

Following Jesus with you,