February 15, 2015

I Spy God, God Spies me

The Old Testament tabernacle of the Lord didn’t look like much on the outside, but on the inside it was gold, silver, bronze, fine linen, tapestry, beauty. God gave pages and pages of directions for its construction, and called the people to give what they desired. “All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.” (Exodus 35:29)

Then the work began. “And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, and said to Moses, ‘The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.’ So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, ‘Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.’ So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.” (Exodus 36:2–7)

Today I sat in church and looked around for evidence of the beauty in God’s dwelling place, now in the hearts of His people. I saw musicians and singers lead the worship and people helping people find places to sit. Upstairs, dedicated workers taught the children. In the kitchen, a crew prepared brunch. One man preached a message definitely graced by God. Another invited worship and prayer. At the end of the service, dozens of people moved chairs, brought out tables, flipped on white tablecloths, and moved the chairs around them. The line-up moved quickly and in no time, we sat in fellowship together, about 400 people. A few left their meal to blow up balloons for the children. After we finished eating, many more stacked chairs and cleaned up, both in the sanctuary and the kitchen. Some would go home with family. Some would go out to serve the needy. This is God’s New Covenant tabernacle, the place where He lives and where worship happens. What a joy!

Solomon wrote: “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon. Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.” (Song of Solomon 4:13–16)

He was thinking of the bride in all her beauty. Did she remind him of the delights of God’s tabernacle? Maybe she did. But he could not look into the future and see the Bride of Christ, the church. Today I watched her and saw beauty, the spices flowing, and I rejoiced to be there, seeking God and He found Me.

One day in the life of Jesus, His disciples set across the water while Jesus went up on a mountain to pray. They encountered a storm and were afraid, but Jesus walked on the water to them. The next day the crowd that remained saw that there was only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but they had gone away alone. Other boats came, but the crowd could not find Jesus or His disciples, so “they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.” (John 6:22–24) Would they find Him?

Those who came to that “tent of meeting” called the tabernacle were seeking God. These who got in the boats and set out across the water were seeking God. Yet God was first seeking them. He found them in the tent in the wilderness. He found them like choice spices and fruits in a garden. He still finds all who seek Him.

Yet even more amazing is what He also says, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” (Romans 10:20)

This is the love of God. Not only does He find those who seek Him — but He also seeks those are not interested, and finds those who are not seeking Him.

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