Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Refuge

Whether we like to believe it or not, Christianity has become a Temple religion - we've put God in one place to dwell among us, and it is there that we go to find Him. It is there that we go to worship Him. It is there that we know we will see Him if only we look. We do not keep fires burning all the time, with the smoke to remind us of His presence, but we know it nonetheless.

If you're looking for God in this world, look no further than the building on the corner from which praise songs go out one hour each week. This is where the Lord lives among His people. 

That's what changed so dramatically in the Promised Land. Once God's people became settled, so did their God. And we see it even in their exile. Once Israel was sent away from the land that God had given them to inhabit, all of their thoughts remained on the Temple. They felt separated from Him because they no longer lived in the same land; they continually longed for the place where He dwells. And the first thing they do when they get to go back is to rebuild and rededicate the Temple, for God is still there; He never left, even when they did. 

But Psalm 90 reminds us of a greater truth, a truth that is not just in the past but also in the present and the future. It paints a picture of the Lord who is our refuge, a dwelling place Himself - before and after the Promised Land. He is the place in which we dwell in the wilderness. 

Which means that He is with us even in our wandering. He moves with us, just as He always has. 

Remember, this is the Lord who walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. When they discovered they were naked and hid in shame, He was walking about, moving about in such a way that He came upon them. He wasn't tucked away in His own little hut so that they knew where to find Him; He found them. 

This is the Lord who climbed the mountain with Abraham and Isaac, to provide for them a ram in the bushes at just the right moment. This is the Lord who wrestled with Jacob at the Jabbok and changed his name to Israel. 

This is the Lord who dwelt in a tent among His people in the wilderness so that He could guide them, so that He was right where they were by fire and by smoke, so that He could move with them as they journeyed through tough terrain.

Even Jesus never sat down and declared, "Let anyone who desires Me come and find Me here!" Rather, He went out to where the people were; every time we see Him, He's out and about. 

Throughout His history, this is the God who has always moved with us, who has always been near us, who has always found us. And then we settled and put Him in a box and told Him to stay there, forgetting that He doesn't want to be there; He wants to be here. He doesn't want to be in a "safe place;" He is our safe place. He is our refuge, the Lord so near that we are covered in the shelter of His wings. 

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