So where does God live?
This is a question that the people of God have been asking from the very beginning, from the Israelites in the wilderness to David in Jerusalem to the exiles returning home, even on the mountain of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John.
We know that the answer is not in the Tabernacle, for we are no longer a wandering people. (Well, not like that.) We know that the answer is not in the Temple, for we are no longer a Temple people. We know that the answer is not in the church, for that was never what the church was created for; God has never lived in the church. And we can pretty confidently say it is not in a temporary shelter on the top of the mountain.
But so, too, must we say, by our living, that the answer is not that God lives in our hearts. The way that we live betrays that very notion.
The best we can say is that God lives in whatever small place we've put Him in the corner of our souls in a box labeled "religion."
But that space is not big enough for Him.
And that is our fundamental problem.
The thing about God's presence is that He has always filled the places where He has dwelled. His glory is unmistakable. Even in the times of the Temple, the late times of the Temple, the presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Place was undeniable; everyone knew He was there. He shows up in cloud and fire, in smoke. God's people have always known when He was home because, well, it was really hard to miss.
Yet here we are, trying to tuck Him into a tiny box in a dark place and hope that He brings a little light and a little cloud, and the truth is - it's too small for Him. Not that our tiny, dark places can ever put out the fire of God, but we're doing exactly what Matthew says nobody in their right mind ever does - trying to keep a candle under a basket while proclaiming the goodness of its light.
A candle...under a basket...when we have in our very breath a raging holy fire that is the Creator of all things.
No wonder our God feels too small sometimes. No wonder we have trouble believing in His power. No wonder we can't seem to find His glory.
It's in a too-small box in a too-dark corner of our depraved, church-going hearts.
What do you think would happen if we made a bigger space for God? What do you think would come of it if we let Him take up all of our hearts and not just one little corner of them? What if we had a place worthy of God living there, right inside of us?
I'll tell you what - we, too, would be filled with His glory. Just like the Tabernacle. Just like the Temple. Just like the Transfiguration. His holy smoke would be pouring out of our ears, and there'd be no mistaking that this, this, is where the Lord lives.
And I don't know about you, but I want to live like that.