Even Better Than Eden: Ch. 8, Dwelling Place, Reading Discussion
Love desires to live with those they love.
So it is with God. He desires to be with us too—not because He is lonely but because He is love. Rather than viewing the beloved as one to feed a need, He desires to give Himself, to bless.
Eden was His home, but the door was flung upon to us, fitted with all humans needed to dwell with him. Because He is holy, His home is holy too. Yet while the entrance of sin required him to exile the couple, it did not stop Him from designing a new way to be with His children.
So He starts again with another couple, Abraham and Sarah, inviting them to the new home He was preparing in the Promised Land.
Later, when Abraham’s descendants were freed from their slavery, one of the first things He did was give His plans for a temporary tent, a tabernacle, to be placed right in the center of every camp, reminding them that wherever they were, He was with them, in their midst. Only after His children were firmly settled in their land did He himself settle down in a permanent home, the temple.
But this was never about a place. It was about love. He desires to be with the ones He loves. This was evident, even when they were later once again exiled from home, He left His temple to follow them there. Even there, He pointed them to the future: a home that was so glorious that it was measured in miles—and a promise that He himself will come personally to them.
Simeon was the first to recognize him, and he rejoiced. At age twelve, the worried parents of Jesus found him at home in His Father’s house. Later, we see him teaching, healing, and purifying the temple from moneychangers, His zeal for His Father’s house raising the ire of his enemies.
Though they thought they won, the destruction of His body, the temple, actually opened the way so that we who believe may become living temples ourselves, a reality graphically illustrated at Pentecost.
Though He himself went back to the Father, the disciples became not just living temples but living stones. Those of us who call ourselves Christians are being built up into the spiritual temple where He will one day reside with us.
Right now, we are living in exile, in temporary tents, but one day, we will find ourselves in a permanent home. Sometimes we forget that and set our roots down here too deeply.
But sometimes life gets hard, and we wish we could escape. It is in these times when He draws near, entering and inhabiting our pain, whispering His promises for the world to come. There truly is nowhere we can go that will separate us from Him.
One day, we will truly be at home—permanently. Until then, may He find us pursuing Him with the same zeal with which He pursues us.