Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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Since God gave victories to the Jewish people, the tabernacle dominated the camp of the Lord. On the march, the tabernacle appeared in the middle of everything. The Levites guarded the holiest spot on earth from other Israelites, and the soldiers guarded the Levites from those not of Israel.  This scheme represented a profound truth. The people were not the possessors of God; instead, God was the possessor of the people. The world had not seen anything like this before. Though they may appear powerful and frightening, pagan gods have always been the useful tools of their worshippers. The people form them, tend them, and carry them around as so much baggage. Not Israel. Israelites were specifically warned not to touch the tabernacle. Touching holy things with unholy hands meant certain death. Even the priests Nadab and Abihu died when they offered “unauthorized fire before the LORD.” God was indeed holy, but He willingly dwelt in the midst of the people. God was in them, but not the same as them. This aspect of the LORD demonstrates His condescension, not His fearsomeness. What love, that a holy God will abide with the human race!


Mark Sheffield

Southern Adventist University