God Dwells Among His People in the Tabernacle

Open Your Bible

Exodus 25:1-22, Exodus 26:31-35, Exodus 40:31-38, Numbers 10:33-36, Hebrews 8:1-5

We live in the shadowlands.

Consider the tabernacle, that place of awe and wonder described often in the Old Testament. From cherubim stitched into towering curtains to pillars overlaid with gold, the size and beauty of the tabernacle would have taken our breath away. Yet inside all of that artistry and engineering was something (or better yet, another One altogether) even more spectacular: “They are to make a sanctuary for me so that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8).

Sit in that thought for a moment. Let your imagination try to wrap itself around the fact that the God who spoke the stars into being (Isaiah 40:26), the One who sits “enthroned above the circle of the earth” (v.22), and measures the waters of the earth “in the hollow of His hand” (v.12), chose to dwell in a tent built by human hands. What could speak to God’s love for us and to His desire to be in relationship with us more than this? But as spectacular as the tabernacle must have been and as breathtaking as it would have been to see the cloud of God’s presence descend (Exodus 40:34), it was only a shadow of a coming, greater reality of God’s presence with His people.

God did more than descend in a cloud. He wrapped Himself in human flesh and walked among the people He’d made. Through Jesus, humankind experienced fellowship with God undivided by poles and curtains. Jesus Christ is both the High Priest and sacrifice that we need: holy, innocent, undefiled. In order to be with us, He died “once for all time when he offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27). Our High Priest’s work is finished, and now He sits “down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that was set up by the Lord and not man” (Hebrews 8:1–2).

Yet even as we read about the Son of God walking and talking with people in the Gospels, we’re still just seeing shadows. God’s desire to dwell among the Israelites in the portable tabernacle and Jesus’s willingness to take on flesh and live among humanity both point forward to the ultimate, full reunion of God and His people. The earthly tabernacle was eventually destroyed, and Christ’s human body became His glorified body before He ascended to the right hand of the Father. These are the shadows of the time when “night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5). Everything we experience here on earth is merely a shadow of the greater, redeemed reality that is to come in the new heavens and the new earth. We can endure life in the shadows because we know a day is coming when we will fully dwell with Him—and He with us—forever.

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41 thoughts on "God Dwells Among His People in the Tabernacle"

  1. Naomi Dowling says:


  2. Justina Robinson says:


  3. Amy MathewsKushner says:


  4. Martha Echandy says:

    In the meantime, fight the darkness. Endure the fight. For a time will come, when the full light of Christ will be revealed.

  5. Karen Breaux says:

  6. Susie Basham says:

    The tabernacle where the Lord dwells to me is a foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit endwelling in us

  7. Taylor Graves says:

    I’ve seen a few of you mention the quote “We can endure life in the shadows because we know a day is coming when we will fully dwell with Him – and He with us – forever” from Erin’s devotional today and I just want to add to it. These words are so comforting to know that despite the terrible and rough things I am enduring right now on Earth, I don’t need to fear. I can make it through and I will make it through because I have been promised that one day I will be joining God in a better place. I have been promised that I will be taken home where I can spend the rest of eternity walking among our Heavenly Father! That is amazing to even think about! Our God is so good and I am in awe every day as I read about how much He loves us and what we have to look forward to on the day when He calls us home. I pray all of you women are having a wonderful week so far! ❤️