There are so many profound questions about God's nature, heart, and character. Who is He? Does He like me? What does He want of me? Who am I because of who He is? These are questions of the ages for each generation that many have tried to answer with lofty words, phrases, and concepts. If I were to boil all these questions down into one simple statement, though, I think I would say that God wants to hang out with us more than anything else. Or, to be more accurate - He wants to dwell with us.
This is not because He has any emotional needs that need to be met or because He's lonely, but just because, well, He loves us and likes being with us, and he longs for our company. As I thumb through the pages of scripture, there is one theme that remains consistent – and it's that God's deep desire is to dwell with us.
Follow the thread of this theme from the first to the last page of the scripture, and God's desire to dwell within us remains consistent at every significant juncture.
● In the beginning, God dwelt with a man in the garden. He said it was good. Very good because He was able to dwell with the objects of His affection – people.
● Through sin, we quickly separated ourselves from God, and our broken state prevented us from being close to His brilliance. Sin always breaks some kind of relationship, but God continually wants to dwell with us. He brought His people out of the oppression of Egypt in the hope that we could dwell together (Exodus 29:46).
● Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, we see that God gave what was called the Ark of the Covenant that would be carried around with His people to remind them that God dwelt with them and He longed to dwell with them.
● As our rebellion thwarted these hopes, God sent Jesus to us where "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).
● As Jesus prepared again to be the victim of man's rebellion, He promised that H would send another to dwell with us – the Holy Spirit, who would dwell within us as we carried on the work of Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:16)
● Then, in Revelation, we read of the end of things when all is settled, and God's victory has been consummated, that "God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God "(Rev 21:3).
God's greatest desire is to dwell with us - to be with us and hang out with us. This is a powerful and profound truth about God. It talks of His love, His commitment, His desire, His sacrifice, His humility, His grace, and His forgiveness. It also talks about our rights and responsibilities as His friends – to live lives that are fitting for Him to dwell in.
● What does it say about God that He wants to dwell with you?
● What does it say about you that He wants to dwell with you?
● What can you do to make yourself more hospitable to this deep desire of God?