The whole Bible is a love story. It begins with God, and God is love. Before anything else existed, love flowed between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus says to the Father, “You loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). I still remember when...
A sitting silently at the feet of Jesus is of more worth than all the clatter of Martha’s dishes. (C. H. Spurgeon)
It was a rare occasion. My husband and I were home on a Saturday, with nothing to do, so I decided to get caught up on some chores. He sat in the living room reading and then watching TV while I cleaned. I was busy organizing, de-cluttering, deep cleaning, moving furniture around, dusting, vacuuming, etc. and was just about to move on to the dishes when he said,
“Would you just come here and be with me?”
Now, you need to know, my husband loves a clean house. There are two quick ways to his heart: cooking a new recipe and freshly mopped floors. He loves the smell of Pine Sol and Pledge. I thought I was loving him by doing these things for him, when I realized that what he really wanted that day was just to be with me.
[tweet_box design=”default”]This whole life with God is him pursuing us, to dwell among us, to be with us.[/tweet_box]
More than a clean house or a home cooked meal, he wanted me to be present. To be with him, sitting beside him, enjoying a day home together.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. Often we think that God wants to use us, instead of simply being with us. We think God wants us working for him instead of walking with him. This whole life with God is him pursuing us, to dwell among us, to be with us.
Prior to sin entering the world, Genesis 2 ends with this verse: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).
Naked and not ashamed. Fully known and completely loved in God’s presence.
Then, sin enters in and breaks fellowship with God, destroying the position of peace man and woman had in his presence. The result of sin, the end of Genesis 3 reads,
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (vv. 22-24)
Prior to sin: peace and enjoying God’s presence.
After sin: death and being cast out from him.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t stop there. Although sin casts us out of God’s presence, the cross brings us back to him.
In fact, the rest of the narrative of the Bible is God’s plan of redemption, in buying back a sinful people to enjoy his presence once again, through Jesus Christ. He has always been after peace with his people, dwelling among them, to be with them.
If you skip a rock through the Bible, you’ll see this theme:
And [God] said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us].
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
“…fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
God’s desire has always been to be with his people. He chases after us, pursues us, redeems us, renews us to be with us. We think what matters most to God is what we achieve for him, yet his desire is for us to be with him. He redeemed us for relationship; he dwells among us so that we delight in him; he is God with us in Christ to share the greatest gift of his presence.