God With Us

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Exodus 40:1-2, 17, 34-38

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (v. 34)

During the exodus, the Israelites are focused on one prize: the Promised Land. The wilderness is merely a series of dangers and deprivations to be endured on the way. The Lord’s goal during the exodus is to form Israel as a treasured people and a special possession. There’s no better place than the wilderness to fulfill this purpose.

In the Promised Land, Israel gains security and self-sufficiency, and they lose what they had in the wilderness: God with us. After all, it was in the wilderness that their hunger and thirst were satisfied with bread from heaven and water from the rock. It was in the wilderness that they passed through the Red Sea. It was in the wilderness that they beheld God’s abiding presence in the pillars of fire and cloud. It was in the wilderness that they saw God’s glory fill the tabernacle.

The dear desire of every nation and the joy of every human heart is God with us. We receive this prize in the person of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God pursues his purposes in our lives: to draw us closer to Jesus, and make us more like Jesus. These purposes are still best achieved in the “wilderness”: times of deprivation and uncertainty in which we depend on God and experience God’s intervention. In your times of abundance, remember the lessons learned in the wilderness. And in all things, seek the true prize: God with us. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God to draw you closer every step of your journey.