Sunday, August 18, 2013

Going Camping With God

      One of the things I liked best about our church's VBS this summer, was that it reminded me so much of camping.  There were fireflies, s’mores, campfires, foot washing, children’s laughter, and tents.
     There were tents in the sanctuary, the lobby, and a classroom.  The tents were cozy and secure, a fun place to listen to a story in the glow of a flashlight.      
        Let’s pull out those sanctified imaginations of ours and imagine camping inside a tent, zipped up for the night, with a small lantern for light.  Now imagine what the tent would look like from the outside.  Picture the glow, as the lamp illuminates it from within.
     Did you know that God has a Tent?  In the Book of Exodus, when Moses had led the people out of Egypt into the desert, God instructed them to build a place of worship.  It was a very large tent, called the Tabernacle or the Tent of Meeting.  God described in detail how the Israelites should build and furnish the Tent of Meeting.   Pure gold lamps set on a lampstand made by the most skilled artisans  were to burn oil within the Tent from evening until morning.  The glow of the Tent illuminated the dark and reminded the Israelites throughout the night of the presence of God.
     God still uses tents.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us.  ~John 1:14
     The “Word,” of course, is Jesus.  The Greek word for “lived among us”, comes from a Greek word that means tent or tabernacle from the root, skay – nay) which means tent or tabernacled.  So this passage literally reads, "And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us."
     Jesus tabernacled among us. He brought us into the tent.
     Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that Jesus in us is the light.
 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
     Fueled by the Holy Spirit, we are to let Jesus’ light shine through us into the darkness as we are called to serve Him in this world.
     In Revelations, we see one last mention of the Tent.
For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.  They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;  the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat;  ~ Revelation 7:15-16 
     God will shelter them. The same word that was used in John.  God will spread His tabernacle, His tent over them.      
     God has enclosed us in his tabernacle.  He shelters us in His tent.  He is the God who created us, redeems us, sustains us, and loves us.
     Don’t you just love tents?

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