Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:34-38
God’s glory. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually think of it in tangible terms. I don’t typically think of it as something to fill a space. God’s glory usually has to do solely with how I think of his greatness and honor. I think of it in terms of him being righteous and faithful to his own ways; of how he is soveriegn and has command over everything. But here it is, right at the end of Exodus–the glory of God filling the Tabernacle.
In some ways it’s an unfulfilling way to end the book of Exodus. The people are still in the wilderness. They are still looking for, but have not found the Promised Land. But then, the book is called Exodus, not Arrival. And it does seem fitting that the end of Exodus is a picture of God no longer just leading out in front, but now descending to dwell among his people.
But as I think on this I keep returning to this imagery of God’s glory descending and filling the space designated as his. And I can’t help but draw the comparison to us–God’s new temple.
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
We are the Temple where the Glory now fills. We are the place designated his–God’s–for his holy dwelling. No longer among his people, now in them; in us. The glory is within. The glory fills. It fills so that no other can take up residence. it fills so that all around will be seen the presence of God here, in this place. It fills so that we may have relationship and connection. So we may have intimacy and be given direction when the time to move is at hand.
The glory of God–his greatness and his ways of perfectness–fill us. Live within in us.
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. John 14:23
For the Israelites, the book of Exodus ends with this descending of God’s presence and it says that his leading from among them “continued throughout all their journeys.” This is how I want my journeys of life to be lived as well. So today I want to live like the glory-filled. Today I want to celebrate the presentness of God. His is within. He has made his home. I will choose to love and follow. And trust that in all my journeys God will have his home within and lead me out into the world. And somewhere along the way–probably many somewheres along the way–I will look to better understand and appreciate this glory of his that fills me.