“I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”
My son, Micah, has recently been struggling to understand why he never sees or hears God directly, and the great thing to me about his frustration is the sincerity in which he brings it. He’s too ignorant of others perceptions to try to save face, to just step in line, to hide in a crowd on a Sunday morning. For us adults—and I realize none of us are exactly alike—we’ve learned over time how to manage our emotions, how to turn on and off our guttural reactions like a faucet. We learn how to protect ourselves, how to hide, how to run, how to seem good when we’re anything but. But most kids haven’t learned that yet. So when something doesn’t make sense to my son, when he reads God’s promises to never leave us nor forsake us but looks around and can’t find God anywhere, his crisis of faith often expresses itself in a flood of tears.
Friend, I realize that we’re reading this Exodus account from the hindsight of Christ’s redemptive work, gazing back over these old covenants of law through the far better covenant of grace, hearing words like “It is finished” and “I am the Resurrection and the Life” reverberating under every line, but if we’re honest with childlike honesty, sometimes Scriptures like Exodus 29 sound better than our present predicament, don’t they? These people didn’t have to believe God dwelled with them; they could literally see His cloud of glory billowing over the Tent of Meeting. They didn’t need apologetic books outlining the evidences for God’s existence or seminars explaining the possibility of miracles. The evidence was always present, right before their eyes, so much so that they took it for granted every day.
But I remind my son of Christ’s commendation to us in John 20:29, that “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That in this lifetime of waiting for heavenly rapture, faith sometimes steps forward through songs and dances, sometimes through quiet communion, and sometimes through tears of longing.