by Emma Strelan
Click here to download your printable verse to carry with you today.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3).
Read Revelation 21:1–8
Perhaps you’ve heard that when the New Testament uses the word ‘dwell’, it means ‘to tabernacle’, referring back to the Old Testament where God’s presence was with the Israelites in a (pretty large and fancy) tent that they carried with them while they were in the desert.
When I think of living in a tent, I think of my experiences camping: flimsy canvas walls, cold, uncomfortable floors, missing tent instructions and never the correct number of pegs. When I put it like that, I kind of wonder why I even go camping!
That doesn’t seem like a very fitting place for the almighty God to dwell. But when you think about the state of the world, maybe it’s not too far off from how it is.
I mean, that’s how Jesus came into the world. Not in a mansion. But in a dirty feeding trough with some scrubby shepherds looking on (I’m pretty sure their lack of showering could rival mine after a week camping).
God pitches his tent amongst the uncertainties and flimsiness of our lives. He doesn’t care if we’ve got a few tent pegs missing. He just wants to be with us.
And here, Revelation speaks to the enormity of God dwelling with us. This almighty Creator who sits on the throne of heaven, surrounded by the heavenly hosts, comes down into our falling-apart, flimsy world.
I think I’ve worked out why, despite the lack of convenience and comfort, I do like camping. It’s because of the people. Stripped of your normal comforts and expectations of life, you can really appreciate the company and the pure joy of being alive, being present with those you love.
That’s what it will be like when God establishes the new earth. The unimportant, unhealthy, unholy things of the world will be stripped away. And it will be just us and God, gone camping.
Lord, you dwell among us in our shabby, ramshackle lives. We ask you today to remind us of your presence. Help us to keep the hope of your full glory being revealed to all people so all will know you as their God. Show us how we can bring that hope to others here and now. Amen.
Emma works as a freelance videographer in Adelaide, and she recently joined Lutheran Media as its Production Assistant. Emma also studies theology and is heavily involved in youth camping ministry around South Australia. In her free time, she eats a lot of cheese, attempts to grow vegetables (the tomatoes have been the best success so far), and has committed the majority of her ‘casual reading’ time this year to getting through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.