Follow by Email

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

5-2-2017 El Shaddai -of the Tabernacle

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35

I’m walking a dusty path, talking with my traveling companions as we go, discussing the wonders we’ve already seen on this pristine day. Though I’m engaged in the moment, my mind is far ahead of me. I’m distracted by what I know is to be―not by what is or has been. I find myself wanting to somehow prepare in a more appropriate way, but I don’t know what more to do―I’ve been preparing for this moment for years.

We are aiming for a building that sits at the pinnacle of a small rise, there-in to watch a movie which we are told should provide an historical and scriptural perspective of this place. But even that seems a distraction. It’s what lies beyond the building that calls to me as I crest the hill.

There it is, Lord, Your tabernacle area: Now only an archeological site of carefully excavated stone, outlining a perfect description in our time, as to the spiritual interaction, observances and rituals of times ancient. What intrigues me most is the placement; not perched on the highest mountain as most religious temples, this structure is centered in a bowl, surrounded by great hills.

Our friend, Luke, who has navigated us here, explains that the Israelites oriented this site so that all the tribes could gather, worshiping together with the ability to see and best hear the proceedings. I confess that the landscape in my mind’s eye had the crowds camped out on flat plains, but this makes so much more sense. It is the same arrangement as with the temple in Jerusalem where Mount Moriah is surrounded by high places looking down into the sacrificial area to allow for the visual impact.

Lord, you encouraged me to the Land for many reasons, but I find my heart beating faster as I place myself mentally into the significance of my immediate surroundings. YHWH, You planned a 40-year journey to bring Your people to this spot. Here they offered and sang and cried and responded to You. And here You loved, guided, corrected and prepared them toward an everlasting relationship which would eventually even allow for someone like me to commune with You.

We watch the movie, a dramatic interpretation depicting the struggle of Samuel’s mother Hannah, but I find myself struggling and anxious. For what? What am I wanting from this event? We exit the theater and descend the slope into the actual tabernacle area. As I negotiate the stony path, I become even more excited, but why, Lord? You are no more in this place than you are in my heart. Yet there is something spiritually electric that I can’t explain about Shiloh. Why am I here, why did You inspire the Israelites to congregate here for over 350 years?

I’ve been so inwardly focused that I haven’t been paying attention to my surroundings. Somehow I have arrived at the actual tabernacle foundation and am now standing where, thousands of years ago, the Holy of Holies would have been. At that time, standing in this place would have provoked an instant end to my existence. And I find that standing is no longer an appropriate position. On my knees I give thanks for the invitation, through you, Lord Jesus, to dwell together, intimately celebrating life; not fearing death. Do I really appreciate the power and significance in that?

This is what I came for, to experience what had happened here, appreciating what is happening here now, so that I can look forward to what will happen here soon-coming. I could be any place and You would love me no less; all the other events of this trip to the Land are inspiring, but this place is the source of that inspiration. I have always been drawn to origins and antiquity, to the primitive which is anything but primitive. Here is where You taught us all how to worship.

Now I’m prepared; seeking Your will, Father God and I know…yadah…Your presence. It is in the bones of this place. It is in the heart of this frail clay vessel whom You have led to this encounter. Fill me with Your purpose, as an offering to Your desire.

Regaining my feet, I return along the dusty path, talking with my traveling companions as we go, discussing the wonders that have just overwhelmed us on this pristine day. I’m tempted to turn back and, one more time, tabernacle with You where Samuel and David encountered You. But Your instructions are clear. “Go out.”

I’m no longer distracted by what I know is to be, for what is to be is where You want me focused. What is to be is every moment I can serve and praise and proclaim. There is nothing more to do―except what You have already given me to do. That is the way it was, that is the way it is, that is the way of my ongoing journey―that is Your way.

Thanks be to El Shaddai for offering His way, that we may tabernacle with Him.

Mark C.

1 comment: