The primary promise in the Bible is not that God would forgive us, but that God desires to and makes a way to be with us. As Michelangelo so beautifully depicted on the Sistine Chapel, God is stretching and straining to reach man.
When God downloaded instructions for the tabernacle to Moses it wasn’t so that people would serve him or hear about him or worship him or tell about him, but so he could dwell among us.
Have them make a tabernacle for me, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8
God wants to be with us.
We may think God’s ideal companion is someone with a pure heart, a devoted follower or a wise leader. But it’s not just them. God wants to be with you. He wants to be with me. God’s companions include people who are flawed, unsatisfied, restless, complainers and sinners.
A prime example is Jacob. He was a liar and a cheat. He stole his brother’s birthright, deceived their father and then ran away. But while he was on the run he had an amazing experience.
When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:11-16
“Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.”
I wonder if we could say the same thing.
- The Lord was with us at home and we were not aware of it.
- The Lord was with us at school and we were not aware of it.
- The Lord was with us at work and we were not aware of it.
- The Lord was with us in the car and we were not aware of it.
Something shifts when we wake up to the reality that God is with us. On every ordinary day. In every ordinary place.
God is straining and stretching to reach you. He is closer than you think.