The Holy Presence of God

Teaching has its moments. On Sunday, a young lad was captivated by a model made of grey plastic which was placed on a table before him. Rectangular in dimension, it covered a space no bigger than the length and width of a small floor mat. The kit included several miniature parts resembling tables and ancient altars quite common to the Old Testament period. The furniture pieces of the tabernacle were mostly yellow and brown in colour, only the miniature priestly figures were entirely white. Usually, not something that would excite most kids today. Yet, forty minutes of unabridged talk about the significance of each piece and its relation to the Old Testament offering system had passed, and the student seemed to soak it all in.

When asked about the elevated mound under which the bronze altar rested on the answer came back in a heartbeat, “so that all the Hebrews could see it.” The sins of the people were dealt with on this seven and a half foot raised altar where animal sacrifices were made for and viewed by those gathered outside of the entrance of the tabernacle area. And on and on it went. Sacrifice after sacrifice, thousands upon thousands have been estimated that spanned several decades during their long wilderness journey.

Next was the bronze basin. A large copper bowl filled with water where the Levites would wash the dirt from off their feet, hands, and body; filth that had collected while outside of the fenced area of the tabernacle. This symbolized the pollutants that comes from being in the world. To be rid of these pollutants, spiritually speaking, it is necessary for us to be cleaned by the washing action of God’s Word. Moving deeper into the courtyard you come face to face with a small rectangular structure.

At this point, leaning ever forward my pupil is taking great care to place the remaining tabernacle pieces inside this rectangle tent like structure, shaped from a few dozen post and covered by material. In real life, this exclusive area was called the holy place or inner court. A thick curtain stretched across the front entrance, where inside was kept a gold candlestick, a table with loaves with manna on it, and an altar of incense where prayers were offered up to God. Then, another thick curtain and just beyond that, a smaller second compartment.

It was here that the ark of the covenant rested. This special place was named the Holy of Holies, and was where the High Priest entered into to make atonement once a year. Outside and high overhead of this structure, resided either a cloud during the day or fire by night to direct His people from place to place through the wilderness. When asked about what was in the ark itself, the Sunday School student correctly replied: a pot of manna, the rod of Aaron, and the ten commandments, all testimonials of God`s considerable care and oversight.

At the close of the session, this simple but effective teaching facsimile for the tabernacle was taken apart and put away. In a previous era, the real tabernacle would be dismantled piece by piece each time the nation of Israel moved from one location to the other on their way through the desert to the promised land. The tabernacle was a constant reminder of God’s presence in their midst and the way sinful men were to approach Him. This same God is in our midst today. But no longer is there any need for a physical pattern, since His Holy Spirit is in His Church and dwells within each Christian today where He works His divine plan and teaches us personally. External evidences are not required as before since the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God`s children Romans 8:16. He tabernacles or dwells inside each of us in the New Testament period. Clearly an endearing truth for all ages.

The Greatness of God

A single thought can be of great significance to our existence. Some remarkable ideas have become reality and given us a better quality of life. Ideas that have led to scientific discoveries that have contributed to major improvements in our people’s well being. No doubt we have benefited greatly with the invention of the MRI, magnetic resonance imaging. Who would ever have imagined that a machine could be devised to scan and detect cancer in the human body without even touching a scalpel? Even today upright machines have been created to produce images of soft tissues for detection of illnesses and diseases and further our study of the anatomy of the human body. Just think of the lives that have been saved due to the precision of this invention and the technology that stands behind it. It is a great achievement for its inventor, Dr. Raymond Damadian, to achieve success in his noble pursuit for a better method of advance detection. Gifted with a scholarly mind and an indomitable spirit, God has enabled him to benefit the whole world with his invention.

Creative brilliance really when analysed are often a contribution from a number of different things over time. In Dr. Damadian’s case, he had a keen mind that was further nurtured by fellow scientist, colleagues and researchers to look into the possibilities of what such a device would mean to the world of medicine. Dr. Damadian pointed to the one outstanding event that evoked great personal wonder about God’s providence, was the day that funds for his experimental machine, appropriately nicknamed “indomitable”, was nearly gone. So in order to purchase a larger magnet at a cost of a $150 000, he would need something quite spectacular to happen since he had little more than $15 000 left in his budget. What happened next is what he called a “miracle moment.” His contact at Westinghouse Electric informed Mr. Damadian that due to a recent decision to close down the department responsible for building superconducting magnets, that their remaining stock was available for $15.000, the exact amount that Dr. Damadian’s could possibly spend. None of the logistics were known ahead by the seller. Yet, the specific length of wire needed for a magnet of this magnitude to scan a human body was readily available at a purchased price that was greatly reduced was no coincidence. God had stretched out his hand and helped his child much like he did for Israel in the wilderness. God always provides at the right time and in the right amount. It was like manna from heaven coming down but this time in wire form, thirty miles of it, to be precise.

I suppose in the new year, you might have something in mind that you may think defies possibilities. At least you may think it does. You may have put out of your mind the idea of God’s existence. You may not have experienced a phenomenal moment where God has spoken to you through exceptional circumstances where it became unmistakeably clear that God was acting on your behalf. No real evidence of His Goodness you say? Look again! God has been behind every good thing that mankind has enjoyed. All good gifts are from God whether inventors admit it or not, God has endowed them with exceptional minds. Dr. Damadian is a scientist and researcher who sees God as being ultimately responsible for any success in his work and personal life. He acknowledges that God has worked behind the scenes, not only for his benefit, and the general good of mankind, but more importantly for God’s own glory.

Your life will be forever changed once you commit to the unalterable fact that God is in control of the universe and controls the course of human history as He sees fit. God has endued certain men with great intelligence such as Copernicus — Astronomy, Gilbert — discovered earth’s magnetic poles, Galileo — invented the telescope, Bacon — scientific method for empirical thinking, Pascal — breaking groundwork for the computer, Newton — laws of gravitation and motion, Faraday — laws of electricity and generating it, Pasteur — microbial origin of disease. Divine intervention was behind these great discoveries, since His truth is at the foundation of all knowledge. Whether God receives credit for it or not does not lessen its truthfulness. God is the cause for any discovery and merits are praise. Great harm is done to our culture when God is not given His due recognition that is behind the brilliance of the Galileos, Da Vincis, or Van Goghs of this world. The optics are all wrong when we fail to see God at work in His creation. We have not pulled back the curtain far enough to see the greatness of God. We learn from the Bible that “in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. The origin of our being and discoveries are found in Christ, our triune God. Christ is truth and his immeasurable wealth of wisdom is His to do as He pleases. He has been so gracious as to give our world exceptional thinkers to benefit all of us.

May God give you a renewed vision of Himself in the new year. Our prayer is that Christ the Creator becomes your Savior. That you find in Him forgiveness and mercy to begin a new life that He has promised to all those that come to Him.