I am often asked, “If God knew how things were going to turn out, why did He create the world?”
There are lots of token answers. But the most satisfying answer I am settling on more and more is profound in its simplicity.
God wanted to dwell with us.
When God created the world and it was perfectly good, He placed himself in proximity to Adam and Eve; dwelling in the Garden with them.
We know this utopia did not last long. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment they were given. Sin, death, and separation from God entered the picture. They broke the planet. Things were no longer how God created them to be.
But this did not change the heart of God to pursue His people.
Fast forward hundreds of years to the time of the Exodus. God wanted to deliver his people out of slavery to dwell with Him in the wilderness.
“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.” (Exodus 29:45-46)
The wilderness started as a good place. Once again, humans sinned and turned the wilderness into forty years of wandering. But even in this, God dwelt with his people in a tent.
Finally Israel enters the Promised Land and settles, but their hearts drift from God. God sends David, giving him a vision to build a permanent house for God, a temple. His son Solomon, builds this home for God.
“And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord…the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11)
God took up residence among His people. Once again, the people rebel, eventually going into exile in Babylon for 70 years.
Fast forward hundreds of years again. Jesus appears; God wrapped in human form enters the scene. John uses these words to describe what has happened.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
Yet again, God is pursuing His people, coming down to Earth to dwell with us. Immanuel: God with us. (Matt 1:23)
Jesus lives, dies, and is raised from the dead. But He does not leave us on our own, He sends Holy Spirit to walk with us.
“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 1:14)
Finally, when sin and death are done away with, we return to the world as God created it to be.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3)
All of history has reached its crescendo. Once again, God is dwelling with man. The stain of sin and death has been removed.
Preston Sprinkle, in his book [amazon_link id=”B00J3F1Q5Q” target=”_blank” ]Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us[/amazon_link], puts it this way. “Grace is God’s aggressive pursuit of, and stubborn delight in, freakishly foul people. And since we all stand guilty in God’s courtroom….we all need grace.”
Why did God create us? What is this all about?
God desires to dwell with His People.
Repeatedly in the Old Testament we see the heartbeat of God’s.
“My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Ezekiel 37:23)
What would change in your life if the reality of God’s desire to dwell with us took deeper root in our lives?
Photo by Joshua Earle