Today was our last day of touring in Israel. Could it be? We will be up early in the morning headed to Jordan. The adventure continues. Our last day in Israel was great. Besides two amazing meals — one Palestinian and one Lebanese — we toured Samaria today — Shiloh, Shechem, and Sebastia. The weather was overcast and not so clear, but that brought the temperature down a bit (for those of us used to desert temps at least). I finally got to stand on one of those twin mountains, so I guess I will be able to keep them straight once and for all. We drove through a Samaritan village to stand on the mountain of blessing. Gerizim or Ebal? Which one was I on? It’s a quiz.
The highlight of the day for me was my second visit to Shiloh. The Ark of the Covenant stayed at Shiloh for 369 years, easily the longest of its homes. It left when Israel was attacked by the Philistines and the Israelites desperate for something to turn the tide of the battle in their favor, took the Ark from Shiloh and used it as a good luck charm. It didn’t work. That’s not its purpose.
I thought about the presence of God as we sat at Shiloh. From the days of God walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve to the future promise of the presence of God in eternity, the Bible talks a lot about God’s presence. After the Fall, God showed up in the Tabernacle. And then in the Temple. And then He left the Temple. And then Jesus came and lived among us and we could see the glory of God.
The concept of the presence of God is scattered throughout the pages of the Testaments, Old and New. What is most intriguing is that after the death and resurrection of Jesus, there is a change in the display the presence of God.
That which lived in Shiloh for 369 years. That which motivated the people to remain unified as a people. That which spoke hope to the lives of the people of Israel. That which provided comfort to the people. That which served as the central focus of worship and forgiveness for a nation. Where is that presence today? It’s in you. The presence of God dwells in each believer. Really? That’s what the New Testament says.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Jesus promised to be with His church always (Matt. 28:20). Ever since the Day of Pentecost in AD 33, the Spirit of God has indwelt each person who believes in Jesus.
That is pretty amazing. God’s presence during 369 years of Israel’s history was at Shiloh. God’s presence today is in you. And me. With that presence, we ought to be able to change the world. Let’s do it. Together. As the Tabernacle of God…on Crestridge. By the way, the answer to the quiz is: Mt. Gerizim.