“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!”
2 Chronicles 6:18
Soon after Israel was delivered from Egyptian captivity, God gave Moses precise instructions to build a tabernacle, for this reason: “that I may dwell in their midst” (Ex. 25:8). The word tabernacle is often used as a verb, meaning “to dwell with”. God dwelling with his people is a recurring theme in Scripture. Later in the history of Israel, the temple would come to replace the tabernacle as a more permanent dwelling place. Solomon, in his prayer of the dedication of the temple, includes these words: “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!”
Nearly 1000 years later, Solomon’s question was answered from heaven with a resounding, “YES!” After establishing that the Word is none other than God Himself, the apostle John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). God has chosen to dwell with man on the earth! Such is the miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God! Such is the miracle of Christmas! Matthew, quoting the prophecy of Isaiah from so many years earlier, says “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Mt. 1:23).
And yet, the full wonder of God dwelling with man is still to be realized! As wonderful as that first Christmas was, with the angels filling the sky with praise, there is a greater climax to the recurring Scriptural theme of God dwelling with man! Revelation 21:3 says, “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.” That the infinite holy God, whom heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain, should choose to enter the dust He created, become a creature of the dust, and die upon a cruel cross, in order that rebellious sinners may be saved to dwell with Him for all eternity, is a wonder that no human words can adequately describe! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!!