Sunday, March 23, 2014

Preparing for Easter ~ 3rd Sunday in Lent ~ God's Abiding Presence, Shekinah Glory

[Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations…from everlasting to everlasting  Psalm 90:1-2  
During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore God’s Presence, our dwelling place.  Are you dwelling in the presence of God? ~ Donna Howell Oswalt]

The deepest longing of the human heart and the deepest
meaning of heaven and earth are summed up in this; the glory of God.
John Piper

[LORD says] “Take courage … and work, for I am with you. As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, ‘My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ … in a little while I am going to shake the heavens and the earth… The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former, and in this place I will give peace.” Haggai 2:4-9 NASB

Shekinah, a Hebrew word meaning dwelling, describes God’s visible presence in the world. Reference to God’s Glory, or His dwelling place, merge with such physical manifestations as a burning bush, a pillar of cloud, a pillar of fire, the Ark of the Covenant, the Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle, the Mercy Seat, the Most Holy Place. To fulfill His plan to dwell with the people becomes the primary purpose of the Temple in the Old Testament. Despite God’s protection and blessings for Israel, their repeated disobedience creates destruction, and only emptiness remains when the glory of God departs the Temple. Shekinah Glory emphasizes God’s plan to dwell among His people and defines the intimate relationship God desires with us.

After King Solomon dies in 931 BC, the United Kingdom of Israel is divided into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Prophets warn of destruction without obedience to the one true God. The Assyrians conquer Israel, and Babylon will take the people of Judah into captivity, destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC. After 70 years, the Jews begin their return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.  Prophets encourage the people to focus on God. Working through His people, God says, “Take courage … and work, for I am with you,” but this time He offers a future glory that will be greater. The Messiah will become Shekinah glory, God’s visible presence in the world. God of Glory, find me wordless of such unimagined generosity and undeserved grace.  Count me alive in Christ. Let Your presence dwell within me. - dho

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Copyright 2014 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author
Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

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“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”