I don’t think its name had been revealed to Moses. Nor its location. Not even directions as to how to get there. But that Moses knew it would exist, and that it would be central to the lives of those delivered from Egypt, is so clear in Deuteronomy. As I continued my reading in this fifth book of Moses, the phrase jumped off the page and I remembered that I had read it a few times in this book. Over 20 times, in fact. And I’m reminded this morning how important to God is THE PLACE.
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make His name to dwell there.
(Deuteronomy 26:1-2 ESV)
“The place that the LORD your God will choose, to make His name to dwell there.”
It would be the place, chosen out of all the tribes, where God would make His habitation. The place God’s people were to seek (12:5). It was to be the place associated with obedience and blessing. The place where they were to bring their offerings and sacrifices. The place where they would celebrate the goodness of God and make atonement for everything that tarnished that goodness. The place where they would remember the Passover and celebrate other feasts of remembrance. The place where they would fulfill their vows. The place where their priests would reside. It was to be the place where God would choose to make His name dwell there.
And as I consider the place, the question Solomon asked at the dedication of the temple he built comes to mind: “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You” (2Chron. 6:18). Evidently, Moses thought so.
The place where God would dwell. The place where the people of God would go. The place where the glory of God would be manifest.
And you know that, as I consider this ancient place, I can’t help but think of it’s “modern” equivalent. I’m not thinking of the building down the street with the cross on it. But the people who enter that building Sunday after Sunday. The people who go to that place that they might be THE PLACE.
The people who are joined together and made to be “a holy temple in the Lord” . . . a people built together that they might become “a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22). Those chosen to be living stones, and pieced together so that they might be THE PLACE. A spiritual house . . . a holy priesthood . . . offering “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 2:5).
Will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Yup! In THE PLACE He has chosen to make His name to dwell there.
What awesome privilege . . . what amazing grace . . . that sinners saved by the blood of God’s own Son should be THE PLACE.
To Him be glory in and through the church . . . now and forever more . . . amen.