Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and a few others had been allowed to visit God in his sacred tent. They could not sojourn there, but from time to time they were invited to bask in God’s presence in God’s holy tent.
Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a several elders had been able to experience God’s glorious presence on holy mountains. God would come down, and they would be enthralled by his power and love. However, though this was tremendous, it was only a temporary delight. They were not allowed to dwell with God on his holy hills.
Well, on this particular day, David was meditating on the Lord, and in doing so he found himself penning the following question:
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1)
David desired to see the tent and the mountain. He longed to be found in and on these holy places. However, more than that, he pondered how one could sojourn and dwell with God in his sacred space. He longed to permanently abide with God and be unmoved, but how could this possibly be?
David, in his time of inspired meditation, is given the answer. Who gets to intimately and incessantly commune with God? Who gets to dwell and be unmoved? Here is David’s answer. Here is God’s answer:
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 15:2-5)
This is a very simple answer. In order for one to be allowed access into the holy presence of God, all one has to be is blameless towards God and one’s neighbor. In one’s heart, speech, and actions, one has to perfectly love God and neighbor. This is all that is required, and it is very simple to comprehend. It is not rocket science. Perfect obedience equals incessant intimacy. This is God’s Covenant of Works, and the one who keeps God’s rules all the time shall for all time never be moved.
This is very bad news for all. Adam and Eve sinned, and they were quickly excommunicated from the garden of God and granted entrance credentials for hell. The same was promised to all their children, for they would prove to follow their parents’ horrible example. All Adam and Eve’s descendants have thought wrongly in their heart, spoke sinfully with their mouths, done wickedly with their hands, harmed their neighbors, and offended their God. Therefore, according to God, all have been vile and corrupt. All have sinned and transgressed his holy ways. All have violated the Covenant of Works; none have kept his standard. All men and women are all justly condemned and hotly cursed. All are born separated from God — dead in their sins, and all are sitting on death row awaiting eternal separation from the Holy One. All have been moved, and none have merited the right to enjoy God’s presence in his garden, mountain, tent, house, and city. Paradise is not their home.
This is very good news for one. In all of history, there was one righteous man who visited the earth. He came from heaven, and his name was Jesus Christ. He walked blamelessly, thought righteously, spoke honestly, and proved to be a good neighbor and friend. He abhorred wickedness, honored and feared the Lord, and showed himself to be perfectly generous, charitable, just, and honest. Jesus was godly. Jesus kept all of God’s commands. He fulfilled the totality of God’s Law. He was the one of whom and to whom the Father declared, “This is my Son, and in him I am well pleased!” He was a saint. He was perfect, holy, righteous, and blameless, and he enjoyed unmatched proximity and intimacy with the Holy Father. This was the blessing he earned and deserved.
However, something unthinkable happened. Despite the righteousness of the Son of God, he was judged a sinner, hoisted on a cursed tree, and subjected to the wrath of God. Using the words of David, he screamed, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” before all became dark as he experienced divine excommunication.
Well, though this was unthinkable, it was not unplanned.
To Adam and Eve a special descendent was promised.
Abraham learned of a coming son who would bless all nations. Scripture tells us he saw Jesus’ day and it made him glad. According to the Bible, the Gospel was preached beforehand to this patriarch.
Moses heard of a prophet and priest like none other. Much was written of Jesus in the Law and the Prophets.
And David knew an heir would be a Royal King and Suffering Servant. He and all Israel looked forward to the Kingly Priest who would offer forth the Lamb of God and rescue men and women from their condemnation and curse. Sure, it was quite mysterious to them, but their confidence was found in the Lamb of God who was coming to save the world.
This is very good news for many; is this good news for you? Sinful friend are you getting it? A perfectly righteous man was excommunicated by the Father so that horrid sinners might sojourn in God’s tent and dwell on God’s holy hill. Jesus was the substitute that made it possible for you, despite your wickedness, to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23) Therefore, fellow rebel, see the simple entrance requirements of God, see your failed record, see your only possible substitute, and be emptied of all your pride. Based upon your own merit, you cannot dwell in God’s tent, on God’s mountain, or in God’s eternal paradise. God is holy. He sees your iniquity, and he is angry with the unrighteous everyday. Eternal separation from him is the judgment he has already declared. However, the Judge has provided for you a worthy substitute, and if you come by faith to Jesus, he will dwell with you on earth and in heaven. Today, you can become his house, temple, or tabernacle. And tomorrow, you will see his face as you dwell in the house of the Lord, unmoved, forever and ever.
And the good news keeps coming. Upon becoming united with Jesus, not only does his righteous report-card becomes ours, but his righteous thoughts, words, actions, and tendencies become ours as well. He promises not only a positional righteousness, but a practical and progressive righteousness as well. He disciples us. He grooms us. He shapes us, and because he is so good at it, he causes us to look more and more like him with each day we are granted on this earth. By grace we are saved. By grace we are definitively sanctified. By grace we are progressively sanctified. And by grace we will one day be thoroughly sanctified without any remnant of sin about us. We have been predestined to look like Jesus, and he never fails. Therefore, enjoy, rest, pray, pant, and practice righteousness. Enjoy the work of the Spirit as you more and more:
- Walk blamelessly
- Think righteously
- Speak rightly
- Neighbor well
- Friend well
- Abhor wickedness
- Honor the Lord
- Fear the Lord
- Show forth generosity and charity
- Pursue justice
All while enjoying intimate and incessant communion with God.