THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory,”
John 1:14 ESV
HE CAME TO CAMP
An old fellow had been in the woods for weeks by himself, camping out. Each night at dusk he built a campfire, boiled water for coffee, and took out his skillet to fry up some bacon for dinner. As he was sitting by the fire one night, the water boiling and the bacon sizzling, he heard a tremendous racket in the brush. The sound was like a roaring freight train, and as trees fell over and branches snapped, the biggest bear he’d ever seen lumbered into the clearing. And on the bear’s back was a tough-looking man holding a seven-foot live rattlesnake in his hands. The man shouted and screamed as he brought the bear to a skidding halt, bit the head off the rattlesnake, and flung it into the brush. Then he slid off the bear’s back, turned, and hit him between the eyes, knocking him unconscious.
The camper was speechless as this wild-eyed renegade walked over to the fire, tossed the boiling coffee down his throat, drank hot grease from the skillet, and ate all of the bacon in one bite. As he wiped his hands with poison ivy and slapped the bear back into consciousness, he turned to the camper and said, “Partner, I’m sorry I can’t stay around and visit with you awhile, but I’ve got to keep moving ‘cause a real bad dude is chasing me.”
When the Bible says that God “dwelt” among us, it was another word for saying God “pitched His tent” or tabernacled among us. In other words, He came to our camp and made Himself at home for a bit! For a time in the Old Testament the tabernacle, which was a large tent, was a place where God’s glory was. It was not that the God of heaven and earth could be contained in a tent: He’s bigger than a tent. But it was a special place where He manifested His nearness to, His love for and His favor on His people. It was the place where His people came face to face with Him, met with Him, encountered Him, praised His name, heard His word and enjoyed communion with Him. But only one priest once a year could go into that “tent” and sometimes he didn’t make it out alive.
It was a big deal to the original audience of John’s letter when he told them that God wanted to “dwell” or set up camp inside of them. Because in their mind, God was too holy to come anywhere close to them. By Jesus being born and dying for our sins, we are now able to enjoy God’s indwelling presence in our lives. Have there been times where you’ve felt unworthy to be in God’s presence? How should Jesus coming to “camp” with us change our sense of worth in being in God’s presence? Ask God to allow you to experience the peace and joy that comes from His presence.