“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34-35)
In addition to rules and laws, God also gave Moses instructions for building a tabernacle, a sacred tent. Once the Israelites were settled in the land of Canaan, this tent was replaced by a permanent building made of wood and stone.
In this sanctuary, God wanted to dwell with His people, though no earthly building could truly contain Him. He deliberately chose to be present with His people. But when His glory filled the sanctuary, Moses and the priests could no longer enter there. Only if they carefully followed God’s precepts regarding sacrifices and ritual purity could they come into God’s presence. The common people were not allowed to enter the temple at all. God’s glory dwelt in the midst of them, but at the same time it was inaccessible. Sin created a distance that could only be bridged with sacrifices that pointed toward a final solution to the problem of human sin, namely that someone else would bear it in our place. Through the tabernacle, temple and sacrificial service, God showed that He wanted to bridge the gap.
Do you also long for the distance between God and you to disappear? Has that already happened?