“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . .and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1.1-3, 14)
The prologue of the Gospel of John is one of the most sublime and mind bending statements in all of world literature. In it, we are told that the eternal Son of God, Jesus–the Logos, the Reason for the universe–became one of us and that He “pitched His tent” with ours.
You see, when John said that Jesus “dwelt among us,” he used the same word that is used in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) to speak of the tabernacle, or the “tent of meeting” in which God’s Presence dwelt as Israel trekked through the desert wilderness.
In that day, Israel was a nomadic nation with no earthly home. They dwelt in tents and went wherever God led them. God lived among them in the Glory of His tent, the tabernacle. They were “camping out with God”!
When Jesus came, He entered into an itinerant ministry, continually going from place to place to spread the Good News. His disciples followed Him wherever He went. While foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, Jesus had no place to lay His head (Matthew 8.20). As they followed Him, sleeping under the stars, the twelve were “camping out with God”!
Eventually, the tabernacle was replaced by Solomon’s temple; for a tent is not meant to be a permanent dwelling place. Likewise, when Jesus came the first time, He did not mean to stay. He had come to “give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45); so He referred to His coming as a “visitation,” not a permanent change of address (Luke 19.44). He “pitched His tent” among us.
Today, we dwell in tents. Whether we live in a pup tent, a canvas topped camper, a million dollar motorhome, a palace, or a prison cell, we are only here for a moment; and then our “tents” will fall to the ground. If we are God’s children by faith in God’s Son, then we have a more permanent dwelling, a “house” made by God, eternal in the Heavens (2 Corinthians 5.1). The wonder of it all is that, while we are in these tents, Jesus is pleased to “pitch His tent” with us. What a joy it is to be “camping out with God” until we move into our eternal home!
What do you do to stay constantly aware of God’s Presence with you in this world of tents?