Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34
God’s desire has always been to dwell with his people. Here at the end of Exodus, we see a glimpse of God dwelling with his people—the first time since the Garden of Eden, but it had been an ordeal.
After God’s people left Egypt, God expressed his long-held desire to Moses, “Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). However following the incident with the golden calf Moses had to move the Tent of Meeting “some distance” from the camp (33:7). Sin had broken their relationship with God.
Moses interceded for the people. “‘Lord,’ he said, ‘if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance’” (34:9). God granted Moses request. God’s desire to dwell with his people was so strong that he was prepared to deal with the sin problem. Instead of removing his Presence from the sinner he removed the sin. It’s a picture of what Jesus would do to solve the sin problem for good.
The tabernacle was built. It represented not only the place where God dwelt among them but also the place where God forgave.
It was a long journey from the Garden to this point and an even longer journey to Pentecost where God would dwell with his people through his Holy Spirit. And the final fulfilment is still future, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).