We have the inestimable privilege of responding to what God has already done. But just who is this God, anyway?
We could spend the rest of our lives thinking through that question and never fully finish. However, He has revealed much about Himself to us through the Bible. One of the things that we can know for certain is that God wants a relationship with His creation. In fact, He does not simply want a relationship; He ardently desires it. He passionately pursues it. His desire to be with us is woven throughout scripture.
It was there from the beginning. In the paradise of Eden, the first humans experienced God’s presence as He walked with them there. He met them there again immediately after they chose to disobey, and, although we tend to focus on His judgment on them, His desire to remain with them is unmistakable. He made clothes for them and gave them the promise of the One who would land the decisive blow on the serpent (Genesis 3:15, 21).
Later, God promised Abraham that He would use his descendants to bring blessing to the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3), and when those descendants numbered enough to make a nation, God delivered them from slavery. Notice what God told them before He delivered them: “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians (Exodus 6:7). Once they were out of slavery and were receiving God’s commands, He reminded them, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them” (Exodus 29:45). His commands were not arbitrary; they were guidelines so that He could be among them!
Later, as the Israelites slipped into sin, God sent Jeremiah to warn them of coming disaster. They would be sent into captivity because of their sin, but their story would not end. God Himself would act: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
Jeremiah was not the only prophet to mention this idea. So did Ezekiel (36:28), Hosea (2:23), and Zechariah (8:8), among others. In the New Testament, Paul referenced it (2 Corinthians 6:16), as did the writer of Hebrews (8:10). God’s desire to be among His people will not be deterred!
We should be amazed by His tenacity. He will not go away, and in the end, He will have what He has sought: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:3-5). In the end, we will find that God has accomplished His purposes, restored all things, and made it so that He can be with us as He desired for all eternity.
Who is this God? We can say this much for certain: He is the God who wants to be with us.
Do you recognize God’s desire to have a relationship with you? Have you started that relationship? Please leave your comments or questions on Facebook!