When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
“But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!
2 Chronicles 6:18
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “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.
Two homes sold quickly on our street this week. “Under Contract” signs were already up before I realized my neighbors were long gone. I try to keep up with the comings and goings around here, but it seems like new residents are heading our way all the time. Regrettably, in recent years, I’ve stopped asking, “Who’s moving in?” To be fair, I’m hospitable and friendly with people on my block. But for now, I typically pray the new neighbors will be nice and go about my day.
Our church is talking about heaven these days, and how I engage as a neighbor on earth got me thinking. Today’s passages raise the bar way higher than I’m functioning now. As Psalm 8:3-4 turns my eyes upward, I wonder how well I really know God. I mean, how much do I grasp His character and commitment to His creation? And, given that 2 Chronicles 6:18 is clear that God’s majesty is beyond what any building can contain, how close to Him can I truly get? The fact is, if I keep operating the way I do with my earthly neighbors, it’s unlikely that I’m ready for a heavenly encounter close to home.
No matter how near to God I want to be, the bigger question is, “How close does God intend to get to you and me?” There’s a thread throughout Scripture that culminates in Revelation 21:3. The Lord’s plan is to dwell with His people in heaven and on earth. This is magnificent (and intimidating) news. And just in case you missed it, let’s make sure it’s clear. Who’s moving in? God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. Get ready to meet your newest neighbor.
The Message version of John 1:1 says:
“The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
While being neighbors with God may seem daunting, you can get to know the heart of the heavenly Father through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The gospels reveal God’s character through the life, ministry, and sacrifice of His Son.
Reflect on the nature of God through today’s passages or dig into the gospel of John. Journal and/or talk with a friend about these two questions:
- What will it be like for you to live with the Lord in heaven and on earth?
- How do you feel as you consider how close God wants to get to you?