Day One: Peace Through God’s Presence
“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Matthew 11:28).
When Jesus gave this promise to His followers, He was not referring to sleep. No, He was referring to rest for the soul (v. 29). Another word for this is peace. Some people look for peace in their bank account or their social media followers. Others rely on substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs.
However, there is only one place where we can find real peace—God’s presence. This has been true since Creation. The Garden of Eden was a complete paradise, and Adam and Eve experienced perfect peace in the presence of God. When they sinned, this peace was instantly disrupted. Genesis 3:8 says, “They hid from the Lord God among the trees,” but they could not hide from the consequences of their actions. Their spirits died, and they no longer experienced God’s presence in the same way.
God could have given up on humanity, but He didn’t. In fact, the entire story of the Bible is God reestablishing a relationship with His most beloved creation.
After Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, God said, “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them” (Exodus 25:8). This Tabernacle consisted of several rooms, the most special of which was the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place was separated from the rest of the structure by a thick curtain, and inside was the Ark of the Covenant, where the presence of God dwelled.
When the Tabernacle was finished, the Lord’s glory filled it (Exodus 40:34). However, only the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place. Many years later, King Solomon built a Temple for the Lord, but access to the Most Holy Place was still strictly limited.
The moment Jesus died on the cross, “the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). This was an incredibly significant event. Jesus’s sacrifice not only paid the price for everyone’s sin, but it also removed the barrier between humanity and God. No longer was access to God’s presence restricted to one man. According to 1 Peter 2:9, every believer is a priest, and we can all “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Hebrews 4:16).
Some people come to church because they expect to find God there. It is true that He is present where His people gather (Matthew 18:20), but God does not dwell in a building. Instead, He dwells in the new Most Holy Place—the believer’s heart.
Father God, we praise You for loving us so much that You want to dwell with us as a Father with His children. Even though we cannot hide from the storms of life, we know that You are always with us, and in Your presence, we find peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.