"Just like me, they long to be close to you," sang Karen Carpenter. It is also the revealed heart-cry of God in Exodus 25. Here, He requests offerings from those who are so moved — offerings of gold, silver, bronze, and other expensive items. Does God want to go on a shopping spree? No, He wants to build a home.
"Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them," He says in verse 8. All along, God’s wish has been to be with His children. If you’re a parent with grown children — especially if they live far away from you — you know this wish all too well. It’s something that doesn’t go away. Having just gone through a holiday season where I wished I could have spent a lot of time with my own siblings and their families, I feel like I have once again touched God's heart in this area.
God may be the all-powerful Sovereign of the universe, but He has this desire for intimacy with His creatures just as we have the desire for intimacy with those we love. He wants to live with us. He wants to see us, and He is out to make any arrangements He can to accomplish His goal. He’s like an estranged parent who has gone to court to fight for custody — even just visitation! — of His children. He just wants to be with us.
Not only does He intend to live in this sanctuary that the Israelites are going to build, but He is planning something even more intimate: "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you." (vs 22) Once again, God’s heart is exposed on His sleeve. Yes, we have done Him wrong. Yes, we have been nasty to Him. Yes, we have prostituted ourselves to other gods. But God can’t hold a grudge. He can’t help Himself. He just wants to be close to us.