Just as our earthly parents love to spend time with us at home, our Heavenly Father treasures the time we spend in His presence.
By Clinton Dixon
Recently, my parents came to visit. Ten hours on a plane from New Zealand and they were here. I hadn’t seen them for over seven months. It was an exciting yet humbling experience. They are to me a walking and talking representation of my roots and no amount of climate, country or time zone change could take that fact away. Despite my SOT schedule and my own family commitments, I made a conscious effort to spend time with them and they made a conscious effort to spend time with me. I treasured their presence and they treasured mine.
Similarly, God treasures the time He spends with us. Even way back in Old Testament times, God wanted to spend time with His people and teach them His ways. But because of His holiness, a special dwelling place was needed to host His presence, and the idea of the Tabernacle was birthed. This idea took form and shape as God gave Moses the building plans, complete with uncompromise-able furnishings of precious metals, fabrics, animal skins and wood. And thus the most astonishing structure was built, one that housed the very presence of the Builder of the universe Himself.
Building a dwelling place for God surely had its challenges (“Now do we paint the feature wall red, and will it clash with the temple veil?”). Good thing God gave the people very specific instructions on what to build and how to build it. This was not some half-baked DIY job. When God gets specific, He gets very specific. Forget computer-aided design packages and laser-printed floor plans. When God tells you how it’s to be done, you just get on with the job.
Our study of The Tabernacle filled up Weeks 5 and 6 of SOT. As Pastor Bobby Chaw, dean of SOT carefully guided us through the meanings of the furniture in the Tabernacle, I was struck by how detail-minded God was. Take for example the Altar of Incense, a physical representation of the ministry of prayer and intercession. Made of acacia wood and pure gold, the Altar of Incense was the highest piece of furniture in the sanctuary. The significance of the altar’s height reveals to us how the ministry of prayer is the highest calling for every believer, the key to revival and transformation of nations.
Over the course of my SOT experience, God has been speaking to me about prayer and my prayer life. Inspired by Pastor Bobby and his early morning prayer time, I have begun getting up during the weekday at 5 a.m. to pray. Well, actually I started at 6 a.m. and slowly, over the weeks, wound the alarm back until I hit my 5 a.m. goal (a lot easier said than done). Don’t think for a second that when 5 a.m. rolls around that angels slowly pull my bed covers back, gently carry me out of my bed, place me directly into God’s presence and my prayer time begins. Nothing could be further from the truth! Tiredness, lack of motivation and even the odd lightning strike outside my window (I’m 26 storeys up) is just a short list of the many fleshly challenges I have had to contend with in my newly forged prayer time. Through this, though, God has taught me to overcome the small stuff and focus on the big stuff—and He’s the big stuff.
Weeks 5 and 6 of SOT have taught me that every word of the Bible is significant. No word is wasted and no line lost in the literary economy of God. Just think of the significance He places in us as we desire to spend time with Him. Time is a precious resource—spend it wisely, spend it with God.
Clinton is married to Grace, has two young boys and is fast approaching middle age (but don’t tell anyone else). He hails from the land of the long white cloud—New Zealand—and admits to having very little understanding of The Lord Of The Rings. Through his studies at SOT, he is seeking to find God’s true calling on his life.