The other day I was watching a court case. The judge said to the defendant, “You quit paying the loan in the same month the divorce was final.” The defendant remarked, “What a coincidence!” The judge replied, “This is not coincidence.”
My response to the many things that are connected in the Bible is “This is not a coincidence.” For example, take the place where Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem. It just happens to be the same place that Abraham placed his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him in obedience to God’s command. Just at the moment of ultimate testing, God provided a ram in Isaac’s place. It also just happens to be the same spot where David offered a sacrifice to ask God for mercy for his people. He refused to accept Araunah’s threshing floor without paying for it so that his sacrifice was meaningful. There is a connection between all three events. The first two were illustrations of the last. The Bible is full of such connections that are not coincidence.
Take for example the day that Moses inaugurated the Tabernacle in the wilderness; it happens to be one year to the day of the exodus from Egypt. God is a God of order and design, “Then the Lord said to Moses: "Set up the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month” (Exodus 40:1-2). The incident is not a coincidence but a culmination of God’s work in the lives of Israelites to this point.
On this day Moses set the tent up and placed each piece of furniture in the tent. He initiated each piece as to its function. For example, he placed the Ten Commandments in the Ark. He placed the bread on the table; he lit the lamp; he burned incense and offered a sacrifice on the altar. When everything was done, they waited for God to respond, and God did respond, “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).
Moses and the people stared at the tabernacle in disbelief. The whole thing radiated with God’s presence and the full weight of his glory. It was as if the tent pulsated with the radiation of God’s power. The Tabernacle glowed with God’s glory, so much so that Moses could not enter.
It is interesting that the book of Exodus ends with these words:
“In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out — until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels” (Exodus 40:36-38).
God was both transcendent and immanent. He was both unapproachable, and yet he was accessible through his priests and sacrifices. Most importantly, God promised to be with his people. God didn’t deliver the people from Egypt to leave them stranded in the wilderness. He wanted a relationship with them. In all their travels God would be with them every step of the way. Jesus has made that same promise to each of us who have received him as our savior:
“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). No matter what you are going through this week, remember that Jesus is with you even to the end of the world.