Good News for A Lonely World: The Message of Exodus 21-40

Good News for a Lonely World
Good News for a Lonely World: The Message of Exodus 21-40

A recent headline from an article by Dr. Keith Ablow declared, “Loneliness is Now More Deadly than Obesity.  And We Don’t Have a Plan to Reduce it.”[1]  He cites findings presented at the recent American Psychological Association conference asserting that, “social isolation, loneliness or living alone was each a significant factor contributing to premature death.”

We live in a paradoxical time in which we are surrounded by others and inundated nearly every moment with so-called “social” media, yet recent studies show that people feel more isolated and lonely than ever before, and it’s killing us.  One only needs to observe a sea of people checking their smartphones in a crowded restaurant to know that we bring many of our feelings of loneliness upon ourselves, but the reality is that the solution may be deeper than simply downgrading to an old-school flip phone.  This is but a symptom to a deeper problem.

Loneliness may be brought about through circumstances – a newly-empty house, a recent breakup, or years of living alone.  But many, who are surrounded by people all day long, feel as palpable a loneliness as those who are not.  What if our loneliness comes not primarily through circumstance, but from a brokenness we cannot fix on our own?

I believe the message of the second half of the book of Exodus (Chapters 21-40) is good news for those living lives of isolation and loneliness, even while surrounded by community.  From the giving of the law (21-24), to the provision of the tabernacle (25-27), to the establishment of the priesthood (28-30), to the revelation of God’s character (31-34), to the confirmation of His covenant promises (34-39), to the descending glory of God in the midst of the people (40); Exodus 21-40 redounds with the good news that God makes provision to be with His people, and this is good news for a lonely world.

Rather than leaving His people to figure out life on their own, God makes a way to move into the neighborhood and take up residence with us!  In the Gospel of John, we’re told that in Jesus, God “became flesh and made his dwelling (‘tabernacled’) among us,” so that we would see “His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”  (John 1:18)

Today, Jesus has given us His Spirit to build up His church as the very place where he would live (Eph. 2:22), promising to always be with us even “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).  Far from feeling forever alone, those who belong to Jesus by faith can experience the presence of God even now, which the Psalmist declares brings the “fullness of joy” (Ps. 16:11).

Join us this week at Calvary, as we begin a three-month journey through the second half of the book of Exodus, considering the good news for a lonely world, the good news of “God with Us!”