If you love somebody, what you long for more than anything else is that person’s presence with you. Photos are a comfort. Telephone calls, emails and texts are nice. Letters are good. Skype and FaceTime are great ways to communicate. Yet nothing can compare to actually spending time with them in person.

What Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden when they sinned was the presence of God. Even more than possessing the law, the distinguishing feature of Israel was God’s presence with them. The temple was not primarily a place of sacrifice but a place of God’s presence. The exile was such a disaster for the people of God because they were away from God’s presence.

God promised to be in the midst of his people again. This promise was fulfilled with the coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In each of the passages for today we see the significance of the promise of the presence of God.