Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, June 23

“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
—John 14:23

The Greek word for “dwell” that is usually translated in this passage as “make our home with” apparently more literally means “pitch our tent among.” First-century Palestinian Jews were a people whose heritage for centuries had been nomadic and pastoral—desert communities on the move, putting up their dwelling tents wherever grazing land and water could be found for their flocks. In their experience, one traditionally made one’s home by pitching one’s tent. If God were to come and abide among them, God would pitch his own tent near the tents of the people.

In fact, there are deeper resonances with the notion of God dwelling in a tent near his people. During the Sinai wandering of the Israelites, Moses set up “the tent of meeting” outside the camp, and “everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting.”(Exodus 33:7)

I like this image. Even though we are no longer a nomadic people in the sense that the ancient Palestinians were, we are certainly still a people on the way, a pilgrim people far from home. And Jesus’ promise that he and the Father will dwell among us— will “make their home with us” if we love Him - still carries rich connotations of that mysterious Tent of Meeting and those desert tents that went with the people wherever they went.

This image and this promise remind us that while we are yet far from home, God is not just the distant goal of our journey, but is with us while we travel. God not only directs our journey but shares it with us, pitching a Tent of Meeting, an opportunity for encounter, near us. No matter where we are.

God of all our wanderings, you have promised to dwell among us, to pitch your tent near ours. May we know your presence with us. May we love you and seek your ways.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.