“Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony — before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony — where I will meet with you.” (Exodus 30:6 NIV84)
This verse refers to the altar of incense. Like the lamps, incense was to be continuously burning within the tabernacle day and night. It was to be a sweet aroma to the Lord. This incense has always symbolically represented the continual prayers of God’s people reaching up to heaven. But in the tabernacle/temple, God’s presence was on the other side of the curtain. He resided in the Holy of Holies, where the ark and the mercy seat were. Moses was instructed to make sure that the altar of incense was out right in front of the curtain where God met with His people.
Where does God meet us today? First, he meets us in our very hearts and souls as the Holy Spirit makes a temple within our hearts. The Lord meets us out in the world through His creation, including other people. How many times has God spoken to us, and touched our lives, through someone else!? More specifically, God meets us in His word and sacraments. When we as the Body of Christ worship together in one mind around God’s word and sacraments, God meets us there. He meets us with His divine power and grace through the read and preached word. He touches our lives through the waters of baptism and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. These are the means He has chosen to use to meet the spiritual needs of His people.
When we go to church, may we expect to meet God there!