Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? James 4:5 (NIV)
Recently, I reread Alice Hoffman’s novel The Dovekeepers. This novel follows the paths of four Jewish women during the Roman occupation of Israel in ancient times. Hoffman’s work is deep, lyrical, mystical and moving. Like most great works of fiction, there is fundamental truth running within and beyond the story.
One of the terms referenced in the novel is the Shechinah. The Shechinah is a Hebrew word that refers to God’s Spirit. In seminary, we were taught that this Spirit was the feminine aspect of God, and indeed, Shechinah is feminine in form.
However, in doing a bit of research (because I’m a total nerd) I found that Shechinah is much more than a manifestation of God’s Spirit.
One Bible reference site defines Shechinah as the “visible majesty of the divine presence”. It is the cloud that led the people of Israel through the wilderness and settled over the Tabernacle of the Lord. It is the essence of God that dwelt on the mercy seat between the cherubim in Solomon’s Temple.
More than that, Shechinah is the literal embodiment of God’s divine presence dwelling within us. Rabbi Tavi Freeman describes the Schechinah as the Spirit of God who “comes to Earth to rescue our spirits from their shells of darkness” and “to reconnect them to their source above…”
Shechinah is God With Us.
Think about that for a minute. Shechinah is God With Us.
As a Jesus girl, I sometimes forget that I have the Spirit of God dwelling within me. My rational mind brushes it away, my schedule buries it under mounds of “stuff to do” or I’m just so unfocused I can’t clearly see, hear or appreciate this wondrous gift of God within me.
James 4:5 reminds me that God jealously longs for me to wake up to the fact that his Spirit–the Shechinah glory–is right there inside of me. God placed his Spirit inside me (inside you) for a reason–so that we would never be separated from him again.
When we allow God’s Spirit to move through us, we have a source of power far beyond any earthly feat of engineering. We have access to the Spirt that breathed life into creation and raised people from the dead. We have access to the Spirit that holds all truth, wisdom and understanding. We have access to the Spirit that gave itself up on the cross in order that we might stand blameless before the throne of God.
Think of what we might do if we fully allowed God’s Shechinah glory to work within our lives. Think of the difference we could make in this world if we truly embodied the spirit of God!
God longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell within you.
This week, open yourself up to the Shechinah. Invite God’s Spirit to move within you–guiding your steps and lighting your paths. Reconnect to this internal power source so that the light of God’s love might shine in our world.
Blessings and Peace,