“Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever!”
I Kings 8:13
Growing up my neighbors would tell us that they were going to Temple. I never really thought about what that meant, but it seemed special and different. I never stopped to think about what they did when they went to Temple. They were Jewish and followed their customs of going to Temple on the days they were called to go. In our reading today, we learn about the temple that Solomon built.
What is a temple? Reading the first books of the Bible we see that the temple is a place to worship and offer sacrifices to God. The sacrifices were made so that the people could be ceremonially clean and holy before God.
This is true of the temple, but the temple served a fundamental purpose…it’s main purpose is that it is where God lives. It is God’s resting place. It is where God dwells among humans. It is the place where heaven meets earth. The temple is where God lives.
This is hard to understand because we have the belief that God is everywhere. So, if God is everywhere all the time, how can He live in the temple?
Have you ever been out in nature and felt the overwhelming presence of God? Maybe it was watching the sun rise or set? Maybe it was on a clear night looking up at the moon and the stars? Or maybe it was standing at the edge of the ocean and watching the waves roll in and out? You stand there overwhelmed by the mystery of how all of this is possible. This is the glory of the Lord. The glory of the Lord is always with us and surrounding us. Even when we are distracted and don’t notice it, God’s glory is always there.
When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord.
1 Kings 8:10-11
Here is the part that is hard to understand. How can all of that glory of the Lord (the sunsets, sun rises, twinkling stars, rolling waves) all fit in a temple? How could God live in a house?
This is one of the amazing things about God. He can be present in more than one place. But, for the people of the Old Testament, the temple was their place where God was especially present.
God desires to know us and He wants us to know Him. He desires it so much that he had a house built among His people (the temple) so He could be near them. And also, so they could be near him.
This is God’s greatest desire, to be close to us. We no longer live in the days of the Old Testament. The people did not yet have the gift of Jesus or the Holy Spirit so they had to visit the temple to be close to God. We now have the incredible gift of Jesus and the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. We have become the temple of the Holy spirit.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…
1 Corinthians 6:19
God is dwelling among us. We get let God shine through us for others to witness. Until He returns we are His temple.