What makes a “temple” a “Temple”?

Solomon's Temple

1 Kings 5-6 in the Bible are dedicated to a description of Solomon building the temple. The Jewish temple – “God’s temple” – was beautifully furnished and lavishly prepared – read the description of it in these two chapters. But it certainly was not a place where all of Israel could gather for worship at one time – not what we think of as a “house of worship” (it wasn’t large enough for that, being only about 90 feet long and 30 feet wide) It was rather a place for sacrifice and a place where the Living God manifested His presence among His people.

Now there is a very important lesson to be learned from that fact, it seems to me! We build “houses of worship” – buildings dedicated to religious purposes. In some cases we even have the audacity to call them “temples!” It seems to me, if the presence of the Living God is not manifest – if He is not present in a very real way – if God’s presence is not sensed in those structures, they are simply “bricks and mortar” – simply another building.

It’s interesting to me that embedded in the very middle of the description of the temple’s construction in 1 Kings 5-6 you have this very significant brief paragraph…

“Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, ‘Concerning this house that you are building… If you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel!’” (1 Kings 6:11-13)

Did you pick up on it? What made the “temple” that Solomon was building a “Temple”? The Presence of the Living God! And what brought the Presence of God? The obedient, devoted lifestyle of God’s people!

Listen, when we gather together for worship… wherever that may be, I want the Presence of the Living God to be manifest – to be present – to be sensed… Don’t you?! Oh may we live in such a way that these two New Testament verses can be fulfilled among us…

“For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them!” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 18:20)

And then these words of Apostle Paul to a bunch of Gentile believers… “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord! In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit!” (Ephesians 2:19–22)

O God, may it be so… may it be so!!

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