What makes a “temple” really a “temple”? … God’s presence!

Solomons temple exteriorSolomon's temple interior

I’ve been in some big, beautiful homes… did you get that?  Big AND beautiful!  I guess you could add the word impressive!  Places that leave you speechless – or at least uttering a breathless, “Wow!”

Can you think of the most impressive home you’ve ever been in?

Let me just say though, they didn’t hold a candle to the ancient house King Solomon built for God in Jerusalem – God’s house – the Jewish Temple.  I’ve been reading about it in the Bible during my devotions…

But Solomon’s temple was really much too small for God!  In fact, Solomon acknowledged as much, He said, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18)

How about beautiful?   Was it richly and elegantly furnished?  You bet!  In fact, David, Solomon’s father, spent a lifetime gathering the precious stones, metals, and materials for God’s house in Jerusalem!  “David said, ‘Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands!  Therefore, I will make preparation for it.’  So David provided materials in great quantity before his death…’  He declared, ‘The palace will not be for man but for the Lord God!  So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones and all sorts of precious stones and marble.  Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God!’” (1 Chronicles 22:5; 29:1-3)  Oh, believe me, it was jaw-dropping beautiful… But it was a mere pittance compared to the riches and glory of the One who created all the gold, diamonds and precious things that have filled the world for all time!

Here’s what God told Solomon, “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all 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 YOU AND WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU!” (1 Kings 6:12)

Hey, if you go to the trouble of building a “house for God” – regardless of its size or beauty – what good is it if God does not reveal Himself or dwell there?  In fact, a small, modest house of worship – even just a couple of sincere, redeemed followers of Jesus – gathered together anywhere in the world in Jesus’ name, can become a “temple” – a place where the Living God reveals himself!  Apostle Paul declared to a bunch of gentile Christians, “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 Him, the whole structure is being joined together and 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)

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