Thursday, June 6, 2013

Building the Temple

Shortly after God adopted Israel as His own by bringing them out of slavery in Egypt, He gave them the plans to build an earthly Tabernacle, a Tent of Meeting. It was the place where His presence dwelt and where the Israelites could come to sacrifice and meet with Him. It was quite an extravagant "Tent," which you can read about in the Old Testament book of Exodus.

Until the reign of King David, the Tabernacle was in use as God's home.After making his own home in Jerusalem, David desired to build a more permanent structure for God to dwell on earth. But because his life was littered with war and bloodshed, God promised David that his son, Solomon, would build the Temple instead.

Because of his love for God, and desire to be a part of establishing the Temple, David gave much of his personal treasure to fund the future Temple. 1 Chronicles 22 says that David gave 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver and too much bronze, iron, timber and stone to count.

One talent was about 75 pounds, which means that David donated 7.5 million pounds of gold. At today's market value, he donated more than $150 billion dollars in gold and silver.

After David died, Solomon began  the task of building the Temple. It tells us in 2 Chronicles 2 that 80,000 people worked in the rock quarry shaping the stone (for both his house and the Temple), and another 70,000 bore the burdens (i.e., they carried the finished stone to the Temple sight). Out of respect for God, none of the stone work was done on the Temple mount.

They spent seven years building the Temple.

All of this is background for what happened next. When the Temple was finally complete, they threw a big dedication party.

2 Chronicles 7:1-2 says, "When Solomon finished praying, a bolt of lightning out of heaven struck the Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices and the Glory of God filled The Temple. The Glory was so dense that the priests couldn't get in - God so filled The Temple that there was no room for the priests!"

Did you catch that? The Glory of God was so thick that the priests couldn't get in the Temple.

Fast forward to you. If you believe in Jesus, the Temple is now located in your heart. What does your Temple look like? How much of your time, resources and blood, sweat and tears do you spend making sure the Temple is the most beautiful place for God to reside?

The good news is that He will clean it up, we just have to dedicate our lives to allowing Him to do His good work. The bad news is that a battle is being actively waged to keep your Temple broken and bruised. Even this week I've felt the onslaught of the enemy seeking to widen cracks, cave in the roof and board up the windows to keep the Light out.

If we want a thick Glory of God, we must actively pursue righteousness, actively renew and restore our spirits. It's a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Once you've seen the Glory of God, nothing else satisfies.

What would your life look like if you lived that way?