We are going to fast forward some years to King David. At this point, the Tabernacle wasn't used much, or at least we don't read about it. We do read much about the Ark of the Covenant and so this is where we begin.
In 2 Samuel 6, David has brought the Ark to Jerusalem. He brings the Ark in with much celebration and excitement and joy! In 2 Samuel 7 we read that David had settled back into being King and all in his pretty palace and it struck him, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent."
I wonder if he was sitting on a terrace eating dates and glanced out into the field and saw it. A tent where the Holy Ark of God sat. I wonder if it looked sort of, you know, lonely? Somewhat cast aside, shrunken against the might of the palace. Whatever it was, David couldn't stand it.
His good friend, the prophet, Nathan told him this, "Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you."
Pretty good advice.
The most spectacular thing is is that David thought this was his idea. I think he may have thought he was doing God a favor by building Him a temple. God decided to clear the air on this subject.
"That night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
'Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?...I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now...I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them...The Lord declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you...your offspring to succeed you..He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.'"
God is pretty darn clear who is in control and who is calling the shots. Not that David's attempt was bad or anything, it's just that, it wasn't David's idea.
You see, God is in the business of making sure that the one thing He loves most is at the forefront of everything. And what is it that He makes sure is championed in everything, you ask?
Two words: His Glory.
Above all things and in all things is found this one thing - His Glory
The reason He does all things and loves in all things is for this one thing - His Glory
At first glance that might sound a bit egotistical, but I think He has the right to it. Let me put it this way and echo the teachings of John Piper.
God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.
We are most satisfied when God is most glorified.
The more we are humbled to the work of God in our lives; the more we rest in His love; the more we understand what it means to house His dwelling, then He will get more and more glory while we gain more and more satisfaction.
It can be no other way. And God knows this.
David could not establish the Temple for God in his own strength and power and creativity. God would be the one to say when and where and by whom the Temple would come about.
Time after time God established His Name, His Glory before He ever showed His love.
Take the freeing of the Israelites from Egypt, for instance. Why did He do that?
Because He loved them.
Yes, but, read what He says to Moses to tell the Israelites about their upcoming freedom.
"Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers has sent me to you. This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."
That name is I AM WHO I AM
His name, His glory. And out of those comes His love. He is Love. He is Glory.
Furthermore, He told them that He would rescue them so that they would know that "I was the Lord God who brought them out from under the yoke of their oppressors."
It goes even further than that. When He told Moses to tell Pharaoh about the upcoming end of slavery He said He was doing all this so that "...the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it." Exodus 7:5
You'll be hard pressed to find that God said He was bringing them out of Egypt because He loved them. Oh, you'll find it later in scripture, but what came out of His mouth to Moses was the passion for His glory.
Why is this so important to us? Because God is the same today. He will reveal His glory first before He lavishes you with His love. Oddly enought, the two are intertwined like lover's fingers. You will be changed by it. Through that Glory you will see and know His love, His Son, and His Spirit.
Are you still with me? Hang on, let's bring this up to the New Testament, shall we? We'll be done in a minute and then I'll leave you to your thoughts!
One other story comes to mind immediately.
This time the glory appeared to some shepherds out in the field.
Luke 2, our famous Christmas pageant narrative shows us the same God doing the same thing. Poor guys were minding their own business when all of the sudden an angel of the Lord appeared to them and scared them to death. Luke adds something you and I will now find interesting.
Chapter 2 verse 9 says it this way, “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”
His glory preceded the revelation of His goodness. Which here, was JESUS!
The angel then continues, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord”
Pretty cool, huh?
One more story comes to mind. This time, Jesus is all grown up and has started His ministry.
John, his beloved disciple, knew who Jesus was. He knew that Jesus was the great I AM. So, he writes in his book about Jesus this: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 emphasis mine)
“We have seen his glory…” When? What did He do? What did He say? He said much and did much. Slide over with me to chapter two of John.
Jesus has gathered up His first disciples and they were invited to a wedding. How fun! Girls love to parade off to weddings and drag the men. I wonder if it was the same back then too. Did Jesus go because he was just so darn nice? Some things are reserved for answering when we see Him. Regardless of the want to go or not, Jesus went, His new friends went, and…His mother.
Throughout the celebration, the poor partiers ran out of wine. Quick, like mom’s are, and always wanting to show off their kid’s talents, Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus said.
Jesus said to the servants (maybe with a sigh and a gleam in His eye) “Fill the jars with water… Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” Wouldn’t you know, it was wine. And darn good wine at that!
John 2:11 gives us the inside scoop. “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee.” Here it comes…
“He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.”
His glory preceded revelation. He started with Glory and then lavished on the Love.
He didn’t even come right out and say anything. Here’s something else, He revealed that glory to some servants and a couple of no name guys who decided to follow Him. He hasn’t changed a bit. He continues to reveal His glory to the most unlikely in the most unlikely places.
Back to David. God has made it very clear that His Temple is His Temple. But, there is great joy in seeing that He uses broken, fumbling, wishy-washy people to accomplish such a task.
Funny, He's still doing it today.
Just think about it for awhile as you consider that you are now the Temple.