Secondly, I hope that all of you understood that I wasn't saying that the love of God isn't His primary goal for and with us! I want us all to be clear that His Love and His Glory are the same thing. One operates in and out of the other and each explode from the center of His being. His love for us IS His Glory! His Love makes His Glory Glorious!!
Yesterday we looked at the Ark entering the Temple. What a par-tay, to say the least! Once that puppy was in place, Solomon gave a speech the people of Israel would not soon forget.
Jump over to 2 Chronicles 6 to read Solomon's prayer of dedication of the temple in it's entirety. I'm going to pull out some stuff for us to chew on and get down into our belief system as we think about being the Temple. (sneak peek: Monday I'll jump to the New Testament for a little "tying the thought strings together")
Before I point out some wicked awesome stuff about this prayer, I want us to read this with Christ Follower eyes.
Think of it this way: The Ark is the Spirit of Christ now seated in the inner place of who we are. After the Ark came, THEN Solomon prays the prayer of dedication. How many people have said they will follow Christ, said they want Him as their Lord, yet never dedicated their life to Him?
Dedicated means consecrated, sold out, being all in, wholly set apart for something. This is what Solomon was doing with the Temple. It is what we get to do all the time, every day if need be. We can have the Ark, the Spirit of Christ fill us up and move in us at all times. We take the action of dedicating ourselves to Him and He does a bang up job of being God in us.
Let's get to Solomon's prayer.
Seriously, go read the whole thing. It's amazing.
Again, apply this to your life as a follower of Jesus.
From 2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16
The first thing off Solomon's lips was recognition of Who God Is.
"O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth - you keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way."
Worship of the Glory of God was the first thing out of Solomon's lips. If I were a bettin' girl I'd bet Solomon knew deeply the love of God. I'm certain he was around his daddy long enough to hear many of those Psalms sung throughout the palace. The love of God was but a breath away for Solomon, thus making the Glory of God that much more glorious! *sigh*
He also knew God was a promise keeper and honored Him for that in verses 16 and 17.
I love Solomon's question in verse 18
"But will God really dwell on earth with men?"
Is that not rich with wonder for us on this side of the cross? Let's walk across the pages of time for a moment and read something GORGEOUS!
You seriously might get chills.
"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
The red line of grace runs rich and deep through the pages of the Word!
YES! God will really dwell on earth with men! We are living proof that He does! Oh, what does that mean for us!???? We'll get to that....hee hee
Okay, back to the prayer.
Solomon knows that what is about to happen is unfathomable and so unreal that he sounds like he was probably dumbfounded when he said the next phrase...
"The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!"
I would tag on, "How much less this body I have walking around in my living room unable to get in the shower until about 4 pm!?"
Still, I pray the next prayer as Solomon did.
"May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there."
Our God is the same forever and if we are the Temple then His Name is forever in us. That thought makes me want to close my eyes and sit a spell.
Go ahead. You can stop reading for a bit. I'll wait.
You back? Okay, me too. Let's continue.
Solomon goes into a long stretch in his prayer about the different circumstances that would bring people to the Temple.
Those who do wrong.
When Israel has had a butt whoopin
When the people sin and come to confess
When the foreigner comes
Each of these is linked with a request: That God would hear, judge, and forgive. That God would listen to His people so that all the peoples of the earth may know His name and fear him.
Do we not do the same? Father, hear my prayers of confession! Hear my prayer for dedication and commitment to you! Hear that I love you and that though I fail you will lift me up! Father, may people know your Name because of my life!
Yes, I think we pray many of the same prayers.
When Solomon finished praying that oh so amazing prayer (you're going to love this)
FIRE CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND CONSUMED THE BURNT OFFERING AND THE SACRIFICES, and......wait for it....
THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE TEMPLE!
Can you imagine that! Fire came down from heaven, lapped up everything and then the glory of God came down. DUDE!
You might enjoy this little piece of New Testament Awesomeness!
There were 11 guys hanging out when..."suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit..."
Yep, New Testament Awesomeness at it's best!
Wanna see another one? okay! "...since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire"
Oh. My. Moses. That is good.
So, the fire came down and swallowed up everything. Now, this is a cause for a chuckle:
"When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, 'He is good; his love endures forever.''
Uh, I bet it was more like they fell down! But, did you catch it: His love endures forever.
Oh yes, they knew the Love of God.
And then they dedicated themselves. You might know the word better if I said it this way:
It was the day the people of God dedicated themselves to His dwelling among them. It was their Hanukkah. Their celebration of His coming to them on earth.
We too can have our Hanukkah. We too can dedicate ourselves to the miracle that God dwells in us. We get the chance to do it every day. It is truly by grace we live and move and have our being.
Have a Happy Hanukkah today and have a great weekend. See you Monday!