Lessons from Building a Temple
I’ve never built a temple… that’s not what I meant by the title, you’ll be extremely disappointed if you ask me anything regarding building quotes, construction project advising and anything else that has to do with building things. Anyways, I’m reading in the Old Testament right now, specifically 1 Kings and currently am at the part where King Solomon is building the temple. Now this was a long awaited project, his father King David wanted to build the temple but couldn’t his kingdom was constantly at war with different nations. But after Solomon was crowned there was a time of peace for the kingdom of Israel. So King Solomon started preparing to build and finish this huge project that his father could never start. 1 Kings chapters 5-8 is all the preparation, building, furnishings and a (long) prayer all about this temple. As I was reading it I honestly was starting to loose interest when all the sudden God showed me something...
The Intricacies of the Temple
I started looking into how much went into this temple project. He found the most skilled workers for crafting the temple, He found and used the most “pure” elements to build with. Solomon had 30,000 laborers, 70,000 carriers, 80,000 stone cutters, 3,300 foreman to supervise and direct workers— this was no small project. The chapters proceeding talked about the intricacies of the temple. It talks about how the temple’s inner sanctuary was overlaid with pure gold, with extended gold chains, and gold tables/alters, statues of high angles in the temple overlaid with gold, carved palm trees and open flowers with hammered gold. I could go on but the point I'm trying to make is that this was the most beautiful, elaborate temple to ever be built.
Solomon's Dedication Prayer
1 Kings 8:27-28 (NIV)
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”
I love this part of Solomon’s dedication prayer. He’s basically saying— “Oh my gosh God, you are so BIG, so GLORIOUS, so HOLY and so MAJESTIC that even the highest heavens can’t handle it! This temple is nothing compared to heaven, it’s so insignificant compared to that! And you listen to my prayers? My pleas, you hear me and pay attention to these too?
1 Kings 8:29 (NIV)
May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’…”
Solomon noted that God declared His name over the Temple. I can just imagine him being like— “How can it be that You would CHOOSE to dwell in this temple, that You [the most holy, glorious, perfect, majestic etc. ] GOD would CHOOSE to have Your presence in this small and insignificant building made by human hands.” Am I the only one that thinks this is crazy? As I was reading this all the sudden I remembered another passage...
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?…”
This is my point: YOU ARE A TEMPLE!
When Jesus was on this earth & died for our sins He shattered the wall between you and God. He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell inside YOU. You are a CHOSEN temple. God saw you and said “My Name shall be there.” You were chosen by God to display His name to all you encounter. God hand-crafted you beautifully,intricately and with His finest elements so that you were made in His image. Even though the highest heavens can’t contain Him, He chose and continually chooses to dwell in you. All of His glory, all His power, all His holiness is dwelling in you. My next question to think about is-- Do you carry and regard yourself in that manner?
You are a living, breathing dwelling place of the most holy God. You, beloved, are a chosen temple. Anyone and everyone that encounters you, is not only encountering a hand-crafted image of God, but they are encountering the dwelling presence of God made manifest in you. Every time you are communing with someone, they are also communing with God. Every time you are with another person, they are also experiencing God in you. Now, how differently would our encounters be with others if we intentionally thought and lived this out?