We have been talking about spending time in God's presence. Tonight in our Zoom Bible Study we will dig deeper, for now I just wanted to point out a quick bit that caught my eye.
In yesterday's reading we watched as 120 preists had this filling experience. They were singing and praising God because the King had finished the temple building project and God's presence was clearly there.
“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. 2 Chr 5:13-14
Then in today's reading we hit the stuff we preached through last Sunday (You can get that message from the homepage this week.)
7 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 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.” 2 Chr 7:1-3
Okay. Those are similar bits and yet I think I may see a progression.
Yesterday, when the preists encounter the Presence of God in the temple we are told "the preists could not perform their service." All of the work, all the sacrfices, all the axiety, insecurity, duty, wisdom, training, performances, everything is laid bare and they are left in the glory, the presence, the temple and without anything but the overwelhming humility that comes when you come to the temple to "serve" and instead find yourself on your face basking in the GOOD LOVE of God.
And then in today's reading...when the preists can't even get in to do the things that everyone would normally think of as, service, discipleship, etc...the people have the same experience.
Today we live in a world of spiritual noise, everyone and their sister has an idea or an interpretation of God...(we all are tempted to serve and be seen doing the shiney stuff) and then once we are the keepers of our own understanding then we tend to either serve or we fight within that idea or interpretation, over time it becomes easy to see our interpretations and services as what makes us worthy and God pleased...so we use them to build walls and fences that keep others away and make us feel like experts, but then the natural consequence is that the idea that God is Good and Love endures forever rarely gets past the preists. The people seem to "know" that to get God's love you must jump through the hoops...the rituals, the services, the sacrifces. You have to find someone special, a king, a prophet, a judge, a seer, perhaps through their service and efforts you will hear what God expects.
But...wow...that's not how the temple works. In the temple we are present with the presence. In the temple we need not serve, in the temple there is no male or female, no jew or gentile, no experts or theologians, in the temple we have eyes to see that before God we the people regarless of our roles or positions are invited unto glory. In the temple our egos and false bits are burned away when we are willing and we know that we are loved and called to be love. I reminded of two scriptures. I just paste them below and then wait to see if the comments warrent more discussion.
14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Cor 3:14-16
And then this one...
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Pe 2:8-10
You are the people, you are the preists, you are the temple, you are the body, you are to be filled with the goodness and lovingkindness of God in such a way that makes room for all. Keep reading