Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Temple

I'm still reading through the bible. Currently I am in the 7th chapter of 2 Chronicles. Solomon has built the temple that his father David had wanted to build. The king and his people have prayed and celebrated and praised the Lord as His glorious Presence entered and filled the space. They have been together worshiping for 7 days and finally on the 8th day, Solomon sends them home, "joyful and glad in heart."

Then we come to verse 11 and following:
So Solomon finished the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do in the construction of the Temple and the palace. Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart."
I have heard those verses about "if my people who are called by my name..." so many times. Usually the emphasis is on the humbling and seeking and turning. I don't believe I have ever remembered the context. The people weren't in trouble here. They had just had a week long, incredible celebration in the Presence of the Almighty God. And that same God knew what would happen to His people. He knew what they were capable of. So He was reminding their leader about the purpose of that special place.

This all happened in the Old Testament. That temple that Solomon built is no longer there, but there is a new temple. Paul talked about it to the church in Corinth: God's temple is holy and we (believers) are that temple.

Now look back at what the Lord told Solomon about the temple: all that can apply to you. His ears will be attentive to every prayer made in His temple (you). He has chosen His temple and set it (you) apart to be holy. It (you) are a place where His name will be honored forever. He will always watch over it (you), for it (you) are dear to His heart.

Did you hear that? You are dear to God's heart and He will always watch over you. And that's the reason that we should do all that humbling and praying and seeking and turning. I don't want to break God's heart. I would rather He smile while He is watching over me.

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