We are the temple

I woke up early this school morning and put on my pink and white striped slippers and my red robe. They don’t match and they embarrass everyone, but they are my favorite, so the ridicule is worth it. I had another 30 minutes before the boys were up for school, so I started the coffee maker and sat down with my Bible. I have found at the age of 40 that just 30 minutes of Jesus and coffee all by myself goes along way. My Bible opened in 2 Chronicles 1 because I had randomly placed a tie dye spin-art paper there that one of the boys gave me, so random. We are so random at my house with striped slippers and spin art, and 3 dirty boys and I love it.

I was still groggy and thru blurred eyes, I could see the chapter title was on Solomon. I like Solomon and his story of gaining wisdom, so I started reading. This reading felt very familiar, like my childhood Sunday school Bible lessons, but it did not stay familiar for long. I begin by reading that Solomon hears from God in a dream and can ask for anything he wants. As a child, I loved this story because it felt like Solomon was rubbing a lamp and the Genie came out offering 3 wishes. Solomon asks for wisdom to lead God’s numerous people. God gives him wisdom and riches too. Such a great story. I so wish I could rub a lamp like this one. Anyway, after a cup of coffee, I have about 12 minutes before crazy and I decide to keep reading.

Moving into chapter 2, the text becomes less familiar to me, it is sort of like I have new eyes, like it’s a new story to me. I read that Solomon decides to build God’s temple but he is overwhelmed and humbled by the task. Solomon hires master craftsmen and artists and constructs the most elaborate and beautiful home for the Living God. The details are all throughout Chapters 2-4. Once completed, Solomon has a celebration to dedicate the temple. 6:18 struck me, “Will God really live on earth among people? Why even the highest heavens cannot contain You.” Did Solomon have any knowledge of his prophetic words? Did he have any idea the words he was speaking would come to pass, that the Living God would come to live on earth among the people, and eventually come to reside inside His people?

I get the boys on the bus, and then jump back in. I should put on real clothes and ditch the red robe, but this is just too good. In chapter 7, Solomon prays and when he is done, verse 1 states “fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple.” We see that this flaming glory was so great that the priests could not enter the temple and the people fell face down worshipping God. In chapter 5, we learn that there were so many sacrifices on the alter they were too many to count. Take note, this fire of God was so overwhelming, so incredible, that it consumed all the sacrifices, held back the priests, and forced people on their faces. After this encounter with God, then temple is dedicated and set apart for God.

So why would this passage about construction keep me, with my groggy eyes and ugly slippers, so enthralled? Well, I was overwhelmed by the correlation between the story of this temple and the fact that Jesus came and chose us to be his temple, the place where he wanted to reside. After reading of the magnificent furnishings and materials and art that was used to house the Creator of the Universe, he left it all and chose us. HE CHOSE US. WE ARE NOW HIS TEMPLE.

Why, why would he do that? Why would he leave his glorious temple, his glorious heaven with all its riches and reside in these jars of clay? These broken earth suits that wound others and wound him? I am overwhelmed at His choice and it doesn’t make sense. But he did it. He wants to make a home in us, he wants all of Him, with all His glory and power, to reside in us. The same power that consumed those sacrifices on that alter, and held back priests and forced people on their faces, resides in us, if we choose to let Him. The same power that raised Christ from the dead resides in us, if we choose it.

This is shocking and somewhat irreverent isn’t it? That a glorious king would defame himself for those he loves. That’s why, isn’t it? That’s why he did it. For love, incomprehensible love, love that would leave a throne and live as a nomad, love that would leave a banquet table and eat with sinners, love that would leave perfection and touch the dirty and unclean, love that would leave the side of his Father to die a lonely, sinners death, love that would trust his precious gospel to us, love that would reside in a broken piece of pottery.

Scripture is very clear that this is true: Ephesians 2:20 We are HIS HOUSE; v 21 We who believe…are becoming HIS TEMPLE; v 22 we are joined together as part of this dwelling WHERE GOD LIVES by his Spirit.

Eph 3:17 And I pray that Christ will be more and more at HOME in your hearts as you trust him.

Now that we see that we are his temple, we can also experience the powerful filling of the temple that Solomon experienced. This filling is the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit entered believers in the form of fire in Acts at Pentecost. This fire is available to us and is just as powerful as what the people experienced at the temple, it consumes things, and holds back the enemy and puts people on their faces. We just don’t realize we have access to it and that is a problem. Why would God choose to live within us as his temple and not be powerful? It’s as if we think that power is a thing of the past, not for us. But now, he is ever powerful. He said to his disciples that it was better that he leave and send us the Holy Spirit. Even today, even in this jar of clay, he is ever powerful.

Ephesians 3:19-20 “May you experience the love of Christ, then you will be filled with the fullness of life and the POWER that comes from God. Glory be to God! By his mighty POWER at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope!”

Power friends, just like in Solomon’s temple! Do you see the correlation? The temple was built, Solomon prayed, the fire of the Spirit filled the temple and then it was dedicated, set apart. This is what is available to us today! We are his temple, filled with the Spirit and his power, and set apart. In Ephesians 4, Paul talks about our dedication, being set apart for Christ. 4:1 “I beg you to live a life worthy of the calling.”

I have been in church for a long time and heard about the temple many times. I have also heard that I am his temple, but today was different. My heart heard it, as if for the first time. I am his temple, he chose to reside in me, and this changes everything. Despite my humanness, my sin, my brokenness and flaws, God chose me as his temple, he chose me as his home. Friends, if we could just grasp this, just get this, things could change, lives would change, the world would change. God left it all and chose us. We house the living God inside of us, we are the temple of God. If we believed this, how would our prayers change, our behavior? Our faith, our relationships, our choices?

Solomon says in 2 Chronicles 2:6 – “But who can really build Him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him.” He decided we were a worthy home! How would we see his heart for us if we truly believed that we were worth it? We were worth him leaving glory! We were worth the cross! We were worth the suffering! So worth it that he put all his treasure, all his love, all his power in us, these temples!

So let’s live and love like we are worth it!

Ephesians 3:19 “The love of Christ is so great you will never full understand it.”

Psalm 107:43 “Ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.”

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