Today’s reading in my read through the Bible in a year plan is Genesis 27:41-28:9; 2 Chronicles 4; Psalm 30; and Luke 7 (I am trying to read through Luke 4-5x in 3 months for preaching purposes).
As I finished reading 2 Chronicles 4, I had to reread the last 5 or so verses. Not because they stood out to me as so amazing, but because I was having a hard time focusing in on them. I was thinking “I need to get moving on in my reading in Luke…” rather than focusing in on the passage.
Yes, even pastors struggle with focusing while reading their Bible.
Let me give you some background for my thoughts before I give you my thoughts.
I am working back through a couple of fiction novels that one of my professors at Moody Bible Institute wrote. These books outline a fictional “post-apocalyptic” time where no knowledge of the Bible remains, technology is about medieval quality, and superstitions run rampant. The hero of the story finds a Latin copy of our Sacred Scriptures and seeks to translate them for “scholarly insights.” I will not give any more of the story away to you, but I highly recommend buying these books by Dr. Bryan Litfin.
The second background to my thoughts this morning is I read through the latest issue of The Voice of the Martyrs. Christians are being persecuted, imprisoned, and killed across the globe for following Jesus Christ, reading the Scriptures, and telling others about Him. In the back of the issue there were pictures of Christians who are currently imprisoned, and it has their names and the charges against them. It was a good reminder of how to pray for other believers. I highly recommend subscribing to the Voice of the Martyrs.
Alright, now here is my thought:
A Great God deserves a great place of worship.
The Greatest God deserves the greatest place of worship.
My thoughts come from the fact that 2 Chronicles 4 lists the furnishings of the temple which Solomon built for the Lord. Here is how the chapter finishes:
“All these things that Solomon made amounted to so much that the weight of the bronze could not be calculated. Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in God’s temple: the golden altar; the tables on which was the bread of the Presence; the lampstands of pure gold with their lamps, to burn in front of the inner sanctuary as prescribed; the gold floral work and lamps and tongs (they were solid gold); the pure gold wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers, and the gold doors of the temple; the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and the doors of the main hall” (2 Chron. 4:18-22).
This chapter has been over 20 chapters in the making.
1 Chronicles 13 is a failed attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, with chapter 15 being the successful time, with over 860 people as part of the procession and process. Not only that, but there was dancing, praise, and “seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed” (1 Chron 15:26). David was so joyful about this whole ordeal that he danced wildly before the Lord.
But David’s joy was short lived. “Here I am, living in a house of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord is under a tent” (17:1). But David was unable to make the temple to house the Ark of the Covenant because he was a man of much bloodshed and warfare.
Chapters 18-20 are accounts of wars which David had, where God gives him victory (just as was promised in 17:7-14), but in chapter 21 David gets a little antsy.
He takes a census to make sure that he has enough men to withstand any warfare. This demonstrated that his trust was in man-power rather than God for victory.
God punishes him for this, but then mercifully relents, and in the field where God relents, David builds an altar. It is on this very spot where Solomon builds the temple (2 Chron. 3:1). The chapters between 1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Chronicles 4 are all about the preparations for the temple, whether it be workers, supplies, or who will be King when the temple is built.
All that to say, the build-up to the temple is a long story!
Because the temple was where God’s very presence was promised to stay and reside. That was where the people would worship Him!
But that temple was destroyed in 586 BC, and the second (even greater!) temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
So where is the greatest temple for this greatest of all Gods?!?!
It is wherever Christians meet!
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
Believers, you are the temple of God. You (the Greek here is plural) together make it.
This is why the best thing to call where you worship is a “church house.” It is the house of worship, and the building in which the church gathers. The building is not a church. It is a house. What makes the church is the people. Wow.
God chose to make his dwelling place in his people. Why, for they are the pinnacle of all creation. Greater by far than any building.
That is my thoughts (and explanation of 1 Chronicles!) for this morning. If you want to talk about this more, hit me up!