A Habitation of God

...You are God's building - I Corinthians 3:9

   One day as king David sat in his beautiful cedar house, he began to think about the incongruity of his and God’s housing arrangements. Here David was living in grandeur, when the object of his adoration only had a mere curtained tent. So David proposed to build God a house, too. He consulted with the prophet, Nathan, who concurred; after all it was a logical proposal.
     Then God spoke to the prophet and answered David, saying,
     “You’re going to build Me a house to dwell in?” said the God that fills the universe with His smile. “I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places where I have walked with all the children of Israel, when did I say to them, ‘Why haven’t you built Me a house of cedar?” (II Samuel 7:1-7).
     In other words, David, God is saying that He enjoyed camping.

     However, God gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 21:2); that is, sometimes He puts the desire for things He wishes to accomplish in us, and then He fulfills those desires for His purposes. Thus the desire to build a house for God originated from the Father, because in this instance God was beginning to convey to David the concept of establishing a house, a kingdom that would endure forever.

     David was awestruck when God declared that He would build David a house – (II Samuel 7:11). It would be through David’s seed that a house for the name of the Lord would be built, and “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (Verse 13).
     While God is referring to David’s son, Solomon, we know that this is also a prophecy of the establishment of the eternal kingdom of the Messiah who would be a descendent of David (Matthew 1:1-17).
     So we have a prophecy of the establishment of two houses, one is a literal temple made with human hands, and another spiritual house not made with hands, built by God Himself.

     And so the building project begins. Solomon built God a magnificent temple, an awesome structure for the purpose of glorifying God; a tangible symbol of the glory of God’s presence among His people – but it was still just a building constructed by frail, fallible human hands. The years passed by, Solomon fell into sin, and so did his people after him resulting in the Babylonian captivity and God’s magnificent temple was reduced to smoke and ashes in the wake of His people’s rejection of Him and His ways. The glorious structure became a mere ruin in the darkness.

     Seventy years of captivity purged the Jews of their idolatry and once again God paved the way for a second temple to be built and for the second time in the eyes of His people the God who fills the universe was no longer homeless.
     This was the edifice that remained when the promise God made to David was fulfilled and Jesus the Messiah, the Lion from David’s tribe of Judah walked the land. He taught within the walls of that temple and performed mighty miracles to testify that the Kingdom of God that would never end had indeed arrived. Yet, the people sinned again, and rejected their Redeemer because they had become accustomed to kingdoms made with human hands and could not see with wisdom; only the house that God builds can last forever.

     As a testimony of this truth, Jesus prophesied that their rejection of Him would cause their temporal kingdom's demise, for they did not know the time of their visitation and their house would be left to them desolate ( Luke 19:44, Matthew 24:38). Forty years later, this second temple was demolished as prophesied and was rendered a mere ruin in the darkness.
     But this time God was not homeless. He has set up His residence in the hearts, minds and souls of His children who believed and received Him through the Messiah Jesus, the Son of the Living God. Through faith in Jesus’ atoning death and His resurrection from the dead, the barriers to God’s true domain were eliminated; the thick walls of sin that barred His entrance were demolished and removed. And God through His Spirit moved in as He had said – “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people,” (II Corinthians 6:16). There would no longer be a need for another temple where animals were sacrificed for sins, for the holy blood of the Lamb of God, provided the final sacrifice (Isaiah 53:5).

     Don’t ever act as if you didn’t know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (II Corinthians 3:16), by referring to a building made with human hands as “God’s house.” Don’t mistake those beautiful stained glass windows and elaborately carved pillars as the place where God dwells; that building is just a place where the people that are His church, His dwelling, gathers to meet. God dwells in you. So you are not going to bid Him farewell as you leave the four temporal walls of what man has deemed a sanctuary behind, for the true sanctuary remains in you and in all those who are also continuing to grow into a corporate holy temple in the Lord; the habitation of God through His Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22). And this magnificent temple, this spiritual house continues to grow as each new living stone is added, (I Peter 2:5).

     Come, I will show you a picture of the bride, the church, the Messiah’s wife. We are standing together on a mountain looking up at the sky. Behind us lie the ruins of this life; the broken concrete and twisted steel of mankind’s frail attempts to shelter itself without God, the holy shrines now just ghostly images of what used to be, fading away like mere ruins in the darkness.

     Descending before us is the New Jerusalem, (Rev. 21) God’s dwelling, the city that is symbolically constructed with living jewels, those lively stones, the treasure that God has acquired through the centuries to build this wondrous new home, and that treasure is your brethren and you. And in this holy kingdom He has polished you and made you to shine. And within its walls there is no need of a temple there, because God and the Lamb are the temple, the presence that fills and fulfills and glorifies.
     Behold, the tabernacle is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death; neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev. 21:3, 4) – like mere ruins in the darkness.

Copyright 2011 by H.D. Shively

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