Day 12

God’s Presence Fills the Temple

from the The Presence of God reading plan

1 Kings 8:1-13, 1 Kings 8:22-53, 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, Revelation 11:19

BY Melanie Rainer

God’s presence filled the temple, and His people drew near and worshiped Him.

My church has been going through a study of the psalms of ascent (Psalms 120–134), fifteen psalms tucked toward the back of the book that chronicle the journey the Israelites made to Jerusalem to worship God in the temple. Each week, as we study another, I feel each step of the journey anew, inextricably linked in this year with the long separation from public worship earlier this year. The psalmist says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). His longing echoes my own to worship and be near God in His house. It’s a theme that permeates the psalms of ascent, and my heart today.

But why?

Why did the temple mean so much to the Israelites, that together they would sing as they walked up its steps? Why did it hurt with every beat of their collective heart when the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC? Why was building a second temple on the foundations of the first so important to the Jewish people when they returned to Jerusalem from exile? (Ezra 1).

Why? Because God’s presence came and dwelt there.

In 1 Kings 8, the elders of Israel bring the ark of the covenant to rest in the inner sanctuary of the newly finished temple. The ark of the covenant symbolized the Lord’s ongoing presence with the Israelites (Numbers 7:89). Since their days with Moses at Mount Sinai, the ark had been on the move. Now, it was brought into a permanent structure—the temple. Once it came to rest in the most holy place, “the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (1Kings 8:11).

King Solomon then offers a prayer of dedication that is one of the most beautiful speeches in all of Scripture. It’s a visceral prayer that must have echoed through the meticulously-planned walls of the temple. On and on Solomon goes, listing and describing the many times and ways and places the people would come to commune with their holy God in His temple (vv.31–42). The temple was different, and Solomon’s prayer punches through scenario after scenario of when the people could come into God’s presence via the representative priests who could enter the most holy place. The temple was a reminder that God was dwelling among His people. And yet, it was still separated by a curtain into the holy of holies, where only the high priest could enter once a year.

That is, until Jesus came as the physical presence of God on earth. And when He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came to commune with God’s people, to guide them and be present with them. And one day, when Jesus comes again and believers live with Him in the new Jerusalem, God will be present with no curtains, no barriers, no fear, and no death.

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "God’s Presence Fills the Temple"

  1. Jennifer Haines says:

    I often question why we must have well kept places of worship and so much money put into these structures. I think we often get lost in the appearance and where we attend for our mass worship. I have felt as I have gotten older that I can pray, worship anywhere, and I don’t need a priest or higher figure to represent me, or a fancy gathering location to do so… this reading has helped me see that it just represents the Lord dwelling with us on Earth… I think it’s just so important to remember this and not get caught up in any of the other noise I alluded to.

    1. Maria Romero says:

      Hello Jennifer! Praise the Lord what He has revealed to you through His word!
      Do you attend a Christian church?

  2. Jillian Best says:

    We are so blessed and we don’t even realize it. Because of Jesus we HAVE communion with God and have never known different. The Holy Spirit lives with in us. Prior to Jesus’ ascension, 1st the temple was the place that people could go to commune with God. This pray by King Solomon states over and over that the Jews would turn toward the temple wherever they were to commune with God. When Jesus walked the earth, people who walked with Him were so blessed, but they had to physically be in His presence. Now we have the Spirit. We can commune with God directly. We can talk to him wherever and whenever we need to or want to.

  3. Rhonda Wood says:

    Oh Lord
    May we draw near to you and not be distracted by what is around us. I rejoice when I heard that we were going to meet as a church this Sunday. It has been a long time but it is good to rejoice together and worship the Lord who is worthy to be praised. I have missed that zoom has been good but physically seeing my brothers and sisters together is so encouraging

  4. CeeGee says:

    MAURA, your prayer BLESSED my heart this morning! Thank you!
    CHURCHMOUSE, your words today are so powerful, connecting the causes of the generations. You inspired me to look at this Covid pandemic in that light.
    CONTINUED PRAYERS for all in the California, Oregon, Washington areas. We have many family members in those areas. May God comfort you in your loss and protect you from further harm. May you find moments of opportunity and strength of spirit to serve Him through this time. May God’s glory shine through!

  5. Elisabeth Ross says:

    So grateful we have direct access to God through prayer and reading of his word to us

  6. Terri says:

    Ashley P. I pray God take you in His arms as if you were a little girl and put you on His lap and hold you and envelope you with His love and comfort.

  7. Lindsay C. says:

    I love Solomon’s prayer. He knew the people were going to mess up in all kinds of ways, and ultimately the only thing that could help them was to go to the temple, repent and be forgiven. Today, believers continue to mess up in all kinds of ways, and I’m thankful I have a personal Savior to turn to in repentance. God remains unchanging. He sets His people apart, He hears and forgives them, His covenant is everlasting, He is good, and His faithful love endures forever.

  8. Maura says:

    The glory of the Lord filled the temple. Your presence Lord, oh what glory! Fill this temple Holy Spirit, lead me in your ways Lord, give me your words for those you place in my path that I make speak in wisdom and you may have the glory. Praying for you Sisters, teachers, doctors, nurses, cooks, artists, friends, stay at home Moms, whatever you are doing this day may it glorify our holy God, who was and is and is to come. Let His light consume the darkness. Hugs!

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