Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012 … And God’s People Had Church!

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 1st Kings, Chapters 8 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day #2: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: 2nd Chronicle, Chapters 5 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: 1st Kings: 8: 1; 61 :[NIV] … 1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. … [After Solomon praised God and prayed for the people he charged the people] … “6 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day. “ 
Highlight Passage #2: 2nd Chronicles 5: 2-3; 13-14 :[NKJV] … 2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. … [when the Ark was in place in the Temple, the people worshiped their Holy God] … 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, “For He is good; for His mercy endures for ever:” that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. 

My Journal for Today: Wow! Only two chapters of overlapping historical description in today’s chronological reading assignment; but there is so, so much to which I could address my journal comments. However, in the highlighted segments of these two chapters, which I’ve copied above, you can read of the sense of joy and worshipful exuberance which Solomon and God’s people obviously felt as they brought the Ark of the Covenant into the completed Temple, which took seven years to build. Now, the people had a permanent place to come together to worship God, rather than the mobile “tabernacle,” where they had seen the presence of God for all of their 40 years in wandering through the deserts of the wilderness. And it was God’s timing which had them complete the Temple and bring the Ark, as a symbol of God’s presence, at just the time of the Festival of Shelters (or Tents), which God had established in the times of Moses as an annual way for the people to celebrate God’s protection and guidance of His children.

And what does all of this say to you and me as New Covenant believers now that the Temple has been destroyed and there is no longer Temple worship for God’s people? What does it say to New Testament, Messiah-honoring Christians about the corporate worship of God, now that even Messianic Christians (Jews who believe in Christ) no longer have a Temple for collective worship, having rather to worship under the Synagogue or “church” system. Well, I like what my Parsons commentary gave me this morning in my study of these two chapters in 1st Kings 8 and 2nd Chronicles 5. [See commentary in bold below]  

Why is there so much emphasis on the Temple in the Old Testament?
(1) It was a symbol of religious authority. The Temple was God’s way of centralizing worship at Jerusalem in order to ensure that correct belief would be kept intact through many generations.
(2) It was a symbol of God’s holiness. The Temple’s beautiful atmosphere inspired respect and awe for God; it was the setting for many of the great visions of the prophets.
(3) It was a symbol of God’s covenant with Israel. The Temple kept the people focused upon God’s law (the tablets of the Ten Commandments were kept in the Temple) rather than on the kings’ exploits. It was a place where God was especially present with his people.
(4) It was a symbol of forgiveness. The Temple’s design, furniture, and customs were great object lessons for all the people, reminding them of the seriousness of sin, the penalty that sin incurred, and their need of forgiveness.
(5) It prepared the people for the Messiah. In the New Testament, Christ said he came to fulfill the law, not destroy it. Hebrews 8:1, 2 and 9:11, 12 use Temple customs to explain what Christ did when he died for us.
(6) It was a testimony to human effort and creativity Inspired by the beauty of God’s character, people devoted themselves to high achievements in engineering, science, and art in order to praise him.
(7) It was a place of prayer. In the Temple, people could spend time in prayer to God.

And the reason why I take the time and copy/paste this here for our review is to ask ourselves whether the church where we come together on Sunday mornings to worship is all of what the Temple was for God’s chosen peoples in the time of Solomon. Are we really excited to come to God’s place of worship and to praise/pray as Solomon did when he dedicated the Temple? Are we really coming together on Sunday TO WORSHIP the same loving/forgiving God Whom Solomon dedicated the Temple to worship? Or are we just coming together on Sundays out of habit or tradition or in some way to be seen by others as being believers?

I’ll let you mull over those questions with the hope that we all can become the worshipers in God’s house each Sunday morning as well as 24/7 during the week, … in living out our lives of worship, … the type of worship which God’s people experienced when they gathered in God’s Temple to worship their Lord in the days of Solomon. And to help you mull over this point of worship, let me link you to a wonderful song, performed by Hillsong, which says much about our worship experience in life. 

My Prayer Today: … Lord, may every day of my life be “church” or my “temple worship” of You as it should be for all of God’s people. Amen

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