I've been reading through some sections of the Old Testament in preparation for a sermon. In 1 Kings 8 we learn that Solomon finished building the Temple and had the Ark of the Lord moved from David's temporary tent into the newly completed Most Holy Place. Once it was moved they planned to have a ceremony but this happened:
“When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.” 1 Kings 8:10-11
Several times I read that with a sense of awe and fascination. I wondered, “Could that ever happen to me? Could the glory of God fall so thick around me that I just had to stop?” I continued my reading and searching until I came to another question. “When and why did God’s presence ever leave?” In my search for the answer to this question I came to the worst chapter in the Bible: Ezekiel 10.
“Then the glory of the Lord departed…” Ezekiel 10:18
Prophets had been warning Israel of what would happen if they didn’t turn from their sin. Israel didn’t listen. The glory of God left.
I had an awesome conversation with some close friends this morning over breakfast. We discussed these Scriptures and shared about the things in our lives that we have seen to invite or reject the sacred presence of God. I remembered back to the sin-filled times in my life as the worst chapters. What should I expect? Did I think a holy God would dwell in the midst of a wicked man? He needed to prepare a place where His Name would be glorified. It wasn’t until I began the cooperative work of cleansing my Temple, my heart and soul and mind, that the presence of God returned to my life.
Many worst chapters are being written today. There are those who claim the Name of God and do not see sin as incompatible with His presence. Temples must be cleansed. Hearts, minds, souls and bodies must be remade in the image of Christ so that God can dwell among us and be glorified through us.
Solomon asked the question, “But will God really dwell among us?” In these last days before Easter I encourage you to pray and ask God to search your heart for areas where the fullness of His presence is rejected due to unholiness or unrighteousness. What a beautiful way to spend this Easter weekend! People of God, be filled with His glory!