Pastor Keith’s Blog

The Size and Glamor of the Temple

In 2 Chronicles Solomon is building a temple to house the presence of God.  The structural dimensions and costs involved, for the era or for our time, would have been staggering. The foundation for the temple was around 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.   The entry room was 30 feet wide and 30 feet high and was covered with pure gold. The paneled main room of the Temple was made with cypress wood, which was overlaid with fine gold, and decorated with carvings of palm trees and chains.  The Temple had extra decorations of beautiful jewels.  The beams, entrances, walls, and doors throughout the Temple were overlaid with gold, and there were carved figures of cherubim on the walls.  The interior of the temple was covered with 23 tons of thin sheets of fine gold. (At today’s values of $1244 per oz.  = $1,009,258,593.28).  Gold nails were used to fasten the materials in the holy place of the temple, these weighed 20 ounces each.  You can read through the other details about the construction of the temple and the furnishings within the temple in 2 Chronicles chapters 3 – 5.

When Solomon has completed the construction, realizing the vastness and nature of God, he prays to God, “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18 NLT)

All of this structure and expense was to prepare a place for God to dwell, yet at the same time knowing that there is nothing large enough or exquisite enough to contain or house God.  Man’s best efforts would never be good enough for the eternal, all mighty, omnipresent God. From God’s perspective the very thought that sinful humans would want to contain or meet with Him here on earth could seem outlandish.  Maybe even offensive.  Perhaps this is why the Psalmist when looking over the vastness of the heavens above said, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you set in place what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:3,4)

Yet we see in the scriptures that God actually has a desire to walk with man, to communicate, and actually dwell together.  We see this in Genesis 3 where God desires to walk in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve.  God allowed there to be a temple where He would meet with His followers in real ways.  Perhaps the expense and grandeur of the temple helped people to remember how insignificant they were in comparison to God.

In the New Testament we see that God no longer dwells within temples made by human hands.  Instead He actually chooses to live, by His Spirit, in us.  

1 Corinthians 3:16  “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:17  “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

2 Corinthians 6:16  “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Ephesians 2:21  “in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord”

Considering the enormous expense of a hand crafted temple, He chooses instead to dwell within His people.  Obviously you are more valuable than you think!  Being the Temple of God, the place where God dwells should affect our perspective to what God wants to do in and through us.  Take a moment to think about how rich and wonderful this is to have God actually dwelling within you.

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41 Years Ago

It was 41 years ago that Susan and I were married. The fall day was perfect and the wedding ceremony and reception went smoothly.  Many family and friends were present as well as many people from our faith community.  After 41 years we are still happily married, enjoying each other’s company, and looking forward to many more great years together.  Neither of us have any regrets about the lifelong partners we chose for ourselves.

 

So looking back and looking at the present, how did we start of our marriage and how are we continuing to maintain a strong healthy relationship? Let me provide some points, though many could be given:

  • We had gotten married when we were both in university, we knew that finances would be tight because we did not want to take out loans for our education.  So we both worked long hours during the summer, frugally saving money for the time when we would be leaving home and then really need it.  In the midst of the long hours of work, we planted gardens in people’s back yards and then proceeded to clean, process and preserve the vegetables, fruit and tubers so that we would have food for our married life.  This taught us how to work together and to persevere when hard work was required to obtain whatever resources were needed.
  • In the midst of many temptations and desires ,we determined to remain morally pure, abstaining from sexual activity till after the marriage ceremony.  This does not mean that there were no emotional or physical longings but we knew that doing what is right is always better than living by emotions or feelings.  This same level of self-control is essential for all seasons of our lives, as righteous living can rarely come about if driven by our feelings.
  • We determined that our Christian faith needed to be woven into the marriage ceremony, but especially into every aspect of our lives.  In the wedding ceremony we included Christian principles into the service, the music and the vows that we wrote.  But the service itself was not the only Christian aspect of the day.  After the ceremony and after some picture taking we pulled apart from the people, to go to a small church building where we took an hour to pray together, personally dedicating our new lives together to the purposes of God. Inviting Him to work in our lives and calling upon His strength that we might live lives that glorify Him. This starting in prayer was not new to us, for though our early friendship and dating process we regularly went to church, prayed together and discussed the scriptures together.  Then after marriage it was and still is a common part of our lives.
  • After praying for that hour, we then noticed that we had left a path of confetti throughout the entrance and sanctuary of that small building.  So being faithful to clean up the mess that we had made, we found some vacuum cleaners and proceeded to clean the building.  Yes, this was on our wedding day, but we knew that if you make a mess, you need to take the time and effort to clean up the mess.  Many times in our relationship we would make messes, say something wrong, act selfishly, or be inconsiderate.  But we knew that if you make a mess you need to clean it up and that our Lord will be there to help in that as well.

Much more could be shared about the necessity of seeking to understand your spouse’s perspective, forgiveness, sacrificially serving your spouse, or learning to be content with the provision of God, but perhaps at another time.

Our desire for you is that, through the work of Jesus in your lives, you would find the comfort and strength that is available to you in your relationship with Him and in your relationships with those around you.

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If You Would Play Football, Would You Not …

Many years ago I was challenged by God.  My response to that challenge significantly impacted the rest of my life.  Watch the clip below, you too may be challenged.

As a church we are taking the next five weeks to focus on the benefits and practical experiencing of praise and worship to our Lord Jesus Christ.  Join one of the “40 Days of Praise” small groups – you can even participate on-line.  Your heart will be challenged and your spiritual life will be transformed.

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Right Actions, Wrong Heart

 

In 2 Chron. 6:8,9 the LORD said to David, “Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart.  Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.”  In 1 Chron. 28:3 David declared that God told him that, “You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood”.

David was anointed to be king.  Under God’s direction he brought the enemies under subjection and brought peace to the nation.  He was known as a man after God’s own heart.  Yet in fulfilling the purposes of God, in establishing the kingdom and overthrowing the enemies, there were flaws in the way in which he lead the nation.  These flaws were exposed when it came to the next phase of David’s life, i.e. building the temple for God.  Though the intentions and the plans were appropriate, there were limitations to the extent to which God could work through David.

Though David had been called to rule and he was called to overcome the enemy, yet there was an aspect of human forcefulness that was not in keeping with being a child of the “Son of Peace” (Lk. 10:6).  The scriptures are clear that we are to be people of peace.

  • Gal. 5:22 “but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, …”
  • James 3:18 “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace…”
  • Col. 3:15  “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”
  • 2 Cor. 13:11 “live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

In some ways we are all called to be leaders.  We are all in positions of authority and influence, whether it is on the job, in the church, in our family, in the community, or in the political arena.  Though called to lead, I keep wondering how many of us have put limitations on the extent to which we can progress in God’s “building purposes”.  Our leadership in the family, the job or the kingdom can be stifled because we are overly sharp, critical or aggressive in our responding to the situations and people around us.  Though we can be right in addressing the situation, yet if we were humanly forceful in the way or attitude in which we acted, we may have failed to function in the Spirit of Peace to which we are called (1 Cor. 7:15).

We can excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, this is the way that I do things.” or, “This is the way that I am.”  But God does not want us to act or respond in our natural way, instead, He would want us to do them, in the Spirit and nature of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Take a moment to reflect on the attitudes that are present within you as you are challenging, confronting or addressing the needs around you.  Then ask our Lord Jesus to help you function in His Spirit and truth.

 

 

 

 

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