Monday, October 1, 2018

Do Not Put God In a Box: He Is Not [Only] In the Temple or Church (Read 1 Kings 5-8)

In 1 Kings 5, King Solomon began to build the great temple in Jerusalem "for the name of the Lord" (5:5). Elsewhere, Solomon also said, "I have built a temple for the name of the Lord God of Israel" (8:20). Every time the word "temple" appeared in 1 Kings as prayer and speech, most of the time this line "for the name of the Lord" will accompany it. To me, this is interesting. Why not just say "build a temple for the Lord"? Because nobody can build a temple for God! God – the Lord of Israel – is big, limitless and supreme. He is not there, He is here. The only thing that we can do is to build a temple or house for His "name." Solomon, the wisest man (at that time), knew it. In his prayer for the Temple's dedication, he reasoned, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!" (1 Kings 8:27).

Now, since we can't build or labor or work for God (actually we can, but it will always be insignificant), then what we can do? We must change the way we see God and our relationship with Him. Instead of working "for" God, we now must see ourselves as working "with" Him. Max Lucado in his book, Just Like Jesus (1998), says it well: "It's a wonderful day indeed when we stop working for God and begin working with God (Go ahead, read the sentence again). For years I viewed God as a compassionate CEO and my role as a loyal sales representative. He had His office, I had my territory. I could contact Him as much as I wanted. He was always a phone or fax away. He encouraged me, rallied behind me, and supported me, but He didn't go with me. At least I didn't think He did.

"Then I read 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NCV): ‘We are workers together with God.' Workers with God? Co-labourers? God and I work together? Imagine the paradigm shift this truth creates. Rather than report to God, we work with God. Rather than check in with Him and then leave, we check with Him and then follow. We are always in the presence of God. We never leave a church. There is never a non-sacred moment! His presence never diminishes. Our awareness of His presence may falter, but the reality of His presence never changes." Good one Max!

When I read 1 Kings, I marveled by Solomon's grandiose way of building the temple. It was wonderful to read and to see (in my mind's eyes). But the truth is that – God is here, present among us not in only some buildings. The Father is above is; the Son is beside us; the Holy Spirit is within us. Superb! Do you desire to commune with God on a regular basis? He is always available. What can you do today to remind yourself of God's constant presence? And then, how can you start seeing yourself as working with God rather than for God?

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