It was the worst of times. Through fifty-five years, Manasseh did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah. Not only did he rebuild the high places which were used to worship the Baals, he even “built altars in the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 33:4). The depravity of Manasseh was seen in that “he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom” (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Manasseh’s degradation infected the people of Israel, and he “led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel” (2 Chronicles 33:9). Though Manasseh humbled himself and repented at the end of his life, the damage of his fifty-five years was immense. Continue reading “Lost in the Lord’s house”
The temple represented God’s presence with his people. This temple was designed by God himself, but built with human hands. Its sole purpose was to unite the one God with his people. It was here that the very presence of God would dwell (1 Kings 8:10-13).
But it would not always be so. The sins of the people separated themselves from God so that his glory left the temple (Ezekiel 10). Then, God orchestrated the destruction of the house built for him (2 Kings 25). While Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument of destruction, the plan and the power came from above (Jeremiah 7:14). The people had come to trust in the temple, in much the same way as they had trusted in the Ark of the Covenant years earlier (Jeremiah 7:4, 11, 12). Continue reading “Something greater than the temple is here”
It took Solomon seven years to build the temple for God. He began it in the fourth year of his reign and completed it in the eleventh year (1 Kings 6:37-38). He also built a palace for himself which took another thirteen years to build (1 Kings 7:1-12).
Once the temple and all the items to be used in the worship of God was completed, Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to be placed in the inner sanctuary. Israel’s elders, tribal leaders, and all the men of Israel came to witness the transfer of the Ark to the temple. Continue reading “Following and worshipping God”
When we think of worshipping God we usually think about a building for this to take place. For many these buildings of worship take on a ‘holy’ status. I know people who believe that the best place to pray to God is in a ‘church building’. Somehow, they believe that by being there they are closer to God and perhaps God will listen more to them in that setting.
The religious Jews in Israel today still have this view of the Western Wall: as this wall was once connected with the temple, where God lived, the closest they can now get to that is the wall. They write out prayers and put them in the cracks between the stones of the wall and, when near the wall, they touch it believing it puts them into closer contact with God. Continue reading “A house for God”
“…a greater than Solomon is here” (Lk. 11:31)
By my count, Jesus mentioned Solomon twice in the gospels. In one instance, he pitted the iconic glory of Solomon – a king who expanded Israel’s wealth and territory like no king before or since – against a flower.
The flower won. Continue reading “Greater than Solomon”
The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.
God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”
It is a warning as hot as the Mohave Desert, as serious as a serpent. God warns us not to destroy his people.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16,17).
Notice two things: First, the personal pronouns are plural. When he says “you are God‘s temple,” he means, “you all are God’s temple.” Second, note that important word, “for.” The reason the consequences of division are so dire is because of the identity of what they are dividing. They divide nothing less than God’s temple! Continue reading “Don’t mess with My people”
Everybody loves the Jesus of the wedding in Cana. The story has all the elements of a warm fuzzy, the ancient equivalent of Chicken Soup for the Soul. But the very next story is a slap in the face, after the tingling feeling of the wedding. Continue reading The Whipping Jesus