from the Old Testament–
1 Kings 8 – 9:
Today we read that King Solomon assembled all the elders and leaders of Israel for the dedication of the Temple. And they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, all the holy things that were in the tent and established them in the holy place.
8:10 And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
Popular Bible commentators (Matthew Henry & J.P. Lange) tell us “God acknowledged the ark as as a token of His Presence. The ark of the covenant is the pledge of His divine gracious presence, and the cloud that filled the House is a sign that Yahweh will dwell there.
Throughout the Bible YEHOVAH God speaks of His desire for an intimate relationship with His people. The “Shekinah,” (the Hebrew word / words for “the glory of the Lord) therefore, refers to the presence of YEHOVAH that was physically manifested in the time-space continuum. It could be seen. The presence was A VEHICLE OF THE PERSON OF YEHOVAH GOD IN THE THREE DIMENSIONAL WORLD. Solomon’s understanding that YEHOVAH cannot actually be limited to Temples on earth because of His eternal nature can be seen in I Kings 8:27 —
“But will God really dwell [yashav”] on earth? Even the heavens to their utmost reaches cannot contain You, how much less this House [Temple] that I have built!”
There is much discussion in modern religious circles concerning the appearance of the Shekinah – Glory of the Lord. It is not, however, my intention to endorse any doctrine or denomination in these studies. My prayer for my readers can be found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus –
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 (RSV)
As you read through the remainder of Solomon’s dedication ceremony, I urge you to highlight verse 60, making this your goal as well…“that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there IS NO OTHER…”
When Solomon had finished building the Temple and his palace and all he had set out to build he had a little face to face meeting with the Lord at Gibeon. I have highlighted three “if you will” statements in this chapter. And, as we read, my thoughts are taken back to an earlier study in Deuteronomy…where God said–
… I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
I would like to add a little personal insight here. Religion and doctrine often say “you should,” but God always says, “you choose.” This day. Every day. As God told the wisest man in the recorded history of the world, “if you will… I will.”
from the New Testament–
Romans: 7 – 8
Here we find Paul’s argument against living the Christian life as if we were still married to the old, dead, law of Moses. He is telling us plainly…the law is dead. Bury it and move on. You are now married to Christ the Savior. (verses 1-6
Then Paul’s whole passage (7:7-25) deals with his experience with the law. It is one that has been the subject of widely differing interpretations over centuries. Some say he is speaking of his life before his experience on the road to Damascus, others insist he is writing of the on-going struggle every Christian faces and the helplessness experienced in attempting to live up to God’s requirements. (Choose this day. Remember?)
But, a thorough, prayerful reading of the chapter (in context) emphasizes three major points.
- you (and I) have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that we may belong to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. (verse 4)
- we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. (verse 6)
- through Jesus Christ our Lord we are delivered from our old sin nature [this body of death]. (verse 25)
Paul settles his soul and that of his readers firmly upon this fact – God’s grace is immeasurably greater than man’s sin. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (TLB)
This is, without any doubt, my favorite verse in all of scripture.
Having said that, I must tell you in all honesty, I have been given the “left foot of fellowship” after saying so in certain religious gatherings. This is neither the time nor the place to go into details. Let’s just suffice it to say, not all church-going folks choose to take God at his Word.
For this reason, I urge you to study Romans chapter 8 for yourself, paying careful attention to detail. In this chapter we find that individual holiness is indeed a possibility. It is also our duty as children of God. (verses 1-17)
We are assured of a sure hope, living life in the Spirit. (verses 18-25)
We are assured of a sure help, living life in the Spirit. (verses 26-30) “We know…” is the Christians certainty.
And, we are assured of a certain salvation… for who can separate us from the love of God?
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (RSV)
Romans 8 has so much to offer… I pray the truths found within these verses will set you free from condemnation, and establish your feet firmly on the path of peace and grace. Amen