Welcome to the "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday" community, a place where we share what we are hearing from God and his Word. Thank you -- I am so grateful that you are here!
When I was a little kid I thought the tabernacle was actually God’s house.
The tabernacle at our church was ornate and glittery-gold, and it sat on its own mini-altar off to the side of the main altar under a glowing red lamp. I assumed God lived in that fancy box as a small, but no less intimidating version of himself, and I thought the red lamp was his nightlight.
A thick curtain was draped just behind the tabernacle’s gold door, and the priest would gently push this aside, reach his robed arm into the mysterious space and pull out the chalice of Eucharist as we watched from the pews in hushed, reverent silence. I always strained from my place in the pew during this solemn ritual, craning to catch a glimpse of God, who I knew was seated on his miniature bejeweled throne behind the curtain. And I was always frustrated and disappointed that I could never quite see far enough into that secret, holy place.
I was always disappointed that I couldn’t see God.
Solomon, it seems to me, got it right, when he said this in the verses we read this week from 1 Kings 8:27-30:
“But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27, NLT)
On one hand, Solomon is flabbergasted, amazed: how can God, the Alpha and Omega, omniscient, omnipotent, awesome God, actually live on earth, down here with us, amongst we flawed and sinful people? How can that possibly be?
On the other hand, Solomon knows that even the most elaborate, elegant temple, one built specifically to honor and worship him, cannot possibly contain a God whom even the heavens cannot contain.
Just like I mistakenly assumed that God lived inside the tabernacle of my childhood church, I still, as an adult, find myself trying to contain God in a particular place or define him in a particular way today. I try to squeeze him into a box, enclose him within boundaries that make sense in my own small mind. I try to limit a limitless God, in part because his power, his infinite love and grace and his all-encompassing, indefinable nature overwhelm me.
Solomon knew the truth, which is that God is in every place and in every person. Not just inside the tabernacle or within the walls of the church. Not just in the minister and the missionary. Not just in the faithful and the devout.
God can’t be contained in a particular place or a particular person. His temple is our church, yes. But it’s also our kitchens, our workplaces, our backyards and our very own bodies and hearts.
Do you sometimes look for God in the expected places, like in church, and neglect to see him in your ordinary everyday surroundings? How do you train your eyes to look for God in your everyday?
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Welcome to the "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday" community, a place where we share what we are hearing from God and his Word.
Thank you -- I am so grateful that you are here!