Introduction: This is the first of two chapters about the Temple dedication. After the dedication, God’s presence returned to dwell with Israel (1 Kgs. 8:11; 2 Chr. 7:1). This was the peak of the nation of Israel’s history before Jesus. Exactly fifteen generations passed between Abraham and Solomon. At this moment, Israel reached its full glory as God’s presence served as a light to the nations. Yet, fourteen sad generations of spiritual decline then passed until the last Jewish king Zedekiah. Jesus, the true light of the world, came exactly 15 generations after Solomon (Matt. 1:17). Prior to Jesus’ arrival, the Temple was meant to spread God’s light amongst God’s people and throughout the world. It was also the central place for the Jews to worship Him and find ongoing fellowship with Him. From this part of Solomon’s dedication, God reveals seven lessons on finding and maintaining fellowship with Him. His fellowship requires: (1) obedience, (2) commitment, (3) faith, (4) vigilance, (5) His Word, (6) worship, and (7) the Holy Spirit.
First, Solomon was obedient in building God’s Temple in the exact manner that God required. From his example, God reveals that maintaining fellowship with Him requires obedience. God wants your obedience more than your acts of sacrifice or outward expressions of piety. Second, Solomon assembled all of the leaders of Israel to commit themselves to worshiping God in the correct manner. From this example, God reveals that maintaining fellowship with God requires commitment. Third, Solomon’s dedication of the Temple included the sacrifice of many animals to atone for the Jews’ sins. Jesus fulfilled the need for further animal sacrifices with His death. Today, maintaining fellowship requires faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Fourth, as part of the dedication process, the priests placed the ark of the covenant below guardian cherubim. The cherubim served as guardian angels over God’s Word, which was kept inside the ark. The devil is always looking for opportunities to lead people astray from God’s Word. Like the cherubim, maintaining fellowship with God requires your vigilance in the face of the enemy’s attacks. Fifth, God’s Word inside the ark and the gold-plated holy of holies was the heart of the Temple and its greatest treasure. Today, maintaining fellowship requires that you treasure God’s Word in your heart. It is worth more than gold or any amount of money, which can only provide temporary fulfillment. Sixth, the priests sang out in praise when God’s Word was properly placed at the heart of the Temple. Today, maintaining fellowship should also include worship and praise. If you truly believe the promises of mercy and grace contained in God’s Word, you should want to sing out God’s praises. Finally, after God’s Word was properly placed at the heart of the Temple, God’s presence filled the Temple. Today, the Holy Spirit will dwell inside you, the new temple, when you accept Jesus. He is the Word who became flesh. The Holy Spirit will in turn help you to maintain fellowship by causing you to remember Jesus’ Word.
Solomon faithfully obeys God’s instructions for the Temple. The dedication began with the observation that Solomon had faithfully fulfilled all of the building details that God had revealed to David: “1 Thus all the work that Solomon performed for the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and all the utensils, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God.” (2 Chr. 5:1). Solomon’s subsequent benediction included a reminder to the Jews that God had been faithful to them (1 Kgs. 8:56). In response to God’s faithfulness, Solomon urged the people to be faithful and obey (1 Kgs. 8:57-61). In urging the people to be obedient, Solomon led by his own example.
God desires obedience more than sacrifice. If Solomon had failed to follow God’s plan in building the Temple, God would not have been pleased with his efforts. God desires obedience more than sacrifice. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22). David previously learned that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17). Are you obedient in your walk with Jesus?
Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says. A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord. But Jesus is not your Lord if you disobey Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (Jam. 1:22). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24). “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matt. 7:26). If you call Jesus your Lord, is there any area of your life where you are refusing to obey Him?
Faith-led obedience can bring God’s blessings. Obedience is not a test for salvation. Yet, for those who obey God’s Word, He promises many kinds of blessings: “So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Dt. 5:32-33). If you obey with the right motives, God will also bless you.
The leaders of the Jews assemble for the dedication of the Temple. Solomon’s dedication included gathering together the elders of Israel, who publicly committed to worshiping God in the proper manner: “2 Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, that is in the seventh month. 4 Then all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. 5 They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up.” (2 Chr. 5:2-5; 1 Kgs. 8:1-2). Solomon assembled the elders of Israel during the “feast” during the seventh month of Ethanim (2 Chr. 5:3; 1 Kgs. 8:2). This would have correlated with the Feast of Tabernacles /Booths or Sukkot (Lev. 23:33-43). Solomon finished the Temple during the eighth month (1 Kgs. 6:38). But because of the important connection between Sukkot and the dedication of the Temple, Solomon had to wait 11 months until the seventh month of the following year to dedicate the Temple. The Sukkot was one of three times during the year when the people would have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for worship (Dt. 16:16). More importantly, it marked the celebration when God dwelled with the Jews in the wilderness. The dedication also took place during a Jubilee year, when God restored what the people had lost due to sin (Lev. 23:33-36, 39-43; Dt. 16:13-15). God would commit to again dwell with His people on this holy day. In turn, the Jews committed to properly worshiping God. This included proper sacrifices in the Temple in the ordained manner.
Publicly commit to serving Jesus. Making a public commitment or vow to God was one of the highest acts of devotion. When Moses first presented God’s Word at Mount Horeb, the Jews made a public vow to worship God as He commanded in His Ten Commandments: “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 19:8.) Yet, they quickly broke their wedding vow when they then built and worshipped the golden calf. (Ex. 32:1-6.) There are also other examples where the Jews publicly committed to serving God. For example, the Nazarites made a public vow to deny themselves certain pleasures (Nu. 6:2-8). Jacob also vowed to tithe if God blessed him (Gen. 28:20-22). Hannah also vowed to give her son Samuel to the Lord to thank Him for her pregnancy (1 Sam. 1:27-28). Likewise, Jonah promised to be obedient to God’s direction if He would free him from the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:9). Paul also made a vow to be a “bondservant” to God (Ro. 1:1; Gal. 1:10). Jesus also wants believers to make the light within them visible to others. They are not to hide it (Matt. 5:15; Lu. 8:16; 11:33; Mark 4:21). They are also to share their testimony with others (Matt. 28:16-20). They are also to accept Christ publicly by professing Him to verbally be both Lord and Savior: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32). “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;” (Luke 12:8). “[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Ro. 10:9). Jesus will deny those who deny Him (Matt. 10:33). Have you been open about your faith before others?
A public commitment helps to ensure accountability. The public commitment also helped to ensure that the leaders would keep each other in check and encourage one another. God also wants you to ensure that you keep your commitments by staying accountable and encouraging others: “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11). “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25). Are you part of a small group at your church to help you stay accountable? Are you encouraging others in their walk?
Commit to following Jesus without delay. When a seeker asked Jesus “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father,” before following Him (a metaphor for closing down his father’s business), Jesus responded “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” (Lk. 9:60; Matt. 8:22). This meant that the man could not delay in his commitment to follow and serve Him. If your desires for your old life of the flesh are delaying your service, you are not ready to receive what He offers: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62). Your life could end at any moment. Jesus could return at any moment (Lk. 12:40). Thus, you cannot assume that you will have decades or even years to decide whether to follow after Him (Jam. 4:13-14; Heb. 3:12-13, 15). Jesus gave us the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate that some will foolishly wait until it is too late to accept Him (Matt. 25:1-13). Are you waiting for the right time in your life to follow after Jesus?
Keep your vows to obey Jesus. Jesus only wants you to publicly vow to follow Him when you are ready to keep your commitment. Throughout the Bible, Jesus reminds His people that vows of obedience must be followed by action: “And the LORD said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear the words of this covenant and do them.’” (Jer. 11:6). “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matt. 5:37) Have you been faithful to keep your promises to Jesus?
The Jews offer atoning sacrifices. Before any worship could begin, Solomon led the Jews in atoning for their sins by sacrificing animals: “6 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.” (2 Chr. 5:6). Solomon’s dedication ceremony also included the sacrifice of a staggering 144,000 animals to atone for the Jews’ sins (1 Kgs. 8:62-64). These sacrifices came in connection with the concurrent Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot. To atone for the nation’s sin, Solomon sacrificed both 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep (1 Kgs. 8:63). With the shedding of blood, there could be no atonement of sin. And without the atonement of sin, salvation, fellowship with God, and His willingness to hear your prayers would not be possible: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22).
Celebrate that Jesus was the final and complete sacrifice. During the Feast, the Jews made an offering by fire to the Lord (Lev. 23:37). Including two lambs that were normally sacrificed each day (Nu. 28:2), the normal number of burnt offering included 215 animal sacrifices: (1) 71 one-year old bulls without defect; (2) 15 rams without defect; (3) 121 lambs without defect; and (4) 8 goats without defect. In addition, the meal offerings included oil offerings, wine offerings, and 336 tenths of “ephahs” of fine flour (Nu. 29:12-39). Solomon’s sacrifices totaled 144,000 animals (1 Kgs. 8:63). This was more than 669 times the normal number of sacrifices. Although the Jews had to sacrifice animals to atone for their sins, Jesus was a one-time sacrifice who forever freed us from the obligation to sacrifice animals in order to have our sins forgiven (Heb. 10:14). If God was willing to accept the sacrifice of animals on our behalf, we have no reason to doubt Jesus’ ability to atone for even the worst sinners (Heb. 9:14). Have you given thanks for Jesus’ death and the atonement of sin that He makes possible?
Atonement requires faith. During the atonement process, a person put his or her hands on the animal that he or she was sacrificing. God then cast the person’s sins onto the animal (Lev. 1:4, Ex. 29:10, 15, 19). This, however, again required the sinner to have faith. If they did not believe that their sins were being transferred to the blood of the animal, the process was meaningless to God: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). The transfer of sins from the sinner to the blood of the sacrifice also foreshadowed what Jesus did for us (2 Cor. 5:21; Ro. 3:25; Gal. 3:13; Mk. 14:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24; Is. 53:4-5, 10, 12). If you don’t believe that your sins were transferred onto Jesus and that He rose from the dead, He cannot forgive your sins.
The cherubim protect the ark. The Temple plans that Solomon faithfully followed included cherubim to protect the ark and God’s Word inside it: “7 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim. 8 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles. 9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day.” (2 Chr. 5:7-9). The entry of the ark into the Temple would have happened on the first day of the eight-day festival. To avoid the mistake that Uzziah made when he died after touching the ark while transporting it on a cart (2 Sam. 6:1-7), Solomon had the priests properly carry the ark using poles on both sides (Nu. 7:9; 1 Kgs. 8:6). The Jews considered the placement of the ark with God’s Word inside as their most important act.
The priests bring the ark into the Temple1
The cherubim’s role in guarding God’s Word. The cherubim were guardian angels. They protected God’s Word from the devil. Two large cherubim stood guard above the ark (2 Chr. 3:7, 10). They also faced the door (2 Chr. 3:13). These were in addition to the two cherubim that stood guard above the mercy seat (Ex. 25:18-20; Nu. 7:89). “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” (Heb. 9:5). In addition, the gold-plated Holy of Holies had pictures of peaceful palm trees and other cherubim. This all stressed that God’s Word at the center of the ark was extremely valuable and worth protecting.
The cherubim guarded the contents of the throne room. God did not need protecting. But the cherubim guarded the contents of the ark from Satan who seeks to snatch God’s Word from mankind (Ex. 25:22; Nu. 7:89; 1 Kgs. 8:6-8). Believers are to also guard God’s Word in their heart to protect themselves from Satan’s temptations to sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” (Ps. 37:31). If you don’t memorize God’s Word, Satan will try to remove it from your life: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” (Matt. 13:19). If you want to honor God and show Him reverence, memorize and follow His Ten Commandments. Have you memorized His Commandments?
The contents of the ark brought the peace of the Holy Spirit. The cherubim protected the Word because it symbolized God’s peace, made available to believers through the Holy Spirit. This is represented by the fact that the cherubim first appeared in Scripture protecting the peaceful Garden of Eden after God expelled mankind (Gen. 3:24). This point is emphasized by the palm trees and flowers on the walls and doors (1 Kgs. 6:29, 32). This point is also emphasized by the fact that the cherubim were made of olive wood (1 Kgs. 6:23). In the Bible, olive oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). If you treasure God’s Word in your heart, the Holy Spirit will give you His peace.
The cherubim’s wings symbolized the protections offered through God’s mercy. The wings of the massive cherubim extended 15 feet from one wing tip to another. They were so massive that they touched both walls of the Holy of Holies (1 Kgs. 6:24-27). Their extensive covering symbolized the complete mercy and grace that God offers. This protection is available to anyone who accepts Jesus in faith as their Lord and Savior.
The cherubim also guard the throne room in heaven. The image of cherubim in the Holy of Holies also provides a glimpse into the throne room that believers will experience for eternity: “Let the people tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; let the earth be moved!” (Ps. 99:1; 80:1; 1 Sam 4:4). “Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them.” (Ezek. 10:1). “It was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces, . . . Also there were carved on them, on the doors of the nave, cherubim and palm trees like those carved on the walls; and there was a threshold of wood on the front of the porch outside.” (Ezek. 41:18, 25). Thus, the throne room will be a place of God’s beauty, splendor, and glory. There, you will also receive His protection, His mercy, His grace, and His peace that will guard you (Phil. 4:7).
Without vigilance, fellowship can be quickly broken. The cherubim stood on eternal guard to protect God’s Word. Like the cherubim, you should also be vigilant in guarding your heart. You should never allow your spiritual successes to allow you to become complacent in your walk. If you do, Satan will try to take advantage of you. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Pet. 5:8-10). Who are you accountable to in order to stay vigilant in your walk? Are you also keeping yourself out of environments where you might turn to sin?
The ark contained the Ten Commandments. At the heart of the Temple was the holy of holies and the ark with the Ten Commandments inside: “10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.” (2 Chr. 5:10; 1 Kgs. 8:9). Inside the ark were the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments. The Commandments established the First Covenant (Dt. 9:9; 10:1-5, 8). But the jar of manna (Ex. 16:33) and Aaron’s budding rod were no longer in the ark (Nu. 17:10; Heb. 9:4). These things may have been lost when Philistines captured the ark (1 Sam. 4:11). The Philistines must have looked at the tablets of stone and considered them to be worthless. In some ways, many believers also consider God’s Ten Commandments to be worthless.
The contents of the ark2
Jesus is the Word who became flesh and gave the Ten Commandments. Moses met God at the burning bush at Mount Horeb. When Moses asked who had sent him to free the Jews in Egypt, God said to Moses, “I am that I am [Ehye-Asher-Ehyeh]. . . . Thus, you shall say to the sons of Israel, I am has sent me to you.” (Ex. 3:14). The great “I am” later gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Dt. 4:10; 9:9). Centuries later when Jesus made statements to the Jews about Abraham as though He personally knew him, the Jews asked him: “You are not yet 50 years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (Jo. 8:57). Jesus responded: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am. [Ehyeh]” (Jo. 8:58). At that point, the Jews picked up stones to kill him for claiming to be God (Jo. 8:59). Jesus proclaimed that He was the great “I am” who both commissioned Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments. Moreover, He was the Word that was given to Moses and the Jews at Mount Horeb: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jo. 1:14). Thus, Jesus, the Word, is a treasure worth protecting and reading.
Show that Jesus is your greatest treasure by reading His Word on a regular basis. Just as the Jews guarded Jesus’ Ten Commandments in the heart of the Temple, you should consider Jesus’ Word a treasure worth guarding in your heart: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). If you treasure Jesus’ Word, He will guide your path in times of darkness: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). Jesus’ Word is also the key to finding the kingdom of heaven. Once you realize that, you will consider it your greatest treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt. 13:44). His Word also provides wisdom that is greater than gold: “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Prov. 16:16). Are you regularly reading and memorizing Jesus’ Word to guard it in your heart?
Show that Jesus is your greatest treasure by following His Word Ten Commandments. If you accept that Jesus is the “I am” who authored the Ten Commandments, He urges you to show your love for Him by keeping His Commandments: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. . . He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (Jo. 14:15, 21). “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (Jo. 15:10). “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1 Jo. 2:3). Jesus later stated that the Ten Commandments could be summarized into the two commandments of loving God and your neighbor. (Matt. 22:36-40). Commandments one through five show your love for God. Commandments five through ten show your love for other people. If you truly treasure the wisdom in Jesus’ Commandments, you should want to follow them out of love for Him.
The Levites sing songs of praise for God. After the ark had been brought into the Temple, the Levities led the Jews in worship and praise for God: “11 When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions), 12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets 13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, ‘He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,’ . . .,” (2 Chr. 5:11-13(a)). The dedication process concluded with an eight-day celebration during the Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot (1 Kgs. 8:65-66). The people came from the most distant places in Israel from the south to the north for the dedication (1 Kgs. 8:65). It was a time of joyous celebration across all of Israel (1 Kgs. 8:66). On this occasion, they had an additional reason to sing. They were grateful for the return of God’s holy presence.
The people sing and worship joyfully at the Temple dedication3
Give thanks for your new beginnings in Jesus. The Feast of Tabernacles lasted eight days (1 Kgs. 8:66). After the seven-day festival, the people were together for a holy convocation on the eighth day (Lev. 23:36). Seven is a number of completeness in the Bible. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Ex. 20:11). The ordination of the priests also lasted seven days (Lev. 8:35-36). The number eight in the Bible symbolizes new beginnings. The priest’s new duties began on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1). The eighth day was also the day that a child was to be circumcised as being part of his covenant with God (Lev. 12:3). Jesus also rose from the dead on a Sunday, the eighth day or the first day of the new week (Matt. 28:1). If you are excited for the new beginnings that Jesus made possible, this is the appointed time to celebrate it.
Jesus also came to bring joy. God’s holy days revealed the “shadows” of Christ (Col. 2:17). Sukkot was the most joyful holy day. It celebrates when God came to dwell or “tabernacle” amongst us. It also foreshadowed both when Christ dwelled with us and when He will again “tabernacle” with us during His 1,000-year reign on Earth. It also foreshadowed the joy that comes from Him alone (Lk. 2:10-11). This Feast was a “perpetual statute throughout your generation. . . ” (Lev. 23:41). If you celebrate it, “your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands. . .” (Dt. 16:15). Thus, you can receive a blessing when you celebrate Jesus on this day.
The importance of grateful praise in maintaining fellowship. Being grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross is an important way to keep yourself free from returning to your sin. This in turn helps to maintain your fellowship with Jesus. If you don’t care about His sacrifice or if you don’t internalize the price He paid for you, you are more likely to backslide into sin. Thus, offer constant praise and thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). As our example, David regularly thanked God through songs of praise (e.g., Ps. 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 97:12; 100:4; 106:1; 107:1, 8; 116:17; 118:1, 119:62; 140:13; 147:7). Being grateful should not be limited to the times when things turn out right for you. Your gratefulness should also include the stressful times when adversity strikes. You can always give thanks because God is in control. Are you giving thanks for all of God’s blessings in both the good times and during your trials?
God’s Glory fills the Temple. After the dedication process was complete, God’s glory filled the Temple: “then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” (2 Chr. 5:13(b)-14). The “cloud” was a symbol for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was also the cloud that Moses entered to receive the Ten Commandments: “Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” (Ex. 24:18).
God’s glory filled the Temple4
The Holy Spirit will help to keep you in fellowship by remembering Jesus’ Word. Today, the Holy Spirit is the one who speaks to you to correct you when you sin. He does this by causing you to remember Jesus’ Word: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jo. 14:26). “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” (Jo. 15:26). But, if you don’t know God’s Word, you have not given the Holy Spirit much to “remind” you about His Word. This can lead to a hardened heart. When the Holy Spirit tries to speak to you, you may not understand His voice.
Fellowship through the Spirit brings joy. Jesus offers you an abundant life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). The abundant life that He offers includes the peace and joy that only the Holy Spirit can provide: “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17). “[I]n Your presence is fullness of joy;” (Ps. 16:11; 21:6). Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Ro. 14:17; 15:13). Living your faith and walking with Jesus also involves sharing the joy of the Spirit: “ . . . I rejoice and share my joy with you.” (Phil. 2:17(b)). “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Phil. 2:2). When you suffer setbacks, do you feel the joy of the Spirit? If not, you may have fallen out of fellowship through unrepentant sin in your walk.
You can experience part of God’s fellowship through the Holy Spirit. God previously had the Tabernacle built so that His Holy glory could be amongst God’s people: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Ex. 40:34; Lev. 16:2; Nu. 7:89; 9:15-16). Here, His presence began to fill the Temple: “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.” (1 Kgs. 8:11). God’s holy presence later became flesh through Jesus (Jo. 1:1, 14). Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus allows believers to experience part of His glory: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” (Jo. 17:22). Today, God’s Holy Spirit dwells within you (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22; Heb. 3:6; Rom. 13:14; 2 Tim. 1:14). Whenever two or more are gathered in His name, His presence is also there: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20). Thus, a believer must therefore not forsake the fellowship of other believers (Heb. 10:25). To maintain Jesus’ fellowship, are you also keeping the temple of Holy Spirit holy by renewing your mind and staying pure? (Rom. 12:1-2; Jam. 1:27).