“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
God doesn’t need a temple here on earth to dwell in. Our world is his creation, as are we who live in it. His ultimate purpose for both was to be a part of His creation’s life, our lives. In the early days, He didn’t use a man-made structure to reside in. He walked freely with certain select men who knew who the Lord was and strove to obey Him. But as man multiplied and his chosen people continued to sin, He made a way for His Spirit to be more present, and that was through the tabernacle and the temple.
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
The Old Testament is filled with stories that surround the temple: how it was to be built, the Israelites sacrificing and worshipping at it, their enemies destroying it, the Israelites rebuilding it, and God’s prophetic words of the temple’s future.
God’s purpose of the temple was a separate place where his people could gather and worship Him through their sacrifices and offerings. He promised He would dwell in the most holy and protected section of the temple. This was not only so that His glory and presence wouldn’t overcome and kill the priests, but so that the High Priest who alone was allowed to be in the presence of God had an audience with Him on behalf of the Israelites. This priest was protected by the Holy of Holies curtain, and by the blood sacrifices that he was presenting.
But anything man-made will eventually fail and crumble. A decaying temple portrays a decaying relationship and brings infectious hearts rather than holiness to the people. An unhealthy body, brought about by laziness and indulgence, and a unhealthy spiritual heart, brought about by too much pride, laziness, and apathy, brings about a heaviness that transcends more than the physical, but the emotional and spiritual as well. This neglect leads to a distance between us and being in the presence of our Savior.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
To repair and restore the temple, comparatively our bodies and our hearts, requires both 1. physical labor and 2. internal core work to be done. This also means its time to deep clean our house!!
In Haggai, which was written during the reign of King Darius in 520 B.C., God’s desire for the temple restoration displayed his desire to renew a covenant relationship with His people. God was continually trying to turn his people’s hearts back to himself! He wanted to be among them; simply, He wanted their temple to be repaired and made whole again so that his presence could be among them in a powerful, personal, tangible way.
To be at our peak health-wise, we need to exercise our bodies by getting our heart rate up, and by eating wholesome foods. Our spiritual health needs to be exercised too, through actively serving others, through our confident faith being tested, and by walking in the footsteps of Jesus. All of this is possible because the Holy Spirit, who is dwelling in us, serves many roles in our lives: he convicts us, teaches us, reveals to us, comforts us, inspires us, guides us, seals us, strengthens us, and fills us. As a result, our temple is holy!
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
In the end, when our earthly temples are gone, we will join our Lord in heaven. In that place, it will be clear that we have made it home, for the Holy Spirit will dwell there as the Lord God’s presence IS the perfect temple.
Imagine worshipping the Lord, with thousands of generations of other believers, in his presence in heaven! The curtain that once separated us has been removed, and we will see the Holy One!!
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”
Thank you for desiring to be present with us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit dwelling in us! Please convict us of our laziness, pride, and apathy regarding both our bodies and our relationship with you. May we glorify you by caring for ourselves and by nurturing our bond with You.
In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Food for Thought: Does your temple need remodeling, redecorating, or an open window? Be honest!
Fun Facts: The Tabernacle was believed to have been set up around 1400 B.C. The first temple, also called Solomon’s Temple, was built by King Solomon in 7 years by 957 B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. A modest second temple was built from 535 – 516 B.C. Herod the Great, King of Judea in 37 B.C – 4 A.D, then rebuilt it, which took 46 years. Today, the Temple Mount remains, as well as the Western Wall of the second temple.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman –