To experience the glory of God
When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. The priests could not enter the Temple of the Lord because the glorious presence of the Lord filled it. When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 After the temple was built under the leadership of King Solomon, how he longed to experience the presence of God get manifested. He had devoted great amount of time and resources to build an extravagant building. From the text, we read about how God allowed His presence to be felt among the people that looked up to God with favor. Solomon and the rest of the people of God made elaborate preparations as they anticipate to experience the presence of God (see 2 Chronicles 5). However, they were aware that God was the One to choose where He wants to dwell. After Solomon finished his prayer a fire came down from heaven and consumed their offering. Even the priests could not enter the Temple for fear that they might not be able to bear to experience the presence of God and that they would die. “But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). There was no mistaking that God’s presence was a sight to behold. But we need to be aware as well that God does not dwell only in places built by the hands of men. In the Book of Acts, Stephen was stoned to death by the religious leaders because he rebuked them from ignoring the prophecies from the Old Testament pertaining to the coming of Christ. In Acts 7, he reminded them of the symbols given to them signifying the coming of the Messiah and he mentioned that God’s presence was not only to be felt in the Temple for the “Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands” (Acts 7:48) Then he proceeded in verses 49-50 by quoting Isaiah 66:1-2, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the Lord. ‘Could you build me such a resting place? Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’” When God dwells and occupies a place, His glory becomes evident. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” Those whose lives are surrendered in Christ are indwelt by God’s presence. King Solomon knew that in order for God’s presence be revealed in the Temple he built, the task must not be taken lightly. Same thing with our lives, we should not take lightly the knowledge that God makes His dwelling in us. He did not come and inhabited our lives by our own whims and impulses but it was in His terms. When you know that God’s presence dwells in you, it is impossible to remain the same and to carry on with life as if nothing has changed. Be reminded that His presence abides in you through the Holy Spirit. It is His presence you are magnifying as you live your life walking in His presence.