Lesson from Sunday February 28, 2010
This week the passages covered the fall of Israel as the nation moved from being united under one king to being divided, under separate kings. David’s sin with Bathsheba and Solomon’s failure to pass a strong faith on to his son play a large part in this. Still, both David and Solomon do great things for God. This continues what is now a familiar pattern: God uses flawed people to lead his people and advance his kingdom. When the Lord appears to Solomon and asks him what request he might grant for him (passage) he asks for wisdom, saying, “I am only a child” (3:7). He is generally thought to be about 20 years old at this time as he takes on the role of king.
Solomon is able to lead the people in the building of the temple. After it is complete, he leads them to take the important step to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple. Solomon, with the people all gathered before him, offers up a prayer of praise to God and supplication for the people. After these important events take place, the Lord appears again to Solomon and reiterates the Covenant with him, as he had done with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. Now this Covenant includes the presence of the Temple (I Kings 9: 3 – 9).
Both the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple are interesting because of what they teach about God’s presence with his people. He is in these places in a special way, and yet, as Solomon states, the Lord is beyond, greater than, and not contained by these. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built?” ( I Kings 8: 27). With the coming of Christ, fully God and fully man, we have the presence of God with us in a new way. And, as his time on this earth is ending, he explained to his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit and that through his Spirit he would continue to be with his followers: “Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 17:7). This occurs on the day of Pentecost where we read that “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:4).
Thus coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost fulfills this and brings us to our present moment: God is still with us, not in the Ark of the Covenant or the Tabernacle or in the Temple, but through his Spirit. But this leaves us with an important and difficult question: what does it mean to have God with us, through his Spirit on a daily basis?
- How can we best understand what it means to have God with us at every moment, through his Spirit?
- How has this and is this understood differently by different Christian traditions including Pentecostals?