Scripture text for Wednesday, February 24th, 2010: 1 Kings 8:1-9:9
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“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple have I built!” 1 Kings 8: 27
As I admired the interior of the sanctuary with its gothic style arches and beautiful stain glass as it captured the warm rays of sunlight, I tried to imagine what the church was like in its early days and then my thoughts were interrupted by the waiter. See the church where I now sat was a restaurant not a house of worship. Once possibly known by its congregation as a house of God, is now better known today as a place to dine on crab cakes and other Norfolk, VA cuisine. How does a place of worship become reduced to a dining hall? One could look into the local Norfolk history for an answer; maybe it was as simple as the congregation outgrew the building….we here at Riverside can relate to that problem or possibly the congregation dwindled in size to a point they could not keep their doors open. Regardless of the cause, the structure is no longer serving as a place of worship but it can serve as a reminder for us today that no matter how much we seek to build a great church building…God is bigger, more reverent, more powerful than anything we can capture in architecture. Does God reveal himself any less in a mud hut in Africa than he does in a crystal cathedral? As we dig deep into these passages of the Old Testament, we learn that the King Solomon’s temple served a much different role than our local modern church buildings do today. However, God’s warning to his people in 1 Kings 9 is applicable to us today. God instructs his people that his eyes and heart will be in the temple…
“…but if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all people. And though this temple is now imposing all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘ Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘because they have forsaken the Lord their God. . . .’”
If our Riverside congregation continues to outgrow our current location and we seek a new location, may we be mindful of these passages. May our hearts dwell in His temple so he will dwell in our local sanctuary.
Devotion prepared by Todd Kelley