“When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple.” – 1st Kings 8:10-11
Good Morning Friends,
I have been indulging myself a little this morning in my reading of this chapter in 1st Kings. It contains the story of the Temple dedication by King Solomon. It is a beautiful account of the building of the first temple in Jerusalem, an idea conceived by King David and later brought to fruition by his son, King Solomon. I have spent some time this morning with my imagination wandering through this glorious place and observing the first service held there.
I imagined the wood paneled walls, the gold, the jewels, the tapestries. The finest of all materials and the most skilled craftspeople were sought out for the construction and adornment of God’s new home on Earth. Seven years in the making, it was a sight to behold. And the people; can you imagine the excitement of the worshiping community on the day that the doors opened for the first service? Pure joy in corporate form…
I am fortunate to remember the first day Liberty Crossings opened its doors. It was the first Sunday in Advent, 2007. I am sure that many of you remember it too. I remember the electricity and pure excitement on everyone’s faces as we worshiped that morning. The Holy Spirit was there as well, because I remember the energy that flowed throughout the building. Pure joy in corporate form…
As the story continues, within one generation, the Israelites forgot that day. They forgot what it meant to truly worship the living God, and they became a lost people. They continued down a path of idol worship and neglect of their calling as the chosen ones until they were overtaken by pagan nations and their temple destroyed.
I ask myself, “How could that have happened? How could they forget about God and His faithfulness when this magnificent structure was standing right in front of them?”
I honestly don’t know what happened with the Israelites and their hearts. But I am wondering what could have happened to that next generation, and could it happen to us?
- Did the parents teach their children why they went to worship, or did they just drop them off with a Sunday school teacher and trust that they would be given the knowledge they needed?
- Did the parents make worship a priority, or was it just something they chose to do when convenient?
- Did the parents model worshipful living for their children to follow, or did they make a habit of coming into the service 10 minutes late while talking on their cell phones?
- Did the parents truly worship when in the temple, in a way that made an impact on their children’s hearts, or did they just go through the motions?
As I said, I don’t know what happened to turn the hearts of the younger generation away from God. But in pondering it, I have begun asking myself some very hard questions, lest my children follow the same path.
You are so gracious to me. You have provided me with the opportunity to attend corporate worship in a beautiful setting, free from danger and persecution. I ask Your forgiveness today, Lord. Please forgive me when I have treated Your house as a common place for my consumption. Forgive me, for the times I have entered Your house without a worshipful spirit. And forgive me, if I have failed to teach my children how to worship You.
Help me, I pray, for the sake of my own soul, and those of the next generation, to acknowledge Your presence fully and with great joy at every opportunity. Never let me forget why our church exists. And lead me into being a faithful witness for others to follow.
In the name of my Savior I pray,