Bible reading for Dec 7.
2 Chronicles 7.
"And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD's house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, 'For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.'" (7:2-3)
GLORY! Sometime we are brought to see the reality of something much bigger, or greater, or more beautiful than we could possibly have imagined. We may fall to our knees like the worshipers in today's reading. The revelation of God's glory (his infinite power, goodness, excellence) is overwhelming to us in the flesh. The temple was now completed under Solomon's leadership (about 960 BC), and the priests are driven back as God's glory fills the temple. Earlier in Israel's history God had shown the light of his glory in delivering them out from Egypt ("the pillar of cloud and fire", Ex 13). And then God's glory was manifested in the smoke and fire upon Sinai (Ex 19), filling the Tabernacle (Ex 40), and leading Israel through the wilderness. The rabbis called this the "shekinah [dwelling] glory". In this way God's presence was manifested. Later, in the New Testament, this glorious light would be seen to rest upon Jesus while the disciples were on the mount of Transfiguration (Matt 17).
THE LORD OF GLORY. John would write, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). The disciples would realize that the glory of God was mediated through Christ not primarily in bright light, but in his character, his teaching, his healing and miracles, his death, and his resurrection. God's glory rested upon the very Person of Jesus, as the hymn says, "veiled in flesh the Godhead see" (Charles Wesley, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”). And that glory shines into the hearts of believers: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). The pattern and furnishings of the temple, just like those of the tabernacle, pointed ahead to our Lord Jesus. He is the fulfillment. Here's an earlier post about how that pattern foreshadowed the coming of God's Son.
REFLECT. We should also think about how, when we have come in faith to Christ, we are joined to Christ and his glory rests upon us. Atonement has been made, and now God's law (represented in the ark of the covenant) is written upon our own hearts. A. W. Tozer once wrote a book called, "Man the Dwelling Place of God," which expresses the truth that God dwells in, with, and among his people. We ourselves are and will eternally be a kind of sanctuary of God. We will be glorified with Christ (Rom 8:29), and God's glory will rest not upon a building but upon the whole population of God's people in the holy city, the New Jerusalem (Rev 21-22). The Shekinah will rest upon God's people.
"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works." (2 John 10-11)
ON HOSPITALITY. Some have felt that the verse above prohibits greeting people of other faiths (or cults) and inviting them into your home. But in John's world to greet meant to pronounce the Lord's blessing upon them, and inviting someone into your home meant giving them overnight accommodation and a place to lodge while they did their work in the community. Here's a helpful introduction to 2 John from the ESV editors: "Second John warns against the same false teaching mentioned in 1 John. This letter, however, was addressed to 'the elect lady and her children' (perhaps a local congregation), and focused on Christian hospitality. False teachers were using the kindness of Christians to gain influence within John's congregations. John's letter spoke of this danger and warned against opening one's home to these destroyers of the faith. While the basic themes of 1 John—holding fast to truth, love, and obedience—are evident, there is the additional focus on what Christian hospitality is all about. Only when you find agreement on sound doctrine will you find meaningful fellowship. The letter was probably written by the apostle John in the late first century AD."
REFLECT. As Christians we must be aware of the boundary between benevolence (good will toward people) and the approval of sin and untruth. We must be ready to extend mercy in meeting human needs, but we cannot affirm, approve, celebrate, or support wrong beliefs and sinful behavior. See Jesus' words in Matthew 10:11-14. Charles Hodge, the Princeton theologian, summed it up this way: "This is true religion, to approve what God approves, to hate what he hates, and to delight in what delights him."
Image credit. Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.