More than a meeting house
1 Chronicles 29: This is not just a place for people to meet each other, but a house for God to meet us.
David is raising funds for the construction of the Temple, which will be built by his son, Solomon. It’ll be an extravagant place of worship and the hub of the life of the nation. It’ll also be the place where God will meet with man. As the people of Israel grasp this lofty concept they begin to joyfully and generously give. “Sacred space” has always been important to the people of God. It isn’t that God can’t meet us out in the common places of life because he certainly does. It remains though, that setting aside times and places for the express purpose of encountering the Lord is not only biblical, but is spiritually beneficial too. Note that this passage doesn’t describe the creation of personal, private spiritual hide-a-ways. This passage reminds us of the value of having a place set aside for the purpose of cooperate meetings with the Almighty. As the people of God, we have much to gain by creating sacred space in which we wait upon the Lord together.
Take Away: We aren’t intended to be “Lone Ranger” Christians.
Haggai 1: Do it just for me. Honor me.
I was out doing some errands this week and dropped by the church for a minute. No one was there but me but when I went into the sanctuary, almost without thinking, I removed my hat. At that point I smiled to myself that no one would know whether or not I removed my hat in reverence and I wondered if the Lord even cared. I’ve seen church guys working in the building who went in and out of the sanctuary without a thought about it and, frankly, I’m okay with that. Still, there’s something about being in that place where we worship the Lord that makes it special to me and I want my actions there, even on a Monday when no one else is around, to reflect that reality. Through his prophet the Lord calls for the people of that day to pick up the task of rebuilding the Temple. Practically speaking, they can worship the Lord anywhere. As Jesus put it in John 4:24: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Still, there’s value in setting aside sacred space. Haggai tells them that God feels honored when people make a special effort to provide a place of worship. While I understand that the Temple has a unique role in the life of the people of Israel I still think there’s a connection between it and the place where I worship. We should seriously think about the fact that the Lord didn’t say, through Haggai, “You can worship me anywhere, just do it with all your heart” but, instead said, “Rebuild the Temple; do it just for me. Honor me.”
Take Away: There’s value in setting aside sacred space.