Where God Dwells

"So Solomon built the temple and completed it".  1 Kings 6:14

The temple of ancient Israel was one of the most glorious pieces of Hebrew history.  It was ordained by God in its development, and God gave specific instructions as to how it was to be constructed, and what was to be used and placed within it.  Solomon's temple, and later Zerubbabel's temple, were based on the basic design of the tabernacle that God has told Moses to construct as they wandered in the wilderness.  The tabernacle was mobile, the temple permanent.  But both had the idea of a special dwelling place for God.

Abraham Kuyper has compared the blueprint of the temple with the makeup of a human being.  The temple had three major areas located within its walls - the outer court, the inner court, and the Most Holy Place (or Holy of Holies).  The outer court was a place that anyone could come, and sometimes was called the court of the Gentiles.  The inner court was for Jews only, family so to speak.  The Most Holy Place was reserved for the high priest to enter once a year, and it was seperated by a large veil that set it off as a place of special dwelling.

Interestingly, our lives have similar features don't they?  We have an outer court of our lives.....the public persona that we all have and that anyone and everyone is invited to occupy.  It is a place where though people get to know us, they really only know us at a distance...though who they are getting to know may very well be authentic.  This doesn't suggest artificiality.......just superficiality (and I don't use that negatively).

Then, there is the inner court.  This is the place that "family" comes.  Those that know us best, and those that we let in to the closest parts of who we are.  This is not a space for just any old relationship or acquaintance - it is a special place reserved for invited guests that we allow to see inside of us more intently.  The residents of this part of your life would be immediate family, and the dearest of friends.

And there is the Holy Place.  Here there is only room for two.  The Holy One and you.  It is not a place of high traffic.  Nor is it a space for others to walk in with you.  Just you.  Just God.

It seems apparent to me, given my understanding of God, that God lives in all of these places in our lives.  God, being Omnipresent (everywhere always at all times) has no problem being in our outer courts.  Here we develop the life of our Savior as we live it out in and among people.  Integrity, grace, faithfulness, and humility all can be seen in the outer court.  Without a doubt, God is there.

He is also in the inner court of our lives.  He moves in and among the deep relationships we have with people.  He can be seen, and felt, more in the inner court than the outer because it seems that through these deep relationships we are seeing more of God than we have before.  We are tasting the richness of the encounter of community.......something that the Trinitarian God has perfectly enjoyed from eternity past, and something He calls us to enjoy in Him and with others.  We can see it here much easier......God is in the inner court.

Then there is the Holy Place of our lives.  This is a place that demands quiet.  Reverence.  It's not noisy.  It may even be a little scary.  For the Old Testament High Priest, they would enter this place once a year to deal with the sin of the people before a Holy God.  They would walk behind the curtain and be in the Presence.  For us, this place is not reserved as a once-a-year type place.  It can be an everyday place.................or every moment if we wish.  The book of Hebrews teaches that as believers, we are our own priests and that in Jesus, the separating veil has been torn in two.  We have access directly to God, and we have been invited to come.............often.

I often wonder, though, in my own life...............how often do I really make it in to that place?  The place where I stand alone before God.  I wonder at times how different I really am from the Old Testament priest.............do I go in to that place much more than once a year?  Have I tried to sew the veil back up and keep God at a safer distance in the outer and inner courts of my life?  He wants much more from me.  Better stated, He wants much more OF me.  And you.

So, I guess it's easy to see where God dwells.  The question is, where do you and I dwell?