Randall D Kittle once said: If God granted us our desires & poured out His glory in our midst, would we recognize it? Would we be truly excited about it? Would we even still be alive?
As I was preparing this message what I believe I heard the Spirit saying is Pray in the Glory. There are 2 ways to understand this: One is to pray under the Glory. The other is to pray the Glory in. I believe God means the 2nd. So today I want to look at ways that could be done.
I want us to look again at 2nd Chronicles. Here is our pattern. This is what it took for the Glory of God to manifest. We will start start in chapter 5, verse 11 but first there are some things I think we should consider.
By the time Chapter 5 opens the Temple is completely finished. The walls are built. The courts are furbished with the bronze alters, the incense bowls, the golden candlesticks, the menorah, the showbread stand, the water carts, the lamp snuffers & tongs. The decorations of palms & pomegranate are complete, the Holy of Holies has been overlaid with gold, the curtain hung. Lastly Solomon summons the elders of Israel to bring the Ark to the Temple[5:2] then in 5:3 we read the nation gathered to celebrate Sukkot. That this should take place at Sukkot is interesting because it celebrates [amongst other things] God tabernacling, or meeting, with man. Everything has been constructed according to God’s own very specific instructions. Solomon prays; the Glory descends & fills the temple .
I’ve got a lot rattling round in my head but I will try to go slowly & explain what I am seeing.
I’ve got a lot rattling round in my head but I will try to go slowly & explain what I am seeing.
Firstly, the Temple did not begin with Solomon. It did not even begin with His father, David. It began with God, then with Moses in the desert. In the desert Moses set out the sacred area, the Tent of Meeting, in the pattern prescribed by God & Israel encamped about it in their tribes. Please note, the Tent of Meeting was central. Everything else moved around it. As one entered the sacred spaces they grew holier & holier just as they later would in the Temple. There was always great order, a set way of doing things. There was great vision. Moses set out to replicate what he saw in the heavenlies & his vision helped fire David’s desire to build a home for the Name of God. David saved huge amounts of gold & silver & bronze towards the building of the temple & though he himself was not allowed to build the temple his vision & foresight meant Solomon had everything he needed to complete the actual construction.
Inside the ark were 3 things: a gold pot of manna representing God’s provision; Aaron’s budding almond staff representing both God’s anointing & His authority [Numbers 17]; & the stone tablets of the 10 commandments representing God’s Law.
There have been 2 temples: Solomon’s & Herod’s. The Babylonians destroyed the first, the Romans the 2nd. Today no Temple stands on the temple mount in Jerusalem however there is still a temple.
Paul [1 Corinthians 3:16] informs us that we are the temple!
Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.
Peter confirms this [1 Peter 2:5]
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
Peter also refers to us as a Holy priesthood who offers spiritual sacrifices.
Just like the original temple each of us has 3 spaces: our outer court, or our flesh; our inner court or our soul; & our Holy of Holies, our Spirit which is the new creation & where the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us.
Our Holy of Holies also holds the Law for God promised: "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Jeremiah31:33 & Hebrews 10:16
We are anointed with the Holy Spirit & carry His authority. And we have been given all we need.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvellous glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3
Now we know that the Holy Spirit has sealed us unto the day of Redemption but there is a difference between the presence of God & a manifestation of His Glory.
Just as in the days of old you, as the priest of your temple, have certain priestly duties: Praise [“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psa. 100:4], Prayer [Matthew 21:13 Jesus Himself says My house shall be called a house of prayer], Spiritual Sacrifices: these include the sacrifice of Praise [Hebrews 13:15], Healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead… Matthew 10:8
Are you still with me? So we have our temple & we have our priests. Hopefully we are all performing our priestly duties.
Now what I am about to speak on has nothing whatsoever to do with your salvation! Nothing! Salvation is a free gift [Eph 2:8] You can get saved & remain a baby Christian all your life & lots & lots of people do that but that is not what God desires for any of His children. He want us to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children [Eph 4:14]
Remember, when we first talked of the Glory of God we said it was the fullness of everything God is & does & that that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ ~ so when we talk about maturity we are talking about allowing God’s glory to be revealed in & through us as we live in Christ Jesus in us.
Now that isn’t just going to happen. Look at the pattern. 2 Chronicles 5:11 ~ All the priests who were present had purified themselves… Under the old covenant that would have been ritual & ceremonial purification but under the new it is the blood of Jesus & making no provision for the lusts of the flesh [Romans 13:14] but rather clothing ourselves with Christ, renewing our minds & we have talked about the practical ways we can do this. Babies aren’t required to do this. Babies have no understanding. Babies are incapable of the deeper things of God.
There was a great deal of praise. Please bear in mind this was not a spur of the moment thing. You can read in first Chronicles how David set up a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 33 years praise effort surrounding the Ark. The Ark wasn’t hidden behind a curtain either. We need to develop lives engulfed in praise. Again this is not new teaching. We don’t praise God for affliction or suffering, pain or sickness. We rejoice because we know the one who redeems, who heals, who saves, who provides, who is always good, who’s lovingkindness endures forever.
There is humility. Solomon was king over all of Israel yet when he entered into the presence of God he humbled himself before all the people. Now here is where it gets interesting. As Solomon prays he asks for right judgement, repentance, intercession. Please turn to 6:41
One: there is an invitation. We need to invite God in continually to rule & operate through us. This is His home. When you enter your home you don’t want to be constantly repairing, renovating, cleaning. You want to walk in, dump your shoes, toss of your jacket, get a cuppa & rest. Now God will do the work; that’s part of His promise to us but if all He ever gets to do is renovate, repair, clean all your time together will be on busyness rather than rest & it is in times of rest people really get to know each other so…..
Note the 2nd thing is along with your power. What is the symbol of God’s power in us? His Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit is always with us & He has a very specific job description. The Father’s presence cannot abide any sin but 3, oh! 3 is the grace of God revealed because Solomon prays that God’s priests be clothed with His salvation! What a wonderful thing that is! The blood of Jesus washes away our sin. He clothes us with His righteousness.
Romans 3:22 says: We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
Now that has a practical outcome. That means God no longer looks upon our sin. All He sees is the righteousness of Christ clothing us! That means He can abide with us & us with Him. Not just His Spirit, not just Christ in us, but the Father Himself; the Great I AM.
Solomon finishes with 3 petitions: that God’s people always remember His goodness & how important is that when God is getting blamed these days for Isis & terrorism & racial inequality & paedophilia in the church & a whole heap of other things when the scriptures tell us God can’t be tempted nor does he tempt any one [James 1:13] so all these things are on us & a fallen world; that God’s anointed be not rejected & we have the fulfilment of that promise for Romans 11:29 says For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. If you are a child of God you are called. If you are called you have been gifted. That remains no matter what.
Lastly Solomon asks that God remember His unfailing love for His people. God never forgets. I suspect this was more a reminder for Solomon himself than for God & we too need to remember God’s unfailing love for us: all those times when He’s interceded for us, provided for us, upheld us in times of trouble & weakness.
7:1 says: When Solomon had finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven & burned up the burnt offerings & sacrifices, & the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple.
The key to the Glory of God is prayer. Not any old prayer. Not the prayers we commonly pray of intercession, for salvations or healing, or wisdom though all these sorts of prayers have their place. No! God’s glory is not for our self~ aggrandizement, or to tickle our flesh, or to elevate us to some super spiritual realm where we just get to bask ~ & my flesh would be happy with any or all of that. Sadly I have found God to be supremely practical & even His Glory has a practical purpose. No. God’s heart is for people & when His Glory appears the result is the salvation of many souls.
We have been praying for our islands. We have been praying for people to come to know Christ, to return to God.
Understand this: The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9
1 Timothy 2:1 says this: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
I believe God wants to use us as His church, as His body, for the salvation of many but we have to be prepared to put in the hard yards. This is work ~ & it is not easy work. We have to be prepared to turn of the t.v or the radio, stay home, retreat to our prayer closet & get to work & pray for all people. That is not easy. Our flesh will scream. Our minds will protest that it is impossible to pray for so & so but remember, if God could save Saul, a self~righteous murderer & torturer & turn him into the Paul who brought salvation to the gentiles then there is no~one too wicked on these islands for His salvation to reach!
Now Rabqa is going to be teaching more on who we are in Christ & please pay attention when she does because we pray positionally from a position of authority & power & that is almost impossible to do until you really grasp who you are in Christ. Secondly, next time I speak I believe the Holy Spirit wishes to discuss with us tools & helps for praying out what the Spirit wants to speak through us & there is power in prayer like no other when you buddy up with the Holy Spirit in this way.
Ok Church, now you get to go forth & practice! Be doers of His word, not hearers only.