(Today’s post by Wayne Bunting)
2 Chronicles 5-6
2 Chronicles continues the historical account of Israel’s history by continuing where 1 Chronicles left off. 1 Chronicles ended with the inauguration of Solomon, David’s son, as king, and the death of King David. God blesses Solomon immensely, giving him wealth and (most famously) wisdom. Verse 1:15 says that Solomon “made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stone.” One of the most notable things that Solomon is known for is building the first Jewish temple. The vast wealth that the Lord had given Solomon (and therefore Israel) allowed him to furnish the temple with incredible detail and adornment. All of this is the fulfillment of the promise that the Lord made to David in 1 Chronicles 28:6 that the temple that David longed for would be built by Solomon.
In chapter 5 we see that after the temple is built in Jerusalem Solomon brings the Ark of the Covenant into the temple and places it “in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place.” The Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies; the innermost part of the temple where God’s presence resided, and the place where the priest would enter once a year to commune with God and ask for the forgiveness of Israel’s sins. And what happened next was incredible. The musicians began playing music and worshipping the Lord. Verse 13-14 says that “when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever’ the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” Notice that in 2 Chronicles 5 the cloud of the Lord’s presence did not descend on the temple until the people began worshipping Him. Likewise, in our worship of God today in the church the Lord shows up when we begin worshipping Him.
In the same way that the Lord showed up on the tabernacle when the Jews were in the wilderness, so did He show up on the temple in Jerusalem. The cloud represents the divine presence of the Lord. Just as God’s presence was with the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness, so is He with the Jews as an established nation. In the history of Israel before this event the cloud, God’s presence, showed Israel that He was with them. It guided them in the wilderness (Exodus 13:22), came down on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:9), and is again seen in the same way here.
We have this same presence living in us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was promised to dwell in those who are born again. We have this divine presence represented in the cloud here in Chronicles 5 living in us. Jesus promised us that the “helper,” the Holy Spirit would come (Luke 24:49) and give boldness and power to the church. We see this happen at Pentecost (Acts 2) where the Holy Spirit comes down in fire and enlivens the church. In the Old Testament whenever the Lord finds a sacrifice acceptable there is fire. In the New Testament the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus led to the fire of the Holy Spirit coming down on the Apostles. The Holy Spirit is the driving force of the church. Without it the church is not the church. In Acts we see that the Holy Spirit gives boldness and wisdom to the disciples who previously seemed to have none of either of those qualities. Notice that they are referred to as the Apostles in Acts because they are living out the authority that the Holy Spirit has instilled in them.
The presence of the Lord has been given to us, the church, in order to carry out our role as the church. The last words that Jesus spoke before He went back up to Heaven was to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The Holy Spirit was given to us to carry out that commandment. In addition to this, it is our role to walk in the gifts of the spirit, building up the church and showing the world the power and truth of God. We should not shy away from this presence that lives in us, and instead seek to foster the gifts that He has given us, and become more in tune to the presence of the Lord that is within all of us who are born again. Doing so will allow us to do what we are born again to do: to bring the kingdom of God onto the earth, cause the darkness to flee, and allow God to use us in bringing freedom to those who are oppressed.
So let’s seek to welcome this Holy presence into our lives, into our worship, into all that we do in church, and into every aspect of our lives. Let’s not quench the Spirit and instead open our hearts fully to it, listening to His leading. Without the Holy Spirit we are denying the identifying marker of those who belong to Christ (Romans 8).