“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!”
1 Kings 8:27
Two things jumped out at me as I read this.
First, I am reminded of the smallness of human beings. This is not really a debatable thing or even a religious of philosophical thing. In relation to the universe, we are infinitesimal. Our Earth is one of the small planets; our sun one of the smaller stars. We live on the arm of a galaxy that we call the Milky Way which floats among potentially billions of other galaxies. For me, this reminder of my smallness and relative insignificance brings me back around to the greatness of my God. My God is present every where and every time in that vast universe. There is no place I can go where He is not. The psalmist wrote as much in Psalm 139 and Solomon expresses the largeness of God with the statement that heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain God. THAT is the God I follow.
Second, Solomon asks, But will God indeed dwell on the earth? The answer to the question he is asking at that exact moment was “No. No, He will not.” Solomon is awestruck by the greatness; the vastness of God. He is asking if the fullness of God can dwell in that temple. And, under the circumstances at the time, He could not. However, there would come a day hundreds of years after this event when God would step out of Heaven and dwell on the earth. As God had come to Eden in the cool of the day to speak with Adam and Eve, so too would Jesus come to His temple and speak with men and women and children. The fullness of God would dwell bodily in the Man, Jesus Christ. In a very literal way, the answer to the question Solomon is asking is, “Yes. Yes, He will.” As the glory of God had filled the temple Solomon built, so too does the Holy Spirit fill those who walk with God. Paul would write to the Corinthian church that we—those who follow Jesus Christ—are the temple of God; the place where the Holy Spirit resides. In that sense, God continues to dwell on the Earth. And there is a time yet future when Jesus will return to this Earth to establish the kingdom promised to David’s lineage. At that time, God will yet again dwell on the Earth.
The application for me this morning is humbling. I need to remember my smallness and my God’s bigness. I am miniscule; diminutive and the things I regard as problems are less difficult for God to handle than for me to remove my foot from the path of an ant struggling to drag some enormous burden past that foot. In addition, God—the same God Who is SO large that my most massive problem is an insignificant effort for Him to resolve—lives in me. I need to be mindful of where I take His house and what I expose it to. I’m not talking about what foods I eat or whether or not I have a Coca-Cola, but how I decorate the walls of my mind and heart: What am I watching? viewing? reading? listening to? thinking deeply on? These are the things that matter. My God is big enough to handle each and every problem in my life and near enough to dwell within me.