The priests could not enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’S house.
2 Chronicles 7:2
When Solomon dedicated the temple to God, God’s glory came down and filled the temple so completely that the priests could not even enter. In other places, the priests were unable to minister because God’s glory was so intense. But that glory is not always there; the intensity dwindles and the priests are called to continue ministering.
It is often much the same in the life of the believer. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; that Christians are a sort of re-institution of the tabernacle — a mobile place for God to interact directly with our world. The temple served — and still serves — a purpose. The temple let everyone know that Jerusalem was unique in God’s eyes; that there was something special about that city that was true of no other city anywhere. And it’s true. Jerusalem is unique still; the center of so many things. The temple was the place to come and meet with God; to learn God’s will; to see God in symbol through the furnishings and the altars and everything within the temple. This should be true of us as believers. People should be able to come to us to meet with God and hear His will and see Him in symbol — lived out through the lives of His people. The temple was more than a building, it was a reminder that God wants to meet with people and that there are certain requirements to how that can be done. The believer should be the same; a reminder that God wants to meet with people and that the requirement for how that can be done is through Christ alone.
So why all of this in connection with the verses about the glory filling the temple? There are times when God does something very similar in the lives of believers. Sometimes, His presence is so intense during a time of praise that our words stop while our spirits continue to respond. The flesh is overcome, but the spirit is elevated. Sometimes, our prayer can become so intimate that words cease and we feel as though God were lifting our hopes and desires and everything else directly from us. The flesh is humbled while the the spirit exults. Sometimes, the believer is aware of God’s power flowing through them to accomplish some great work of God. These experiences are all sometimes, but the daily work of living for God as He has prescribed picks up where these experiences leave off. The glory of God descended on the temple for a unique moment in time; a particular instance of intimacy with our Creator that would never be repeated. The same is true in the lives of believers. There will be those moments of deep intimacy; of overwhelming presence, but those are not the everyday and those are not the place wherein I am meant to live. I am meant to walk in the everyday. I am called to maintain intimacy even when I do not feel it. God never stops hearing my praises or my prayers; never stops looking at my heart and what it wishes I could do for Him. What do I do when the glory has departed and I am left with the daily sacrifices and obedience demanded? My prayer is that I am found faithful; discharging my calling until I am relieved of it by God.