You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple.
He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
What’s more, you are his holy priests.
Through the mediation of Jesus Christ,
you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
1 Peter 2:4-5, NLT
In the Old Testament, God visited His people in many places: He gave Moses marching orders at the burning bush (Exodus 3), met Noah right where he was with a building plan for a big boat (Genesis 6), and whispered Truth to Ezekiel on Mount Zion (1 Kings 19:1-13).
Once the Tabernacle was built, Israelites had a place where they could go to seek God, make offerings, and find atonement for their sin. The presence of God abided there, in the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest could go (Leviticus 16:2).
After the permanent structure was built, God’s dwelling on earth was in the Temple. I love Solomon’s prayer, from the Temple dedication. The humble words ring true for us today:
But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
1 Kings 8:27-20, NIV
The Tabernacle and the Temple symbolized the Holy God’s willingness to make a way to dwell with sinful man (Exodus 25:8). When Jesus walked the Earth, He called Himself the Temple, the dwelling place of God, and He lived among sinful men (John 2:21). Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:22-23). He came to reconcile us to God (Colossians 1:20).
With His death and resurrection, Jesus created a way for Gods people to commune intimately with Him, at any time, in any place (John 4:23-24). In fact, God’s people became His dwelling place, because His Spirit inhabits each one who belongs to Him (John 14:17). We are called living stones, the building blocks of God’s Temple (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Before & After Building the Church
My friend Esther is an amazing artist. She gave me these pictures she painted of the church we both attended in Phoenix, Arizona. The first one captures the building operation. This was a long process, fraught with hiccups and delays. The second photo, the After, is the completed building, a beautiful place where believers meet for worship and fellowship.
You and I are like this church. We are being built up, together, as living stones.
We are a monument to the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us. At the beginning, there is just rubble and no discernible order, but the Builder knows the plans. Sometimes, there are unexpected delays in our progress, though times of waiting are never unexpected to the Lord. Sometimes, portions that we thought were finished must be torn down and built again, but God is faithful.
The Lord will finish the work He began in us (Phil 1:6). We are being built into God’s spiritual temple. We are meant to offer spiritual sacrifices, to being glory to the Lord, Our God, Our Maker.
Esther BeLer Wodrich firmly believes that surrounding herself with beauty brings sanity amidst the chaos of raising four kids alongside her husband. Immersing herself in drawing and painting, she balances her creativity with her relentless pursuit of excellence. Esther spends a ridiculous amount of time holding her breath while working on intricate details but so far has yet to pass out.
Esther prefers to start an artwork with a clean desk, the blinds open, an audiobook playing and a hot cup of coffee. However, especially during her kid’s summer break, she will take whatever she can get.