1 October 2019

The Dwelling Place of God

Whenever I travel to a European city, whether it is Rome, Paris or Vienna, I make it a point to visit the cathedral and some other churches. Recently I told my son, as we sat quietly together in the pew of a church in Barcelona, gazing at the magnificent architecture, ‘John, whatever else we may think about this place, it is a tribute to the zeal and devotion of Catholic people to God. They built this wonderful church because they believe that Jesus dwells in the place.’

King David expressed similar feelings as he prepared for the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. He said, ‘The house that is to be built for the Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands’ (1 Chronicles 22:5). David loved the Lord and he wanted to honour him by building a beautiful dwelling place for him.

We live in the New Testament era; the shadows and symbols of the Old Covenant are now fulfilled in Christ. The Temple of Jerusalem is in ruins, but the Lord still dwells with his people. The Apostle Paul tells Christians that in Christ, ‘you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit' (Ephesians 2:22). Elsewhere he reminds them, ‘Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16). And again, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

What a fascinating thought – God is pleased to dwell in us who belong to Jesus. His temple, built with living stones, is not located in a particular city, but in every place on earth with his people live. Should we not then endeavor to express our love and devotion to our God by employing our bodies, his dwelling place, to his honour? ‘So glorify God in your body’!

Frances Ridley Havergal expresses the heart desire of God’s people in the following hymn. Let us dedicate ourselves to him.

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be, ever, only, all for Thee.