Person Over Place

“Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, the silver, the gold, and the vessels, and stored them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord… The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

“Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever… The Lord said to David my father, “Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son… shall build the house for my name.” Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise.., and I have built the house for the name of the Lord…’

“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart… Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!'” 1 Kings 7:51; 8:11b-13,18-20,22-23,27

The temple Solomon built was splendid, but temporary. It was a place of meeting, sacrifice, and worship that reflected the beauty and glory of God, but it would not endure. Solomon’s prayer indicates that he knew God’s interest was in His relationship with His chosen people over a specific place, the temple representative of His holy presence among them and a sacred location for their personal returning and recommitting to Him. God’s promise in response affirmed that His blessing and favor were on the heart and royal throne of David more than the consecrated building. (1 Kings 8:57-61; 9:3-5a; 2 Chronicles 36:17-19; Psalm 89:3-4,20-29)

The beautiful edifices we erect in life do not beautiful people make. They may be fabulous, unique, or exquisite, but it is the people within who have and hold the affection of God. When our constructions collapse or come to ruin, God cares deeply for us, and abides to bring us through disappointment and grief to Him as our sanctuary. (Ezekiel 11:16)

Where are we building security? Our God does not reside in homes of wood, stone, clay, or concrete. Do we value places and belongings more than heavenly treasure? Do we take more time primping our physical exterior than developing our spiritual interior? Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, His dwelling place. What priority are we giving the person we offer to Him as a living sacrifice? (Matthew 6:20; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Does the way I spend my attention, money, and time reflect greater interest in things and place than who I am as His child, and the souls of other people? How carefully am I tending to matters of the Spirit, so what I leave as a legacy lasts for eternity?

Father, grant me a heart of wisdom and godly spiritual priorities in a tangible world. May I carry Your balm and beauty to the hurting places in hurting people. (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 1:17)

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