A few years ago, we taught the kids in our children’s ministry about Solomon’s temple. I thought it would be fun for the younger elementary class to build a replica of the structure out of those overgrown popsicle sticks that doctors use as tongue depressors.
So, on Sunday, we measured how many craft sticks we needed for each wall and attached them side-by-side with masking tape. Then, with laughter, we attempted to stand the walls together with sticky putty. We built a rough version of the outer and inner courts, the Holy Place, and the holy of holies. Then, we furnished it with an altar, lampstand, and ark of the covenant cut from cardstock.
Finally, our model was complete, but the most important part of the temple worship remained unseen. You see, the temple was where God’s glory dwelt. In Old Testament, we read how this glory was revealed in physical and tangible ways. Israel saw God’s glory in the pillars of cloud and flame. Solomon saw it descend upon the temple like fire.
In Ezekiel’s vision, God’s glory—the divine presence itself—appears: “His voice sounded like the roar of a huge torrent, and the earth shone with his glory” (Ezekiel 43:2). In the vision, God returns to His exiled people, takes possession of them, and lives with them. “While the man was standing beside me,” says the prophet, “I heard someone speaking to me from the temple. He said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet” (vv.6–7).
The scope of that glorious announcement is eternal. In the new temple, God “dwell[s] among the Israelites forever” (v.7). From Ezekiel’s day to the present, no temple has been built that matches the grand measurements described in His vision. But Paul tell us this: “Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1Corinthians 3:16). In another place, he says it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
It’s true. Because Christ’s body was destroyed and rebuilt in three days (John 2:19), we are saved from our sins. Now God has given His Spirit to His people. He dwells in us, and we see His glory. He dwells in us, and we see His glory when men and women use their gifts to build up the body (Ephesians 2:19–22). We see God’s glory in the laughter of children and even in how He uses less-than-glorious craft projects to form them in the faith. God gives us the Spirit. May this Lenten season remind us that we are His temple. May we see His glory as He is at work in one another.