God gives Solomon and the Israelites a sullen warning:
“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them– that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'” (2 Chronicles 7:19-22)
What is going on? Why would God indwell the temple and then destroy it? Because God’s reputation is at stake. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God has one central purpose for creation and for mankind. It all comes down to 1 issue – His glory!
. . .”before all the people I will be glorified. (KJV) Leviticus 10:3
“I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.” (NIV) Isaiah 42:8
. . .”that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NIV) Philippians 2:10
“God’s utmost purpose for Israel was that they should spread His fame to surrounding nations. As the people of God lived out the commands of God, other nations would see the character of God fleshed out before them. . . .Israel’s visible lifestyle would spotlight the invisible yet mighty God who reigned over them and over the universe” (Dwight Edwards). Other nations would draw conclusions about God based upon the Jews lifestyle! Think about that for a minute. The Creator of the universe was staking His reputation on the conduct of His children. The Israelites were to be God’s flesh and blood credentials that He alone is God.
How incredible to think that God would use such unlikely material – people like us! And yet, that is exactly what He’s still doing!
Today, God’s presence does not reside in a temple in Jerusalem, it resides within us.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (NIV) 1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (NIV) 1 Corinthians 6:19
God is still staking His reputation on our lifestyles!