(Dear Reader, please refer to Psalm 19 in its entirety as the context for this blog title.)
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork… In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.” Psalm 19:1,4b)
There’s nothing like a 3 a.m. Bible “study” session as a means of managing insomnia. Sometimes I think this simply amounts to the most quiet and solitary opportunity for the Holy Spirit to get our attention… Well, my attention at least. Here’s what the Lord was sharing with me concerning tabernacles and temples in the wee hours.
First of all what is a tabernacle? This was a portable dwelling place or “tent” for the divine Presence during Israel’s exodus from Egypt, their forty years in the wilderness, and through the conquest of Canaan. (For a good primer on the Tabernacle in the wilderness see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabernacle ).
Later on this portable tent for God’s Presence was replaced by a permanent Temple in the time of King Solomon. Thus the words “tabernacle” and “temple” are being used interchangeably here, as serving the same function.
We realize and understand that, as the firmament (visible arch of the sky) is the natural space wherein the Creator makes a “tabernacle for the sun”, likewise our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” – a temple of the Son. The greater universe and space is the macrocosm; we are the microcosm reflecting this reality! Or would it be the other way around?
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
In “outer space” God has made a tabernacle for the sun. Within us, our “inner space”, He creates a temple for the Son! In essence, we are the “house of prayer.” When we receive the Holy Spirit, sin – darkness – is put to flight by the brightness of His coming, and we become the holy dwelling place, tabernacle, or temple (shrine or sanctuary) of the Living God, Who says, “Let there be light”.
We are not our own! What a non-trendy thought that is these days. When God makes a space within us for His Son and proclaims in essence, “Let there be light,” the Holy Spirit comes in and cleans house – as did Jesus when He overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and “scolded” (putting it mildly) them because they had defiled His house of prayer and made it a den of thieves. (See Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46)
What would happen if we begin to think of ourselves as either the tabernacle or temple of the living Presence of the Lord (perhaps both)? We live, move, and have our being in Him, and yet He would dwell within us. That is what “being one with God” is all about! We move about through life and our locations and circumstances, and so are like tabernacles. Yet He does not move His Presence from within us, once He is welcomed and makes His abode within us. In this we are temples.
God intends that His “permanent” dwelling is to be in the hearts of humankind! This can be kind of a difficult thing to wrap our heads around. Maybe it’s not a “head thing”. Perhaps the best thing to do with this is to simply allow it to be so, as we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit. Dwell within me. Cleanse and heal me, and let Your light not only end all the darkness of sin and separation from You, but may it illumine my mind and heart – teaching me all things and bringing to mind all that Jesus has said to me.”
What a blessing to be a tabernacle of the Son! The walking presence of God on Earth is the Father’s business we’re to be about – once we receive Christ through the Holy Spirit.