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John Chapter 4
John Chapter 11
John Chapter 10
John Chapter 9
John Chapter 8
Where Does God Dwell?
Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
(John 4:19-24 NASB)
One can certainly understand why the woman in John 4 would pose the question to Jesus. After all it was the source of division between Jew and Samaritan. But to understand Jesus answer it might help to understand how the temple came to be.
The Story of God’s temple is an interesting one. It actually begins in 2 Samuel 7 where David comes to the seemingly reasonable conclusion that it isn’t proper for him to have a palace of cedar and God to have a tabernacle. So David proposes to build God a temple.
The significance of this is that God never required it, but in permitting it he was reassuring them of promises he had made to them. Namely that he would everlasting kindness towards them so long as they remained faithful. It indeed became a sign of the covenant between them, destroyed when the people forsook Him and rebuilt when He redeemed them. It became a place where the glory of God was made manifest. His presence filling the sanctuary on the day that the ark was brought inside 2 Chronicles 5:11-13 and 2 Chronicles 7:1-3. For all that it was, and all that it would come to mean to them the Temple was always for the needs of the people.
Stephen says as much in His defense in the book of Acts
David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:
49 ‘Heaven is MY throne,
And earth is the footstool of MY feet;
What kind of house will you build for ME?’ says the Lord,
‘OR what place is there for MY repose?
50 ‘Was it not MY hand which made all these things?
(Acts 7:46-50 NASB)
Paul makes the same argument 10 chapters later when he addresses the men of Athens
24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children
(Acts 17:24-28 NASB)
Even though God did not require or need a temple that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lessons to be learned.
1.For the glory of God to dwell among us, we must be dedicated for His service
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:13-16 NASB)
2.While God has no need of our service, what is given to Him must belong to Him
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Colossians 3:1-3 NASB)
3.Honor the commitments made to Him
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
(Colossians 3:14-17 NASB)
There are numerous passages in the new testament where the comparison is made between His people or His church and the temple, (1 Corinthians 3: 10-23, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:1-12). Each of them serves as a call to holiness and serve as a reminder to follow the pattern that we see in Christ.
Are we Holy to the Lord? Can it be said that His word dwells in us richly? Are we keeping our promise to be only for Him? Is God with us, or perhaps more appropriately are we with Him?