“Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?…” (2 Sam. 7:5).
Tradition says we are to go to the “temple”, or in the contemporary context, we must “go to church” in order to experience God’s presence. Therefore, this passage of Scripture causes great tension with advocates of a central meeting place for believers. Why? The problem with this manner of thinking is that it reduces God’s presence to time and space. We are, in essence, actually violating and restricting His freedom to exercise His omnipresence.
Understanding The Text
Let us understand this: God will not be bound by any limitations and restrictions placed upon Him by His creation. Yes, the Scriptures instruct us to assemble together with other believers (Heb. 10:25). This is for the instruction and edification of the Body of Christ. However, each of Christ’s disciples has been made “the temple of the Holy Spirit” through the finished work of Christ and the subsequent work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
This indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each believer allows God to continue to operate within His creation with freedom and without limitation to one central location. His presence dwells within and among us. Therefore, this permits God to use His people as vessels of His love and grace within the world. Because of His indwelling presence, our lives have become the living message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why Is This Important To Us?
What is the importance of understanding this? When we restrict God from operating only in central location, we will eventually begin to attempt to also control how He operates. This occurs once we establish familiarity with His presence. We begin to presume “to know” what is the best course of action and try to bend God’s will to align with our desires. As the Apostle Paul stated, “God forbid!”
God is everywhere present. He will not allow any one people group, religious group, or any group to claim a monopoly on His presence and power. We cannot summon God whenever it is convenient for any of us and return Him to a shelf or box whenever we feel no longer need Him. God cannot and will not be controlled by anyone at any time nor limited to any one place. His Kingdom agenda supersedes anything we can formulate and attempt to implement within this world. He alone is the Sovereign Lord God of Hosts and of all creation.
Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”