Chocolate lovers may want to skip the first paragraph, but then again, chocolate lovers may have the greatest appreciation for the first paragraph. My wife, Cindy, is an amazing cook, especially when it comes to desserts. She is also a chocoholic. I once asked her to make a batch of brownies for a Junior High class. Everyone in the class got a brownie, but I asked them to wait a moment until everyone had one. I then told them they could go ahead and dive in. There was immediately chocolate being spit out into napkins and even a few running to the trash can. It pained Cindy greatly, but I had asked her to replace the sugar in the brownies with salt for an object lesson. I do not know whether the youth remembered the object lesson, but it was not until the younger siblings of the youth that were actually in that class made it through high school that the "Did Miss Cindy make the brownies question?" went away.As we approach the end of 2 Kings, the house of God struck a deep chord with me. David asked the Lord to let him build a house for the Name of God to dwell upon earth. God had wandered with the Israelites and would descend upon the tabernacle, a splendid tent that drew imagery back to the garden of Eden. The Israelites were finally having cities and homes in which to dwell, but the God almighty still dwelt among them in a tent. God did not allow David to create a dwelling place for him, but he allowed David's son, King Solomon, to build him a dwelling, the temple. Like the tabernacle, the description of the elaborate details of the temple are presented in detail. The imagery similarly points back to the time in the Garden of Eden when God would visit man, Adam and Eve. A time when God would stroll alongside man and commune with them. But Satan intervened, and sin came between the relationship between God and man. The Temple has tremendous imagery of God's desire to be with Man, the creation that he loved so much.
As we wind down in the stories of the Kings of Israel and Judah, we run into a couple of Kings of Judah that seemed to get it. As I was reading about all the reforms of Josiah, it sounded sort of like cleaning up around my parents' home as we prepared it for sale. Haul off 7,000 lbs of scrap metal, 200 used plastic jugs that had been washed clean, the list of things you would not expect just kept going on.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven… (2 Kings 23:4)
How far had they descended? What was all of this doing in the dwelling place of God. The account goes on and on, the long list of items of worship to all the different gods of the land of Canaan, the very thing that God called abominations that were to be destroyed. But here they still were, now in the house of God. Just like the brownie's made with salt, the taste in God's mouth was not the pleasure that he enjoyed as he walked with his creation in the Garden of Eden. It was a taste that made God want to spew them out.
But we move into Isaiah and start seeing signs of God's plan to dwell once again amongst his people.
The imagery of the temple carries one back to the beauty of the relationship of God with Adam and Eve, walking together with God in the garden. It carries one to the imagery of the temple as God's dwelling place on earth. And here we are, God's dwelling place. But then Paul takes us to the same issue that cost the Israelites their close relationship with God over and over.
In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, referencing back to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel:
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
"I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people."
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you." (2 Corinthians 6:16-17)
I do not believe that Paul was forming an analogy as he declared that we are the temple of the living God. We are the temple of God, we are the creation that God loves and the place where he chooses for his Spirit to dwell upon Earth. The temple built by Solomon was far too small to contain the Spirit of God. Solomon even built a bigger house for himself than he did for God.
Unfortunately, just like the Israelites did to the house built for God, the temple, we fall short. We allow things into our lives that should never be in the temple of God. God tired of the Israelites corrupting their land, corrupting their relationship with him. He allowed them to be led off into captivity. But he sent a savior, he sent his Son, to restore that relationship, to restore that sweet taste of a pure relationship with Him.