Lord, how I thank You
and praise You for showing me
Your presence in a new way.
The temple is finished!
Lord, how exciting...
for it was time to usher in
the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
This was Your dwelling place
of the Old Testament!
Then the priests brought in
the ark of the covenant of the Lord
to it's place in the inner sanctuary
of the temple,
to the Most Holy Place,
under the wings of the cherubim.
For the cherubim spread their two wings
over the place of the ark,
and the cherubim overshadowed
the ark and its poles.
1 Kings 8:6-7 NKJV
This is the first time, Lord
that I have ever considered how dark
it must have been in this place...
within the temple, in this inner sanctuary.
During a time before electricity,
where only lampstands of gold stood.
Aaron and the priests were instructed
to keep them continually lit
outside this holy room. (1)
And now it is more obvious why.
For there were no windows, nor doors.
This, a room draped by heavy, holy curtains...
of blue, purpose, crimson and fine linen. (2)
And now I see in my mind,
the wings of these cherubim
spanning wall to wall thirty feet wide
and ten feet tall, and these verses telling...
they overshadowed the ark!
Was there any light inside
this Most Holy Place?
Was the chief priest allowed to carry
even a candle with him when he entered?
Maybe that is why he burned incense?
I close my eyes and try to envision it...
so grand, these cherubim, towering above.
So precious this ark of the covenant,
too holy to touch, the very atonement seat
upon which Your presence rests.
These priests were truly to be respected.
For they were brave men indeed.
Living under Your anointed grace.
I cannot even fathom entering this place,
if I had been a priest in their shoes...
wondering had I completely confessed,
fully cleansed, and rightfully sanctified
before donning the priestly garments
and stepping foot on this holy ground?
I would much rather be a commoner
walking behind the procession outside...
those musicians and singers bringing the ark.
This grand entry,
what a beautiful honor to God.
Written here in 1 Chronicles,
but not mentioned in 1 Kings,
for the unity of praise in song I believe
is what ushered and welcomed
this mist of Your presence.
...and the Levites who were the singers,
all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun,
with their sons and their brethren,
stood at the east end of the altar,
clothed in white linen, having cymbals,
stringed instruments and harps,
and with them one hundred and twenty priests
sounding with trumpets...
indeed it came to pass,
when the trumpeters and singers were as one,
to make one sound to be heard
in praising and thanking the Lord,
and when they lifted up their voice
with the trumpets and cymbals
and instruments of music,
and praised the Lord, saying:
“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever,” (3)
that the house, the house of the Lord,
was filled with a cloud,
so that the priests could not continue ministering
because of the cloud;
for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.
2 Chronicles 5:12-14
When all the praise and worship was unified...
lifted from earth to heaven above,
You, Lord came down,
You, God filled the Most Holy Place like a cloud
causing he priests to stop.
The priests could not even stand near.
They were overpowered
by the abundance of Your glory,
honor, splendor and riches
that filled the temple.
And they could no longer minister.
But I am grateful to usher in Your presence
with thanks and praise
when I join with others in worship...
in one voice,
Give thanks to the Lord,
for He is good.
His faithful love endures forever.
This cloud, this appearance...
was nothing new.
But Solomon stood before the people
and proclaimed it to be You, nonetheless.
He wanted to reassure them.
For they may not have recalled...
the cloud that suspended
over the mountain
when You met with Moses. (4)
Or the pillar of cloud You used
to lead the Israelites by day. (5)
Even when You told Moses...
warn Aaron to be cautious
upon entering the Most Holy Place,
that You would be there as a cloud. (6)
Clouds just seem like clouds
to most people today , Lord.
In this age of grace, it seems
that everyone has become too busy...
people simply don't often look for You.
Maybe it's because they don't
expect the miraculous anymore.
And while I still believe...
I need to simply stop and take notice.
Will You appear in a cloud for me?
Maybe as fog on the lazy morning
when the sun takes its time to slowly rise.
Maybe as a storm cloud
in a sun-streaked thunderstorm
that sneaks past my window
on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Or could You even be...
in the steamy bathroom mist
from a bit too long shower?
The one that makes me
late as I wipe a circle clear
to gaze at my reflection.
Slow me down long enough, Lord,
to spend a moment more realizing
that You are thinking of me today.
Word of God,
train me, today...
to take time to thank and praise You, ushering Your presence into my every moment,
to make time for You today, and realize that Your presence is ever for me.
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