Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Acts 7:48-51 -- On Building a House for God

"Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Hath not my hand made all these things?
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
Acts 7:48-51

God tells us here that he doesn't dwell in temples made with hands, and then he asks a couple of questions that seem rhetorical, but maybe they aren't.  What house will be build him, and what is the place of God's rest?  I think the clue to that is the last verse.  We resist the Holy Ghost, which is where the Lord *wants* to live... with us, every minute of every day, conferring and teaching and assisting us.  And yet, we are stiffnecked, and not unlike our fathers, who (as it explains in a large part of this chapter) persecuted the prophets, worshipped idols, and betrayed Christ.  We have a whole world's history of resisting God, with only a few notable exceptions which we usually call prophets.
1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us "ye are the temple of God" and "the spirit of God dwelleth in you."  It mentions this elsewhere in the scriptures as well.  I don't think that this means that God has no use for actual buildings that are temples... on the contrary.  I think they are important, and are the model for the behavior that is being taught here.  *We* need to be temples.  We need to be beautiful, and clean, and set aside for a holy purpose.  We need to invite the Holy Ghost in, and be pure enough that God can hang out with us and not be offended by the contents of our minds or what we are doing with our bodies.
Today, let's try to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us.  Let's learn from our own past mistakes too. :)  Let's do some internal cleaning.  Let's let go of our rebellion and our persecution and out idol worship, and everything else that gets in the way of our relationship with God.  Let's make sure our minds and hearts are open and welcoming, and let's invite God in.  And let's see how long we can go without offending him.  If we do, then let's clean up and try again, repenting and apologizing to God where necessary.  It's not an easy thing to keep the Holy Ghost with us all the time... but that is what God wants.  He wants us to be pouring effort into this rather than into rebellion and questioning and refusing to listen.  He knows that life is hard for us, and that it is easy to get overwhelmed... but he wants to be there with us, talking it through and making it better instead of being rejected and ignored.  Let's build a house for God today, where he, and we, can rest.

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