2 Chronicles 6:18-21
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you…
These elevated and eloquent words suggest to us what is -
I. A FALSE THOUGHT OF GOD IN RELATION TO THE SANCTUARY. It may be, and probably is, imagined by the idolatrous that the temple of their deity contains the object of their worship; that it is his residence and home; that it suffices for him. Solomon had no such false thought about Jehovah; he knew that "the heaven of heavens could not contain him," and "how much less the house that he had built!" God's presence is not to be limited in our thought in any way whatever. He is "within no walls confined," and if we so habituate our mind to think of him as being present in some sacred place as he is not elsewhere, we "limit the Holy One" as we should not do. The only difference in the presence of the Eternal and Infinite One can be in our thought and to our imagination.
II. THE TRUE THOUGHT OF HIM IN THAT RELATION. As those who worship God in the sanctuary, we should accustom our minds to think of him as:
1. The very present One. "Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?" In very deed and in truth. Not only is his presence everywhere, and therefore within any walls that may be erected in his honour, but he is actively present there, interested in all that is passing there; "his eyes open... day and night" to observe all that is there done before him. The prevailing thought of those who "go up to the house of the Lord" should be that they are about to meet God, to stand and to bow before him; to address him even as they address their neighbour, only with deepest reverence and in lowliest homage of heart. The commanding and restraining thought, the penetrating, soul-pervading thought of those who occupy the sanctuary, should be that of Israel at Bethel, "Surely God is in this place."
2. One who is waiting to be worshipped. Solomon earnestly and repeatedly desires of Jehovah that he would "hear his servant(s)," that he would "hear their prayers." If only we are engaged in really reverential worship, we have no need to doubt this. God is not only "to be entreated" of us; he is always to be found of all who truly seek him. Nay, he seeks us as his worshippers. "The Father seeketh such to worship him" (John 4:23), i.e. such as worship him in spirit. All they, therefore, who draw nigh to God with a pure desire to render to him the homage and the gratitude of their heart, to renew before him their vows of loving attachment and holy service, to ask of him his Divine guidance and enrichment, may make quite sure that they "do not seek his face in vain."
3. One who is ready to forgive. "When thou hearest, forgive." We should meet continually with God under a blessed sense of sonship, as those "whose transgressions have been forgiven," and who are as children at home with their Father, as redeemed ones with their Saviour. This is the true basis of communion with God. But, even then and thus, it becomes us to bethink ourselves that our service is not untainted with imperfection; near to our lips should be the recurring prayer. "And when thou hearest, forgive." Humility is not disowned by the more advanced graces of trustfulness, love, joy in God. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!