(2 Chronicles 7:1-3 ESV)
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
There are any number of ridiculous ways to misinterpret this text: – when God’s glory comes there will be no need for church buildings – when God’s glory comes there will be no leadership in the church, God will be our leader, everyone will simply listen to Him only and the need for human leadership and structure in the “body of Christ” will become irrelevant
Ideas like these are not only short-sighted, but they are also aggresively attacked by New Testament texts both descriptively and prescriptively.
The thing that seems to emerge in this text, to me, that also compliments the rest of the Biblical narrative, is the fact that the greater we recognize, see, experience, or are a part of a powerful manifestation of God’s power and glory the more public our worship will become. This scene is powerful in the fact that no one who was a part of this dedication-ceremony-turned-revival was concerned with public opinion or reputation and community standing. Everyone was on their face worshipping and honoring the One who had responded to their humble dedication.
Since worship is not merely lifting hands, singing songs, giving offerings, or hearing sermons we can see where the implications for “great” moves of God are far reaching and can be profoundly culture-altering events. Stories from historical revivials (Hebrides, Great Awakening, etc…) include things like entire communities and geographical areas coming in tears to hear the Gospel and being saved, and incredible accounts of jails, bars, and other “seedy” haunts being emptied and becoming irrelevant. This is what happens when God’s glory comes in a powerful and manifest way, our worship and adoration and love stops being a private affair and invades every aspect of our lives.
There is also a foundational truth to this kind of presence of God that Charles Finney captures in a sermon he preached:
Nothing can make us stable Christians, but to behold his glory, a revelation of Him to us. No excitement, no intellectual acumen, no strength of logic, nothing can secure us but a revelation of God to our souls. We should therefore persevere and insist that this be done for us, that we see God’s glory, and be fixed on Him
We ought not attempt to live any life that would be called Christian without pursuing encounters with the Author and Finisher.