In 2 Chronicles Solomon is building a temple to house the presence of God. The structural dimensions and costs involved, for the era or for our time, would have been staggering. The foundation for the temple was around 90 feet long and 30 feet wide. The entry room was 30 feet wide and 30 feet high and was covered with pure gold. The paneled main room of the Temple was made with cypress wood, which was overlaid with fine gold, and decorated with carvings of palm trees and chains. The Temple had extra decorations of beautiful jewels. The beams, entrances, walls, and doors throughout the Temple were overlaid with gold, and there were carved figures of cherubim on the walls. The interior of the temple was covered with 23 tons of thin sheets of fine gold. (At today’s values of $1244 per oz. = $1,009,258,593.28). Gold nails were used to fasten the materials in the holy place of the temple, these weighed 20 ounces each. You can read through the other details about the construction of the temple and the furnishings within the temple in 2 Chronicles chapters 3 – 5.
When Solomon has completed the construction, realizing the vastness and nature of God, he prays to God, “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” (2 Chronicles 6:18 NLT)
All of this structure and expense was to prepare a place for God to dwell, yet at the same time knowing that there is nothing large enough or exquisite enough to contain or house God. Man’s best efforts would never be good enough for the eternal, all mighty, omnipresent God. From God’s perspective the very thought that sinful humans would want to contain or meet with Him here on earth could seem outlandish. Maybe even offensive. Perhaps this is why the Psalmist when looking over the vastness of the heavens above said, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you set in place what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:3,4)
Yet we see in the scriptures that God actually has a desire to walk with man, to communicate, and actually dwell together. We see this in Genesis 3 where God desires to walk in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. God allowed there to be a temple where He would meet with His followers in real ways. Perhaps the expense and grandeur of the temple helped people to remember how insignificant they were in comparison to God.
In the New Testament we see that God no longer dwells within temples made by human hands. Instead He actually chooses to live, by His Spirit, in us.
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:17 “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
2 Corinthians 6:16 “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Ephesians 2:21 “in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord”
Considering the enormous expense of a hand crafted temple, He chooses instead to dwell within His people. Obviously you are more valuable than you think! Being the Temple of God, the place where God dwells should affect our perspective to what God wants to do in and through us. Take a moment to think about how rich and wonderful this is to have God actually dwelling within you.