The Old Testament understanding was that God’s presence was centrally located in the Temple. There were manifestations of God’s presence outside of the Temple, but they seem to be exceptional. Today, when we read from the Bible the invitation to “enter his courts with praise,” or about the “House of the Lord,” let’s not equate the Old Testament Temple with our church building.
The presence of the Lord is found when two or three are gathered together in his name and share in the ministry of God’s word. He is not more present in a building than he is in a small group Bible study. God’s presence is to be found amongst his people, not in buildings of stone. This was the significance of the veil in the Temple being torn in two: God, now reconciled with sinners, has made his people his temple.
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 100:2-5)
Heavenly Father, we thank you that because of Jesus you have made us like living stones being built up as a spiritual house where you dwell. We pray that you would make us aware of your presence in our lives by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that we may show forth your glory in the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.