“…and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,
“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”
(2 Chronicles 5:13-14 ESV)
I know these verses. I’ve heard/read them many times, in many circumstances, but when I read them tonight, they stopped me dead in my tracks. Read them again, and imagine you are there. Imagine what that was like! The priests could not minister because the Presence of God was among them in such a way that they were literally unable to stand!
When did this occur? After the song had been raised. After the people began to sing praise to the God of heaven and earth. After all the work had been done, and the temple finished, and the people were gathered to worship, and their voices rang out together in a an old, yet forever new, song:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His steadfast love endures FOREVER!”
And the priests promptly fell flat on their face before the glory of the Lord. They were unable to do their job.
Was it that their trumpeters and singers were just the bomb, and we can’t hope to replicate that? Was it that the temple was so magnificent (though it was just a shadow, mind you, of the heavenly temple!) that God said “yeah, I’ll bless this.” Was it that Solomon’s massive sacrifice was so amazing?
Why, in the New Covenant, in churches across this nation and around the world, why do we not see this more than we do? And when we do, why does it so often seem contrived, or forced? Why, for those of us saved by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His resurrection and victory over death and Hell, and currently in-dwelt by His Holy Spirit, why are we not face down before the glory of the Lord?
One possibility, and I say this to my own shame: we don’t really want it. We want to maintain composure, to maintain control, to maintain appearances. We’d rather have it our way than His way. I think we are too proud.
When was the last time you were face down before the presence of the Lord?