1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built! 28 Regard your servant’s prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.
Before the temple was built in Jerusalem, the Lord dwelled in a tent – which was called a “tabernacle”. It was the place where God met with the people while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and the Promised Land. Some generations after the people settled in the Promised Land, and Jerusalem was established as the holy city, King Solomon built a more permanent dwelling place for God which would be known as the temple.
God didn’t need a temple, but the people wanted one, which I understand. As Christians we understand that a church building is not “the church” because the church is the people. Wherever we go, so goes the church. But buildings can be useful for many reasons. As was the case in ancient Israel, modern houses of worship are useful as places of focus for our prayers, for our worship, for gathering together as God’s people.
The church I serve as pastor has a beautiful sanctuary, which I appreciate very much. Is it required for worship? No. But I’m glad we have it nonetheless. Lord thank you for the beautiful houses of worship around the world. And thank you Lord Jesus for meeting us there whenever two or more are gathered in your name. Amen.