Where God Chooses to Live
Many years ago, a Muslim acquaintance asked me whether I would become a snail if I had the opportunity. I assured him that I would not. He followed that up by asking why I supposed Almighty and all-glorious God would choose to become one of us. That was a great question. Here is my answer: I would not become a snail because I do not care for snails, but God became one of us because, for some strange reason, God loves us that much!
Now imagine something with me: Once upon a time, a great king lived in a magnificent palace of glistening, carved marble, with courtyards and garden, pools and fountains, mosaic floors, and elegant tapestries upon the walls. In his palace, the king enjoyed the finest things of life. Chefs prepared for him the greatest of feasts each night; court musicians and jesters performed for his entertainment; and skilled artists produced delights for his eyes.
In a desert, in the remote southern section of the kingdom, lived a small, impoverished, insignificant band of people. One year these people gathered together all of their wealth (which actually amounted to almost nothing). With their supposed wealth, they built a palace—at least they called it a palace. Rather than carving walls from marble, they built walls from sunbaked bricks of mud and straw. The only decorations upon those walls were the random edges of straw protruding from the bricks. The floor was dirt. Water was scarce, so they constructed no pool or fountain, nor did they even attempt to plant a garden to beautify the surroundings. They could provide no chef or musicians or artists. In essence, this “palace” was nothing more than a shack, a hovel, a gloomy box in the barren desert.
Nevertheless, these impoverished desert-dwellers sent a letter to the king with the following request: “Dear King, we have built a fine palace for you, and we invite you to come live with us.”
Shockingly, the king accepted their invitation.
Here’s the real story: Around 3000 years ago, a rather insignificant people in a rather dismal part of the world put together all of their wealth and built what they considered a masterpiece. They laid great stone blocks on top of great stone blocks and covered every stone with a floor of cypress and with walls of cedar. They covered ornately carved doors and walls with a veneer of gold. They beautified an inner and outer courtyard with two great bronze pillars, twelve bronze oxen, various bronze and gold furnishings, and two golden cherubim, each ten feet tall, with outstretched wings meeting above the Ark of the Covenant. They were proud of the house they made for God! But, if truth be told, Solomon’s great temple was but a shack, a hovel, a gloomy box in the barren desert compared to the majesty of heaven, in which God already dwelt.
Nevertheless, these people made a request to God, and I quote from 2 Chronicles 6:41, “Now arise, Lord God, and come to Your resting place.”
Shockingly, God accepted their invitation, and 2 Chronicles 7:1 tells us that the glory of the Lord filled that temple. Why? Because God actually loved these people!
Here’s another real story: 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells me that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. If truth be told, it is but a shack, a hovel, a gloomy box in a barren desert. The top has turned gray. The foundation (the feet) have endured several broken bones from years of basketball. I have to wear corrective lenses. My hearing has declined. I am on medication for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I get grouchy and resentful. I struggle with insecurities and bad attitudes.
Nevertheless, I sent a request to God some time ago. My invitation read, and I quote, “Jesus, will You please come live in my heart?”
Shockingly, God accepted my invitation; God sent His Spirit to live in my soul—and He has never left, despite the poor condition of the abode. Why? Because God actually loves me!