The story explains the beginning of the Jerusalem Temple. The Chronicler makes this link more explicit in the narrative: the beginning of the Temple follows the plague story. in Samuel, the story is like an addendum to the whole book, being the last incident of David’s life narrated in the book. We turn next to 1 Kings and enter the last days of David, including the drama of succession (since Solomon was not David’s first born), and only after that drama do we return to the subject of the Temple.
The Temple, promised to David and constructed during Solomon’s reign, is connected to the history of the Tabernacle before it (Ex. 35-40). David’s hope for a great, permanent house in the Land for God is postponed to the times of his son Solomon, who constructs the facility (2 Sam. 7, 1 Kings 5-8).
God’s special presence dwelled in the Temple’s inner room, which contained the Ark. As with the tabernacle, God’s presence had a “dwelling place” within the Temple. It was not that God’s presence was found only in that place—that would be to localize God, which is idolatry—but God dwelled specially among his people.
John’s gospel affirms how God’s glory dwells in Jesus Christ, as God’s glory once dwelled in the inner rooms of the ancient sanctuaries. So, to say that Jesus “made his home among us” or “dwelled among us.” And the glory will not leave, as it did in the time of Ezekiel (chapters 8-10). This is the way God has always worked, for God lives among the people (Ex. 25:8, 29:45). But Jesus’ followers understand him to be the special presence of God. “We have seen his glory.”
The plague led to the establishment of the Jerusalem Temple, which in the New Testament becomes identified with Jesus and the full presence of God in him. This is the “roundabout way” that I mentioned earlier: how a plague led to biblical developments that take us to Pentecost and beyond.
1.What are some ways in which you’ve experienced the Holy Spirit in your life?
2.When I was a child, I worried about the unforgivable “sin of the Holy Spirit,” which Jesus left unexplained. In context, the sin is the ongoing and perverse resistance to God, unforgivable not as a specific moral failure but as a blocking-off of God’s grace. Is that something you’ve worried about? (If you’re worried about it, though, you reveal that you aren’t committing the sin!)