Summary: To understand that God always planned to move around among the people in temples not made with hands, but by His Spirit indwelling His people.
In our first reading from II Samuel, it seemed like David had an excellent idea to bless the Lord. He would build him a lavish palace as a permanent home so he wouldn’t have to be carried about in the portable box called an arc. When he shared his idea with his prophet, Nathan said, Good idea, go ahead, I am sure that what your heart is prompting you to do is the right thing!
But that night, when Nathan went to sleep, God spoke to Nathan, “Today you acted more like a politician than a prophet. You went along with the kings plan, but you did not take the time to ask me what I thought.”
God said, “I’ve never lived in a house. I can’t be contained by any house you build. I am everywhere, and can be anywhere I want when I want to.”
Usually the ark was in a tent, the symbol of nomadic life.
Nomads are always on the move, no one controls them, they go where they want when they want.
See, we may have great plans, for ourselves, for our church, for our family. But God has higher plans…better plans for us and our loved ones than we can even imagine.
God said he would be building David a house…a spiritual and kingly line that would be built up through the years.
(David could not see into the future, that his house would stand forever because the messiah would come from his house, his lineage, but God could).
God said there would come a time when the people and God would be together in one place, but not now, not until a lot more things were put into place.
Now let’s fast-forward to the passage in Ephesians.
This says God has broken down a wall to bring about peace between the Jews and Gentiles.
We remember the dividing wall between East and West Berlin and how when peace was established President Reagan told Mr Gorbechev to tear down that wall.
If you had traveled to Jerusalem in the days of the Apostle Paul, you would have found another wall. It wasn't lined with machine-gun turrets or barbed wire. But it was no less divisive.
It was a rather low stone wall, only about 3 or 4 feet high. It surrounded the Temple. It divided the outer court of the Temple, known as the Court of the Gentiles, from the inner court.
A number of gates were placed into this wall at strategic locations. And by each gate, there was posted a sign. The sign held a warning in three languages: Hebrew, Greek and Latin. It warned that no Gentile was permitted past this point on pain of death.
You see, the Gentiles were excluded from worshiping God in the temple. They could come and worship from afar. But they were excluded from the community of God's people. They were outsiders. It was death for them to come closer.
Indeed, as Paul writes to the Ephesians from a Roman prison, the reason for his initial arrest was because of a riot that had taken place when it was thought that he had brought a Gentile past the wall.
Paul had a ministry to the Gentiles. He had started out as a racist. He had a cultural heritage of racism - of holding himself separate and aloof from all Gentiles. That all changed when he came to Christ.
Things have changed in regard to the Gentiles, too.
I like the way “The Message” explains these scriptures by saying,
“You who were once out of it altogether are now in on everything!”
The way in which Jesus brought about peace involved the destruction of those things which stood in the way of peace.
He BROKE DOWN (literally, "destroyed") the barrier of the dividing wall.
Three illustrations are given in verses 19-20 to picture the unification of Jews and Gentiles. There is a city (Fellow citizens with the saints), a family (Of God's household), and a building, the temple of which He is the chief cornerstone.
If you are in Christ, then you are a part of that building. You have been fitted together with me and with the rest of the church.
We are a building, and not just a building, but a temple.
You know what a temple is. It is a place where you go to meet God. It is a place where God abides.
We are the place God lives and moves in the world. He doesn’t want us to confine him to one place like this building at Weaver’s and just worship and serve Him here. He wants us to keep him on the move in the community, serving and meeting needs.
The gospel breaks down walls, unites people, and builds up a house where God dwells.