2 Chronicles 5:13-14 – and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), 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.
This is a scene of some magnificence. As the temple was dedicated, just like when the tabernacle was put into service, the glory of God descended upon it as a cloud. The awesome glory of God was present in such a way that none of those assigned to work in the temple could actually do so. They were forced to simply sit back and observe the presence and the glory of God.
A couple of things here may be worthy of note. First, it is an interesting point to ponder that we never see this scene of smoke and the glory of God repeated in the scripture for the rebuilt temple after the Babylonian captivity. Neither the temple that Haggai and Zechariah saw completed nor the expanded version of that temple under Herod saw the glorious presence of God in the way seen above. However, Herod’s temple saw something equally amazing, the presence of God incarnate, Jesus Christ.
But, with that ponderous point out of the way, it is worthy of note to see what happened with this temple. The people of God obeyed the commands of God. They offered praise to God, as the song recorded in the above verses clearly indicates. They did all that God told them to do, and the result of their obedience to God was that they experienced something absolutely wonderful. They experienced standing in the presence of God. In Psalm 63, David says that, because he has seen God’s presence in the sanctuary, he longs even more to experience God’s presence again. So, those who experienced the glory of God at the moment described here in 2 Chronicles, experienced something beautiful, something wonderful, something they would long to experience.
The glory of God is awesome. The glory of God is frightening. The glory of God, when manifest, is not safe for sinful men. Yet the glory of God is something we long for. We were created by God for the glory of God. We have an insatiable thirst in our hearts to experience that glory, because the glory of God is all that can ever truly make us eternally happy. And, thanks be to God, he has sent his Son to grant us forgiveness of sin and the righteousness of God in order that we might glorify God and actually be able to experience standing in the presence of the kind of glory described above.
OK, these are neat facts, but how do we do something today that would be helpful because of what we have read? Simple. First, ask God to help you to have a true hunger for his glory. Such a desire is in line with his will, and thus this is a prayer he will most certainly answer. Second, hunger for God’s glory, and let that hunger drive you to seek that for which you hunger. Seek God’s glory. Obey God. Praise God. Worship God. Do the will of God. Live for the glory of God. Then, when God allows you glimpses of his glory, which he promises to those who obey him (John 14:21, 23), let the glimpses of that glory which you receive satisfy your soul and lead you to want to see even more of the glory of God.