When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10-11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It’s difficult to always remember what we mean by “house of the Lord.” We usually get the house part correct: It’s a building where we receive God’s gifts and respond with confession, prayer, and song.
No, we have difficulty grasping “of the Lord.” We call the place His house but often set our own agendas, debating trivial matters and even at times voting against God’s Word and right teaching.
This reading from 1 Kings sharpens our focus. The same Lord whose presence we sometimes treat casually or cavalierly is the One whose glory forced the priests to abandon the newly dedicated temple. They couldn’t raise up prayers or offer sacrifices on behalf of sinners.
But God wasn’t chasing His people away. Rather, He showed His glory to announce that He accepted the temple as His earthly dwelling place. He was present to receive the prayers, offerings, and sacrifices of His people.
This same temple-filling—even Creation-filling—God is present where we worship Him in spirit and in truth. In the fullness of time, He announced His earthly presence, not with a cloud of glory but in the flesh of His Son Jesus. We don’t need another cloud because the Holy Spirit continues to announce that Christ is here. He leads us to faith by water and the Word and keeps us in the Lord’s presence through Gospel preaching, Holy Absolution, and Holy Communion. Even when we leave His house, we know that He remains present with us throughout our days. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Holy Spirit, the Fire celestial, Who on Pentecost came as foretold, To descend from on high And the Church occupy As the cloud filled the temple of old; All the baptized You seal with Your promise, All believers Your gift there receive, So that all the elect— All in Christ—may expect To enjoy what by grace they believe. (Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven, LSB 502:2)