Ever since my dad taught us what it meant for us to be priests unto the Lord, ministering to Him with our thanksgiving, praise, and worship, I have embraced this as a primary purpose for my life. Every time I read in Scripture that there are people ministering to Him and then there’s a response from Heaven, I get excited. The lessons are always profound, as there’s something of eternity on those moments. It doesn’t matter whether it happened with David, Moses, or someone in the New Testament; those interactions are eternal in nature. And so it is with this next story.
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God (2 Chronicles 5:13-14 KJV).
Please note that the priests were offering the fruit of the lips (see Heb. 13:15) as their offering. While this happened in the Old Testament, it is clearly a New Testament practice, as the Law required the sacrifice of animals from the priests, not praise. Secondly, notice that the priests were in unity. Remember that the 120 believers in Acts chapters 1 and 2 were also in unity before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit took place. God once again put His glory upon a united people. (See Psalm 133.) God loves to manifest Himself upon His people when we’re known for our love of each other. Thirdly, look at what they were praising God for—His goodness! They declared the Lord to be good! Once again we see a connection between the revelation of His goodness and His glory—His manifested presence. This is amazing, as the glory of God is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea before time comes to an end (see Hab. 2:14). I suppose that many think this glory will become manifest through a military move of the return of the Messiah. His disciples thought that, too. (See Luke 19:11– 17.) But I’d like to suggest that in the same way that the disciples were wrong about this, so we, too, are wrong, as we often fail to understand the process He loves to work through. He longs for our involvement in all these matters. Not because He needs us. Co-laboring has been His heart from the beginning. And becoming a worshiping community that worships in spirit, in truth, and in unity will offer something to Him that He in turn will want to occupy—the praises of His people concerning His goodness.
I remember a number of years ago we had a prophetic song during one of our Sunday morning services. We call this type of song “the song of the Lord” in that it is a prophetic song, sung as though it were His voice singing over us as His people. It went something like this: Did I not fill the tabernacle of Moses with My glory? Did I not fill the temple of Solomon with My glory? How much more should I fill the place that I build with My own hands? My beloved, I am building you.
In that moment we realized that God was referring to the Matthew 16:18 passage where Jesus said, “I will build My church.” So here it is, a chance to catch a glimpse of where God puts His glory and why. He was not ashamed to put His glory upon and in the physical buildings that people built in honor of His name. How much more will He put the glory in the house that He Himself builds? And that house is the Church—the eternal dwelling place of God. (See Ephesians 2:22.) Obviously, I make no references to institutions or buildings when I say “Church.” Those elements are good and useful tools of the actual Church. But they in themselves are not the Church. The Church is comprised of born-again believers who are as living stones, brought together into a spiritual house, to house a priesthood that will offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable through Jesus. That is the revelation that Peter carried for us. (See 1 Peter 2:5.) I remind you that many consider Peter to be the foundation of the ministry of the Church. (See Matthew 16:18.) And to take it one step further, the glory that is put within that house is to manifest the goodness of God, or we miss the point altogether.