I will Prepare an Habitation

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.      1 Corinthians 3:16-17

I’m sure all of us have heard this at one time of our life or another. Do we really understand what it means?

This is not a concept that is new to the New Testament. The first time we see this concept is in Exodus. The book of Exodus shows us the redemptive love of YHVH. It begins with the condition of His people, the nation of Israel – the children of Abraham, as they endured hundreds of years of slavery to the Egyptians. The hardships on this nation of slaves only grew worse as YHVH blessed them with numbers and strength, but YHVH provided a man who would guide his people out of Egypt and ultimately to a land that was promised to their father, Abraham.

This nation was not freed as soon as Moses appeared on the scene. On the contrary, Pharaoh made sure that they suffered even more. Israel waited on YHVH to persuade Pharaoh to let them go while they suffered through some of the same plagues as the Egyptians. Through other plagues, the Israelites were only witnesses to what the Egyptians went through. After the final plague, the death of all the first-born Egyptians, Pharaoh was finally convinced. He threw the Israelite people out of Egypt, but shortly after he came to his senses and realized he had made a mistake by letting so many slaves leave.

YHVH guided the nation of Israel out of Egypt by a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. He led them to a place on the Red Sea shore where there was no escape from the Egyptians that pursued them. Israel would either have to return to slavery, fight the Egyptians, or drown in the sea; but YHVH created an escape that not only saved the lives of millions of Israelites, but brought an end to thousands of Egyptians.

When there was finally a moment for the Israelite people to take a breath, they were in ecstatic awe over what YHVH had done for them. Moses and Miriam broke out into song. The women danced. There was a huge celebration that day. As Moses sang, the first phrase out of his mouth was:

YHVH is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.     Exodus 15:2

What a fantastic realization on Moses’ part! YHVH is his strength and song. YHVH is his salvation. YHVH is his God. HalleluYah! What great praises! But along with making YHVH his God, Moses also realized that responsibility came with his claim. His responsibility first and foremost was to, “…prepare Him an habitation.”

We have the same responsibility, and as we saw in I Corinthians 3:16-17 (the opening verse) we are to be temples of God. .What does it mean to be a temple? Does His Spirit dwell in us without any effort on our part? How do we defile the temple – especially if we are that temple?

The first habitation that was built for YHVH was in the wilderness. Moses was given instruction on how to build it while on Mount Sinai after Israel had finally escaped Egypt and met God. This place was called the Tabernacle. Moses was given step-by-step instructions on how the Tabernacle would be built. In this same way, we should build ourselves as temples for God to inhabit.

  1. There should be a desire to provide the necessary parts needed to build the habitation and do the work.

When the time came to build the tabernacle, YHVH told Moses to collect an offering from all of Israel.

And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which YHVH commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto YHVH: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of YHVH; gold, and silver, and brass..And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that YHVH hath commanded; The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets…And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses. And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought YHVH’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto YHVH…And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair…The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto YHVH, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which YHVH had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses…And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart YHVH had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.      Ex. 35:4-36:3

Before we can be a temple to YHVH, we must be willing to be His temple. We must have a desire to provide the necessary tools. We must have a desire to do the work that builds us into a habitation for Him. This desire only comes from knowing who YHVH is and knowing what He has done for us. This desire only comes when we truly love Him. True love and knowledge of YHVH comes through the Word. Study it beginning in Genesis. Next study Exodus, then Leviticus, then Numbers, etc. until you have studied the entire Word. As you study, clear your mind from all things you think you already know, and understand the Word as YHVH gave it. As you find understanding, that desire to be a temple will grow.

David had it in his heart to build a temple for YHVH – something permanent and more extravagant than the Tabernacle that traveled with the nation of Israel in the wilderness. He gave gold, silver, stones, etc. for the building of the temple. He requested others who were willing to do the same.

…And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto YHVH? Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly, And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of YHVH, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to YHVH: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. 1 Chronicles 29:5-9

Afterward, David’s prayer to YHVH shows us that this is what God wants from us – a true willingness and desire.

Wherefore David blessed YHVH before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, YHVH God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O YHVH, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O YHVH, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O YHVH our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O YHVH God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.      1 Chronicles 29:10-19

  1. The habitation is a place that must remain clean or holy.

We must be willing to provide a clean or holy habitation for a holy God. There is an old saying: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.“ Interestingly enough, YHVH uses cleanliness to represent holiness. Before building the tabernacle, YHVH instructed Moses on the condition in which the tabernacle should be kept. From those who brought sacrifices to YHVH, to those who served Him in the temple, all the way up to the temple itself, YHVH requires cleanliness.

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto YHVH: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.      Exodus 30:19-21

Throughout their service to YHVH, the priests had to wash before coming into the temple. Once a year, an atonement was made for the temple itself as well as for the altar and all of the people of Israel. (Leviticus 16) Just as dirt can be transferred from one object to another, so can the uncleanness of sin. This can even be transferred to the temple.

Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of YHVH; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.      Numbers 19:13

YHVH is a holy and perfect God. To allow himself to be surrounded by filth would be to make Him not only unclean, but common. Just as the temple in which YHVH dwelt had to be clean at all times, we too must be clean at all times. In plain terms, we must be sinless. Even as the temple was not in a constant state of cleanliness, we will not be in a constant state of sinlessness, but just as the the priests diligently watched for uncleanliness, we must be diligently watching for sins that creep into our lives, cleaning ourselves immediately.

(For more details on how scripture teaches cleanliness and holiness, see the article: Is He Listening?)

  1. The habitation is a place where YHVH will place His name.

When walking into a person’s home, you can tell a lot about that person. How clean are they? What are the things they like? How organized are they? Their home represents who they are. Just as the home represents the character of a person, YHVH’s dwelling place represents His character. He does not want His dwelling place to be just anywhere. He chose where it will be.

But you shall seek the place that YHVH your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And there you shall eat before YHVH your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which YHVH your God has blessed you.      Deuteronomy 12:5-7

Other nations who worshipped other gods established temples to those gods in any place they wanted. They sacrificed in ways that were contrary to what YHVH desires. If YHVH allowed this to be the way we treated Him, it would take away from His godliness. He chose the place of his temple and designed every detail of the sacrifices in order to set Him apart and so that His glory would be retained in the sight of all the people of the world.

You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that YHVH your God is giving you. But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that YHVH your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, Then there shall be a place which YHVH your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto YHVH: And ye shall rejoice before YHVH your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which YHVH shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.      Deuteronomy 12:8-14

As temples of YHVH, we must be extremely careful that we represent Him only. We must be careful that we are not representing other gods.

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.      2 Corinthians 6:16

This is important enough that it was one of the ten statements YHVH gave to the children of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

Thou shalt not take (bear) the name of YHVH thy God in vain; for YHVH will not hold him guiltless that taketh (beareth) his name in vain.      Exodus 20:7

What are the ways in which you represent YHVH? Think about the traditions you keep. Think about the way you serve Him. Think about the things you believe. Think about the way you treat others. Do all of these things represent who He is?

In keeping traditions that are not established by YHVH, in serving YHVH in the ways that other gods are served, in believing that YHVH is other than what He says He is, in treating others with anything less than love (for 10 point teaching on how to love your neighbor see Love and the Opposition), you have built yourself to be a temple to idols.

Thus saith YHVH: The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; where is the house that ye may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting-place? For all these things hath My hand made, and so all these things came to be, saith YHVH; but on this man will I look, even on him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he broke a dog’s neck; he that offereth a meal- offering, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that maketh a memorial-offering of frankincense, as if he blessed an idol; according as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations; Even so I will choose their mockings, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear, but they did that which was evil in Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.      Isaiah 66:1-4

If we are to be a habitation for YHVH, we must first be willing to provide the tools and do the work necessary to build ourselves into a temple; we must keep ourselves clean, holy, sinless; and we must be representatives of YHVH, being a place where He will choose to put His name. In refusing to do these things, we defile the temple. A defiled temple must be destroyed.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.      1 Corinthians 3:16-17

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