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 5:14 (KJV)
Glory – Have you ever been squished in an elevator because of a heavier set person? Maybe struggled through some chairs or tables because of an overweight individual sitting near you? It’s difficult to move around. I don’t bring this up in a negative way toward heavy set people, but rather to compare this with the experience of the priests as YHWH’s heaviness pushes them out of the temple. You see, YHWH is a heavy guy.
The word glory in Hebrew is kabowd which literally means heavy. YHWH’s presence, his glory, was so heavy that everyone had difficulties trying to perform their tasks and were ultimately pushed out of the space. Well for a guy who has His throne in heaven and footstool on the earth, it makes sense. Solomon had his doubts about the temple containing Him (2 Chron. 2:6).
Now remember the Israelites wanted to build a temple in which YHWH would dwell. They planned on having His presence among them, but they just weren’t prepared for that immediate affect. The priests couldn’t stand and perform their tasks within the temple. But after some time, the presence lightened up and the priests were able to return to their duties. This reminds me of my experience with YHWH. I want to build myself as a temple for His dwelling, but there’s that time when His glory actually comes down and fills me. It knocks me down to my knees. I’m overcome with a heaviness unimaginable. But then it resides and tappers off a bit, and I’m able to serve again. And it’s not that He left me, He’s still there. He’s just not completely pressing upon me His weight which allows me to continue in service and ministry. But at times when I feel like this temple just aint good enough, when I start to see how broken it is, He reminds me that He’s still there and presses His weight on me, taking me to my knees again.
It’s interesting to note that when the singers lifted up their voice in unison singing the words “For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever”, that was the moment YHWH’s glory filled the temple. Perhaps it’s a reminder that when we feel His presence, His weight pushing down on us and slowing us to a crawl, that He’s really being merciful. And even though our physical bodies are too small to contain Him, He’s there living among us, living in us.