Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:1-2 ESV
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, “My name shall be there,” that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. I Kings 8:27-30 ESV
There’s a Norse story about the god Thor, who was traveling in the land of giants with a couple of companions. When night fell the three travelers found themselves in a vast, deep forest, and they started looking around for a place to sleep. After searching the part of the forest they were in they found the entrance to a very large hall, and went inside. They lay down to sleep in the hall, but at midnight a frightening earthquake started shaking everything. Thor took his companions to try to find a safer place to sleep. They found a room off the hall, and Thor’s two companions went into this room to sleep while Thor guarded the doorway. When the three of them woke up in the morning, they discovered that they had been inside a giant’s glove! The hall was the opening to the glove, the room was the glove’s thumb, and the rumbling earthquake was the giant’s snoring.
The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah to remind his people that he was much greater than they sometimes thought of him to be. God said that heaven was his throne, and the whole wide earth was only his footstool. It was foolish for them to think that any temple they would build for him, just a building on a very small corner of the world, could contain the great and holy God. In a way it was foolish to think about building a house for God, when he had made the entire world, including any materials they might use to build the temple. The Lord wasn’t looking for people to build him a temple, but instead people who were humble and sorry for their sins, and who respected God’s word–even feared his punishment for their sins because they had broken his law.
The entire universe can’t contain the Lord, but because he loves us he came to us in a human person. Jesus is God in a man who came to show us God’s love and win God’s forgiveness for us. We know from his holy law that we are sinners who deserve his punishment, but Jesus came to take that punishment by dying on the cross for us. Because of Jesus, we can know God’s love and know that he is with us to help us and hear our prayers. We can always go to God for forgiveness because of Jesus, and we can be sure that we have his love and help now and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, you are so mighty and great, but you love us and forgive us. Thank you for being our holy and loving God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.