How can we pray and be closer to God? Where can we go to experience His warmth? How can we feel the loving embrace of His arms?
In His temple.
The words of God are like sustenance to our bodies, filling the innermost parts of our being. They supply energy to our spirit by giving us a life that comes from above. The streams of living water that flow from Jerusalem are for the healing of the nations and the nations thirst, panting like a deer by the brook.
What end does our pilgrimage find if not in the Holy City, Heavenly Jerusalem?
Genesis presents God resting in His temple, the heavens and earth. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden because they wanted to take what wasn't rightfully theirs yet. Now they would have to learn how to subdue the earth with the knowledge of YHWH. Through Israel, the covenant people of YHWH, there would come a way for all of the nations come to the rivers of Living Water.
The great priests of old would go into the temple of YHWH and meet Him there. The tabernacle was a temporary dwelling for YHWH. The first temple was only temporary because the Israelites could not keep YHWH's commandments. Again, the chosen kicked out from the garden. But, YHWH's arm is strong and He would bring salvation to them, as He always promised.
The 2nd temple was built, but no shekina. There was the very deep sense that God was not present. The Israelites continued in their work in the temple, but God wasn't there.
Four-hundred plus years in exile! And Lo! A child is born in Bethlehem in a humble stable. The salvation of the world summed up in the Messiah.
But would we enter into a building to meet with God?
The Messiah says, I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.
Let us enter into the temple boldly!
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscienceand having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Within His temple, we meditate on His love.
"Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love. " (Psalm 48:9)