I find it very interesting reading some of the arguments in defence of building a cathedral in Central Accra – a projected expected to lead to demolition of existing structures including structures for our judges. Since some people keep referring to King David and Solomon building a house for God, let’s go back to the Bible and look at what God actually requires.
2 Samuel 7 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around,
2 that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.”
3 Then Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
Now pay attention to those words in the first 3 verses. God gave rest to David from all his enemies and he decided on his own accord to build a house for God because he was of the view that the ark of God needs a place of rest. So, Nathan the prophet gave him his approval. But let’s read on to get God’s view.
4 But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying,
5 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?
6 For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle.
7 Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’
David wanted to localise God, so God questioned him. The desire to build a house for God was genuine but misguided. Though the Prophet of God approved of the idea, God took His time to explain to David that He doesn’t dwell in once place. However, He promised David that He would build him a house but through his son.
11 …Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.
12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom
So, the building of a house for God was not a perfect will of God: it is what we call the “Permissive Will of God”.
Now, all these happened in the Old Testament with the Ark of God symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to down, giving us direct access to God (Matthew 27:51). Accessing God is no longer through anyone but through Jesus Christ. And those who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour have been given the Holy Spirit.
In the New Testament, the same point of not limiting God to a temple was emphasised twice in the Book of Acts. When Stephen led by the Holy Spirit was accused of blasphemy and brought before the council, he said: “The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands” – Acts 7:44
In Athens, Paul emphasised the same point when he declared to the people: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” – Acts 17:24
Kindly pay attention to those words: God “does not dwell in temples made with hands”. God is interested in your heart. The argument about government supporting Muslims hence this is right makes me wonder sometimes how some understand the Jehovah God we serve as Christians.
America has a national cathedral, but immorality and thinks unthinkable morally are on the rise. So, if you think in a country where unemployment is on the rise and it is okay for the government to prioritise building a national cathedral over pressing issues such as unemployment, well, I have nothing else to say. But don’t misquote the Bible in the name of defending this project. I have read how some are trying to compare this to the act of the woman with the alabaster box pouring oil on Jesus’s (Matthew 26:7-8). That’s a personal decision of the woman and she honoured God personally. God deals with everyone on individual basis and judgement will be on individual basis, which is why the Bible says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” – 2 Corinthians 5:10. Pay attention to those words: “each of us” and not as a country.
God bless our homeland Ghana and everyone!