Tag Archives: the temple

October 2; The Jesus We Don’t Like To Talk About

John 2:1-4:26

Today we read the account of Jesus clearing the temple of the flea market. Men were selling cattle, sheep, and doves right there in the temple court. I’m sure someone had thought what a great ministry it would be if they made bringing an animal for sacrifice convenient to the people. Why not sell what they need right there in the temple?

When Jesus saw this “ministry” he was mad. He made a whip and used it on the merchants, overturned their money tables, and ran them out of the temple. He didn’t even consider their noble intentions.

We really don’t like talking about that Jesus. We like talking about the Jesus who tells us to love everybody, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who harm us. I love talking about that Jesus, too.

But we shouldn’t forget the Jesus who protected the holiness of the temple – with force.

Now, I’ve been accused of having pet-peeves when it comes to modern-day worship. So if you don’t want to hear it, I would suggest you stop reading right here. No hard feelings. I honestly don’t know if it’s pet-peeves, or if God nudges my heart on these matters. But if it’s from God, I don’t want to ignore it.

I know we haven’t turned our churches into flea markets. But many of us have turned them into coffee shops. We tweak our worship services so as not to offend people, or to make it more attractive to people, we change our schedules to make it convenient for people to attend, even if it’s Saturday night.

Sounds like a great idea for ministry. I can see why many people have jumped on that bandwagon. But is there Scripture to back it up? Does God ever in His Word tell us to worship only when it’s convenient, or entertaining, or comfortable? I’m not so sure we have done a good job of protecting God’s House, the place of prayer.

Here’s the other thing: Our bodies are God’s temple as well, the place where God lives on this earth in 2019. Do we protect His holiness in us with as much fervor as Jesus protected that temple in Jerusalem?

Yes, Jesus’ message was love, forgiveness, grace. I love that about Him. I’ll continue to talk about Him in those terms. But I am reminded today that there is another side to Jesus, a side that isn’t so fun to talk about. He never compromised on the holiness of the Temple. He never suggested we take worship of God for anything other than worship of God. He took it very seriously. So I want to, too.

2 Chronicles 1-7; Temple Building

I understand that the magnificent temple Solomon built for the Lord here in 2 Chronicles stood for a little over 400 years before it was destroyed. For those of us who live in a country about 241 years old, 400 years seems pretty impressive.

But I was in Switzerland a few months ago and explored a building built in 866. It’s still in use today. That’s 1,151 years that structure has been standing. Puts Solomon’s temple in perspective.

What happened? Why couldn’t God protect this amazing temple?

As we continue to read Israel’s history as recorded in Scripture, we’ll find the answer: Disobedience.

It’s not that God couldn’t protect His temple. It’s that He wouldn’t if His people rejected Him. God’s promises for blessing are conditional. (7:19-22)

So, New Testament Christian, how’s your temple? Is it as magnificent, as beautiful in God’s eyes, a place where He delights in dwelling? Or are you beginning to show signs of decay? Is the enemy closing in?

I want this temple called Connie to last for eternity. I want God’s Presence to fill me, and cause me to worship Him with every minute He gives me. I want His Presence to be visible, and point people to Jesus by the way I live, the things I say and do, and by my faith in the Holy God.

May God’s residence on earth, this earthly temple I wear, be fit for the King He is.

September 9 – A Sturdy Wall

Ezekiel 40-41

The wall around the temple in Ezekiel’s vision was as thick as it was tall: one rod deep, one rod high (40:5). If my calculations are right, it was about 10 1/2 feet tall and 10 1/2 feet thick. Sounds pretty sturdy to me.

I found a couple of interesting videos on bibliaprints.com that show 3D versions of what the temple in Ezekiel looked like. The videos go verse by verse and it blew me away. That temple looks so amazingly beautiful.

And it humbled me to think that today I am that temple of God. Do I protect the Presence with a sturdy wall around me? Am I as intentional about creating a dwelling place for my Lord that is as lovely as Ezekiel’s temple seems to have been? Can God feel at home in my heart?

Every inch of the temple I read about today was accounted for. Would this temple called Connie hold up to the same scrutiny?

I pray that is so.

August 21 – Destroying The Temple

2 Kings 24-25; 2 Chronicles 36

Solomon’s Temple is destroyed. The building burned, the pillars broken in pieces, all the gold and silver utensils stolen. That beautiful place where God had made His earthly home was nothing but ruin.

How could this happen? Was God powerless before King Nebuchadnessar?

Hardly!

The destruction of God’s dwelling place was actually a slow process. It started almost the minute Solomon had completed it. Over the years, sin had takin its toll on the temple and on God’s people. One king after another did “evil in the sight of the Lord.” The Jews began worshiping other gods. God’s own people were the ones responsible for what happened to the Temple more than the Babylonian king.

I am reminded, as a heart where God dwells on this earth, to protect this temple, to obey God, to worship Him only, serve Him gladly. God’s will is that this temple stand until He calls me home.

May He find me faithful, my heart a place that welcomes Him in, a life that radiates His Presence. I don’t want to neglect the temple that is my heart, or give Satan a foothold. I want to choose every day to be a temple as beautiful as Solomon’s, and occupied by my Lord and Savior.

 

Building the Temple

The people threw a celebration when the foundation of the Temple was finished. (Ezra 3:10-13) There was a lot of work ahead of them. But that first, and important piece was finally in place. And they stopped to worship God there.

A couple of things come to mind as I read Ezra 3, and as I apply this account to my life. Scripture tells me I am God’s Temple. (I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16) He lives on earth in me. 

The New Testament talks a lot about foundations. Jesus told a parable about building houses on sand, compared to building on solid rock. (Matthew 7:24-27). In Luke 14:28-30 Jesus speaks about how important it is to finish building on the foundation. Paul names the Foundation in I Corinthians 3:11. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is the sure foundation and he grounds me, supports me. If I build my life on him, he can take it. But the Temple wouldn’t have been worth much if the people we read about in Ezra had just left the structure as a foundation. If they had continued to celebrate and rejoice and worship God over the foundation, the Temple would not have been able to be completed or to be used as it was intended.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I, as the Temple of the Living God, have a solid foundation in the person of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. I went to him and confessed my sin and asked him to forgive me… and he did. That’s cause to celebrate!

But it doesn’t have to end there. There is work to be done. I want to grow in my relationship with him, build on my salvation by studying his Word, surrounding myself with Christians who will hold me accountable, and by praying. 

If I attend church on Sunday for a “worship experience” and come away from there feeling spiritual, I’m celebrating on the foundation. If I don’t study my Bible or pray, don’t talk about Jesus to others, live a life that looks no different than my unsaved neighbor, this Temple isn’t being built. I’m living on the foundation without a useful structure through which God can work.

Dear Foundation, I thank you for being that solid rock beneath my feet. I thank you for forgiving my sins and the privilege of having you living in me. I want to sing your praises, celebrate having you in my life. But I pray that I, like the example we read about in Ezra, will be motivated to build my life on the Foundation you have provided. Give me discernment to know the Truth of Scripture, give me opportunity to share Christ with others, let me be strong enough to resist temptation and rise above the world’s influence. May I be a Temple you deserve, holy and useful for your kingdom, built on the Foundation of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

August 30

Ezekiel 40:28-43:27

God inspired Ezekiel to record minute details about the temple he saw in his vision. Every brick was measured, every corner, every board and door are listed here. Why?

It may seem over-simplified but as I read today the thought occurred to me that in the New Testament we are called God’s temple. And God impressed on my heart that as careful as he was to show how invested he was in every detail of Ezekiel’s temple, he is even more invested in the temple known as Connie.

Every hair on my head, ever cell in my body is known to him, is cared for by him, and loved by him, too.

I understand that the temple is where God resides on this earth. It was a building in the Old Testament. It’s in the hearts of believers since the cross. 

So I loved reading about God entering the temple in chapter 43. Read it and picture yourself the moment you accepted Jesus as your Savior. God’s voice like the roar of rushing water. His radiant glory. He enters your heart and lifts you into the inner court. His glory fills you.

Now we don’t have to rely on a priest to enter the throne room on our behalf. We approach that throne on Jesus’ shoulders.

How awesome it is to know that the Holy God of Creation lives in me!

May 22

I Kings 5:13-18, 9:15-16, 20-23, 6:1-38, 7:1-12; 2 Chronicles 2:2, 1718, 8:7-10, 3:1-17; Psalm 127

Did you read how elaborately Solomon built the Temple? So much gold! Such intricate details! Thousands of men worked together to make it fit for a king – The King! 

It was where God would dwell on earth. It must have been magnificent.

We don’t need that gold-covered stone and cedar building today. God lives in the hearts of believers here on earth. We are his temple.

But God is asking me if my heart is fit for the King. Solomon took great care in preparing that building to welcome God. He saw to every detail. 

Sometimes I think we believe all we have to do is ask Jesus to come into our hearts, then life goes on as usual. But I don’t see that here. Yes, Jesus is faithful to forgive us when we ask and he makes our hearts his home. And if that’s all you want out of your relationship with him I guess that’s between you and God.

Myself, I want his home to be magnificent. I want my life to welcome him. I don’t want a cheaply built temple. I’m sparing no expense. So I’ll continue to read his word and pray. I’ll continue to choose a life set apart. I’ll choose to praise him in all things. I’ll choose to recognize sin and flee. Not because any of that will earn me salvation. His grace did that. I want to live a life that honors him, that provides him with a beautiful place to call home here on earth.

When people looked at Solomon’s temple they must have been in awe. They must have said, “Wow, that’s where God lives”. I want them to say the same thing about me.