July 31 – The Temple in the New Jerusalem

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


July 31 – The Temple in the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:22

“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Son is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:22-23)

Why do you suppose John made the declaration that he didn’t see a temple in the city? It might have been because he expected to see one there.  He’d already seen the throne room in heaven and it was from the heavenly temple that the Lord’s wrath had been poured out on earth.  There had always been a ‘place’ in which God could be found.

But, now things were very different.

Look at these words from John 2:18-22.  “The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?’  But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”

Jesus was trying to tell people not only about the coming resurrection, but the truth of the temple.  At that point, people came to Jerusalem … to a building that had been erected … to worship God.  He was going to change everything in just a short period of time.  The temple would no longer be the central focus for the relationship between God and man.

The New Testament transformed the idea of the temple as a gathering place into the church, a place where Christians could gather to worship, but also to engage in a community where they would share their lives with each other.  The temple where our relationship with God was built was within our hearts.

But remember, the only way that God can live in our hearts is through the atoning blood of Christ.  God’s glory consumes sin and our poor sinful hearts don’t stand a chance against that kind of power.  However, as Jesus’ sacrifice covers our sin, God can reside with us.

So what happens when all sin is eliminated from the world and the New Jerusalem is in place?  God can walk among his people with no concern that He will destroy them.  His glory is free to simply exist around all that He loves.  Jesus no longer must be seen as the Lamb who was sacrificed.  There is complete freedom, not only for us, but for them to be among us.  God no longer will need to establish a location for worship and for judgment, he will simply be among his people, who will worship him as a natural part of existence.

The temple is no longer necessary.  The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple.  Can you imagine the glory that will be experienced?

July 30 - Source of God's Wrath

Monday, July 30, 2012


July 30 - Source of God's Wrath
Revelation 14:15-20; 15:5-8; 16:1, 17

One of the most difficult things for me to process in Revelation was the fact that there was a point in time when God would no longer have mercy on earth, but his wrath would pour down.  As New Testament Christians, we count on knowing this God who sent his Son to earth in order to pay for our sins.

We really don’t have much experience with the God who allowed his children to be taken into exile  … away from their homes.  Oh, sometimes we might complain about feel far from God, but while these things happen to us on an individual level, it’s never as massive a punishment as God delivered to the Israelites.

But in the last days, the earth will face wrath at a level unmatched by anything in human history and it will be very clear whose wrath it really is. There will be no question, there will be no reason to wonder.

In Revelation 14:15, we see an angel come out of God’s temple to order the beginning of the great harvest, saying ‘the time to reap has come.’  Then, in Revelation 14:17, another angel comes from the temple.  A third angel, who is described as charge of the fire, came from the altar.

In Revelation 15:5-8, seven angels come out of the temple with the seven plagues. They received seven bowls filled with the wrath of God from one of the four living creatures. The smoke from the glory of God and from his power filled the temple. No one could go back in until the seven plagues of the seven angels was completed.

All of this was just the setup.  In Revelation 16:1 we read, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.’

The number seven refers to heavenly completion.  God’s wrath is full and complete.  Devastation will be as well. It will be finished at some point. Revelation 16:17 says, “The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’”  The rest of earth was finally devastated; earthquakes ripped open the earth, cities collapsed, islands sank into the sea, mountains were crumbled; hundred pound hailstones fell on the earth.  And mankind cursed God.

From the temple of God comes mercy and wrath.

July 29 - God's Temple in Heaven Opened

Sunday, July 29, 2012


July 29 - God's Temple in Heaven Opened
Revelation 11:15-19 (the ark of the covenant – Jeremiah 3:16)

Jeremiah 3:16 says, “In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land’ declared the Lord,’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.’”

By the time those words were written, the Ark was gone. No one really knew where it had gone.  There are some hints in other extra Biblical literature: "...took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, and the ark of God, and the king's treasures, and carried them away into Babylon." (1 Esdras 1:54)

However, there continues to be debate as to whether it was hidden away so the Babylonians couldn’t take it or whether it actually was taken by Nebuchadnezzar and never returned.

Revelation 11:15-19 tells a different story.  The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, loud voices began to cry out in praise, the elders fell on their faces and worshiped God.  Then, in verse 19 we read: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”

This marks the beginning of an incredible vision in Revelation 12 which tells the story of the Messiah’s arrival on earth from the long view of heaven and then the battle between the angels and the dragon.  That’s a story for another time.

The ark of the covenant is the container that holds the covenant words between God and man.  When humanity … when Israel could no longer hold up their side of the covenant and God had to send his Messiah, those words were preserved – not on earth, but in heaven where the covenant still remains in place.  God will never forget his promises even when we do.  That covenant gave us Jesus.  He is so much more important to the salvation of humanity than anything else.  It is he who fulfills the Old Covenant and who offers the promise of the New Covenant.

July 28 - The Throne Room

Saturday, July 28, 2012


July 28 - The Throne Room
Revelation 4 – 5

There is probably no passage in scripture that holds my heart more than these two chapters. When I was young, the imagery of the throneroom entranced me.  I would close my eyes and begin to draw all of the colors out of the text, fill in the spaces with items described: the crowns of gold on the elders, the flashes of lightning coming from a glorious golden throne, an emerald rainbow, blazing lamps on stands, and a crystal sea of glass in front of the throne.

I continue to do the same thing today when I turn to this page in my Bible. I read a few verses and begin building the image all over again. I don’t ever want to miss anything, it is just so exciting!

Not only is there all of this vibrant imagery, there is exciting action around the throne.  There are creatures we can only begin to imagine and everyone is singing and worshiping.  Just when the action gets tense, as John waits for someone to open the scroll, a Lion is announced, who shows up looking like a Lamb who was slain.

There is not a moment in this passage where you can take a breath and relax. It propels you forward through the action, each time adding something new that adds to the density of the picture until you reach the last verse, “The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Rev. 5:14)

Breathe. Because the next thing that happens is the opening of the seals and you want to be prepared for that.

John had just received the seven letters to the churches in Asia.  Revelation 4 opens by saying, “After this I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit …”

I’ve often envied him that vision of an open door.  I remember sitting beside my mother during the week before she died.  The two of us talked about heaven … a lot.  I asked her if she really believed that there was a heaven.  She was right up against it.  Now was the time to quit stalling and start talking about things that were important.  She had absolutely no doubt.  It was hard for me to say goodbye to her and we spent a great deal of time together letting me grieve with her still around to help me through it. I wanted to know with certainty that someday she and I would show up in the same place again. She gave me that certainty.

I don’t know where we’ll be in the throne room when we get there. I’m hoping that the place is packed with so many people it is difficult for us to find each other. I’m certain, though, that I’ll be gaping at the scene, trying to take it all in.  The things I see will no longer exist in my imagination, but will be right in front of me. I suspect I will be so overwhelmed that all I can do is drop to the floor and cry “Holy.”

July 27 - Merely a Copy

Friday, July 27, 2012


July 27 - Merely a Copy
Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:1, 24

We have … a high priest … who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. (Hebrews 8:1-2)

If he (Jesus) were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. (Hebrews 8:5)

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. (Hebrews 9:1)

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9:24)

Sometimes I have difficulty describing in complete detail the images that I have in my mind.  For a writer, that’s a frightening thing.  Sometimes, though, images are indescribable.  I can tell you about the beauty of a rainbow against a darkened sky, but you will see what you have experienced in the past, not necessarily what I am seeing.  I might have forgotten to tell you about the city skyline that fills the lower region of my mind’s picture; that it falls away as I turn to the left.  All that was really important about our communication was the rainbow.  Do I need to tell you the order of the colors in the rainbow?  If I was speaking to someone who had never seen one, would I use the same descriptive words?

When the Lord gave instructions to Moses on how to build the tabernacle, he was describing a real place, his home in heaven.  He asked Moses and the Israelites to build a copy of his home in heaven so that he would have a place to dwell among them as they traveled.

I don’t know if you have a camper or not, but those often become traveling homes for people throughout the summer.  They fill it with items that will remind them of home while they are traveling.

The Lord had to give clear instructions to Moses, in great detail, so that the Israelites could create this home away from home for him as they traveled.  If you spend any time reading through Exodus, you will be absolutely amazed by the intricacy of the tabernacle plans.

However, it wasn’t exactly like the real place in heaven. It never could be.  It was always only a copy.

One other quick connection I’d like to make for you today.  We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).  We are also now considered to be the temple, or home, of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17).  The Hebrew word used for image in the Genesis passage is that which means replica or copy.  This temple that we are?  It’s also a copy of God’s temple in heaven.  We think that these bodies are the only things we will ever have, but they are a copy that will fade away, back to the dust that was used to create them.  Our true … beautiful … real selves will be found when we stand in the throne room with God.

July 26 - The Community is God's Temple

Thursday, July 26, 2012


July 26 - The Community is God's Temple
Ephesians 2:21

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, which Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:19-22)

I had originally titled this post “The Church is God’s Temple,” but as I read through the passage once more, it occurred to me that Paul isn’t simply talking about the organized structure of the local church, but the entirety of the community of faith.

Read through those verses one more time.  There is probably one thing I write about and think about more than anything else (other than our relationship with God) and that is our relationships with each other.  As I thought about the fact that we are no longer foreigners and aliens, I recognized that by becoming Christians, we have been called to set aside our differences.

The problem is, that many pick and choose what they define as ‘Christian’ and so rather than setting aside the differences, they polarize the issues and separate themselves from each other moreso than ever before.

I’ve spent time with Christians who believe that Catholics are heretics and thus, aren’t qualified to be members of God’s community.  On the same level, there are plenty of Catholics who believe that everyone else is a heretic.  We judge people based on their beliefs about issues – abortion and homosexuality – so, we feel free to dismiss these people and no longer feel that we need to be in relationship with them.  We might choose to believe that someone with a Muslim sounding name is not a Christian.  We see a woman who has children by several different husband and can’t imagine that she will ever turn her life around … she won’t be part of this great community.

For the temple of God to be built in its fullness, for us to bring the whole building together in Christ, we need to recognize that we are all fellow citizens in God’s community and members of God’s household.  You and I are not given the power or responsibility to choose for others whether they are children of God.  Our only responsibility is to become what it is God asks us to be in the community and to recognize that we are part of … a community that must ignore distinctions which make us foreigners and aliens to each other.

July 25 - You Are God's Temple

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


July 25 - You Are God's Temple
1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16b

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Cor. 3:16-17).

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people,’ (2 Cor. 6:16b)

For the last 24 days, we have read about the power of the temple in the lives of the Israelites.  This was the one place where they felt they could meet with God.  They offered sacrifices and took great care to ensure that the temple was elaborately furnished.  For the most part, it was because they wanted the temple that glorified the name of their Lord to be better than anything else in their lives.  When it came time to bring offerings, they brought the very best.

It was never about receiving honor and glory for themselves, it was all about ensuring that the world knew of the glory of their Creator God.

When Jesus’ death ripped the curtain that had separated God from humanity for centuries, we were free to invite God to live within each of us at a personal level.  No longer did we have to fear that His justice would consume us, Jesus’ atoning blood allowed God’s mercy to prevail in our lives.

I’ve never been one to demand that we create perfection in our bodies so that we can act as the temple of God.  I think that’s nuts.  At some point, we are spending more time worshiping our bodies than we do the Lord who created them.  This temple isn’t about a physical representation, it’s about who we are in the world.

When the temple of Israel no longer was a holy place, God deserted the people.  He sent them into exile.  He didn’t care about their offerings, because none of that was done with true love for him.  The temple no longer represented the Lord, no matter how perfect it was, how much gold and silver lined the walls or how clean it looked on the outside.

If the world is to see God in us and recognize Him in our temple, it has to be consistent and Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22 what the fruit of having God reside in our hearts looks like.  The world will see in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are the foundational pillars of our temple.

July 24 - Curtain destroyed

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


July 24 - Curtain destroyed
Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45

The one last thing Jesus did in the temple was to rip in half the curtain symbolically separating God from every human being.  Only a selected priest could enter the Most Holy Place and then only once a year. There was no way that you or I would have the opportunity to ever stand in the presence of God … until Jesus died on the cross.

That moment changed everything on earth.  Everything!  No longer was it necessary for priests to stand as a bridge between man and God. Do you understand why that was necessary anyway?

Because of God’s holiness, He can not be in the presence of sin without completely consuming it.  Priests spent innumerable amount of hours preparing themselves to enter into His presence, they were never sure if they would even live through it because of God’s consuming power.  They burned offerings in order to cover all of their sins, just for the opportunity to stand in His presence.

When Jesus sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world, we could now all stand in his presence, because the atoning blood of Jesus Christ covered our sins.  God could look upon us and not destroy us.

This is the relationship God wanted with humanity from the very beginning … a return to the garden when Adam and Eve were without sin and God could walk around with them as friends.

Christ’s death on the cross, the final consummation of the sacrifice, made it possible for us to enter the Most Holy Place wherever we were.  It no longer resided in the Temple in Jerusalem, but was now available through Christ in the heart of every person on earth.  The curtain was symbolic of the truth that God could walk among humanity once more without destroying it due to the purity of his presence.

We have been given the right to come before God on our own, without an intercessor.  But the best news of all, is that we still have one … Jesus Christ, who stands at the right hand of the Father.

July 23 - Promised Destruction of the Temple

Monday, July 23, 2012


July 23 - Promised Destruction of the Temple
Matthew 24:1-2; 26:61; Mark 13:3, 5-8; Mark 15:29; Luke 19:41-44; 21:5; John 2:19-20

If you glance through these scripture passages (you can simply hover over the verse when reading this on the blogsite and the verse will pop up for you to read), you will see that they are a mixture of Jesus warning of the temple’s destruction as well as the promise that he would rebuild the temple in three days.

While we look back at these words with understanding that Jesus was speaking of himself in one instance and Herod’s in another; early listeners would not have been able to make that leap.  They didn’t have enough context.  These words would have been astounding to them.  It took years to build the temple, with an immense amount of money and offerings from everywhere.  Not only did they have trouble imagining that possibility, but the idea that a Jew could ever destroy the temple would have been beyond their imagination.

The thing is, as we attempt to understand Jesus’ words as literal words, and see them as prophetic regarding the actual temple’s destruction in 70AD; one of the most important things that he was telling his disciples was that earthly things such as the temple which was revered by all Jews were not nearly as important as their relationship to God.

If a building comes down, we might feel devastated, but we are not destroyed. A building can be rebuilt.  The thing of it is … entropy will cause all manmade structures to be brought to the ground.  There is nothing that will last forever.

I grew up listening to my mother’s fascination with a little ghost town in Iowa, just north of our cabin.  We drove through quite a few times, and over the years, we watched as it dwindled away, each road and lot becoming part of another cornfield.  When the railroad was coming through Iowa, Homer had been a county seat.  The railroad had a choice – to go through Homer or through Fort Dodge.  The little town was devastated when the choice was finally made. They knew it was the death of their community.  Little by little, all of the homes came down, their foundations destroyed and turned back into arable land.  Finally all that was left was one single road that went through what had been the community.  There’s a sign there now, that’s all.

Everything that we see will someday be gone.  Change comes, transformation occurs, the physical aspects of communities, buildings and structures will morph into other things.  But, what Jesus wanted us to know was that our spirits … his spirit … that part of us which is in constant communication with God will never change.  If it is struck down, it will be raised again, because of that connection.

The things we know on earth are temporal, they will fade away . The things we know in heaven are eternal, they will never change.

July 22 - Christ in the Temple

Sunday, July 22, 2012


July 22 - Christ in the Temple
Matthew 21:14-15; Luke 19:47; 20:1; John 5:14; 7:14; 8:20

In each of these passages, we see Jesus actively engaged in work at the temple.  He heals people who are hurting, he teaches from the scriptures, he encounters and spars with the chief priests and teachers of the law.

In John 5:14, we find him looking for the man he healed at the pool in order to reinforce the healing and remind him to stop sinning.

So many times we look at the negative activities of Jesus within the temple yards – turning over the tables and causing a riot, then as in tomorrow’s lesson, promising the destruction of the temple.  But, Jesus spent a great deal of time within the temple gates simply teaching.  There would have been many different types of teachers with disciples clustered around them and others listening from the outskirts.  It was not an abnormal sight.  What was different about Jesus was that people couldn’t believe what they were hearing from a seeming nobody.

“The Jews were amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’  Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:15-17)

Jesus went where the people were.  He met them in their homes, he talked to them on hillsides, he spoke to crowds from a boat as they gathered on the shore, he faced down his antagonists in the temple courtyard so that people there could hear his message.

It was his message that was important.  When he taught and performed miracles, he was teaching a message of love from God.  He did everything to glorify the one who sent him.  No matter where he was, the message was greater than he was.  What about you … you know that your message is greater than you, so what is your message?

July 21 - Christ Clears the Temple

Saturday, July 21, 2012


July 21 - Christ Clears the Temple
Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:12-16

There’s something fascinating about reading the different versions of events in the four Gospels.  Each author tells you the story, but in their own way.

The first is found in Matthew.  It is only two verses long. Jesus entered the temple area, drove out all those who were buying and selling, overturned the tables of the money changes and the benches of those who were selling doves.

In Mark we see the same thing as what is found in Matthew, but there is one little addition: he wouldn’t allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.

Luke is quite terse in his retelling of the story.  All he says is that Jesus drove out those who were selling.

John has quite a bit of detail that differs.  He tells us that Jesus found men selling cattle, sheep and doves in the temple courts, as well as some sitting around exchanging money.  It is from John that we learn Jesus made a whip of cords, not only driving the people from the temple, but the sheep and cattle as well.  He yelled at those who sold doves and scattered the coins from the money changers all over.

There was a lot of excitement in John’s retelling of the story.

But, the thing that all of them relate is Jesus’ disgust with the behaviors of the people.  They did not see the Temple as anything but another location in which they could profit from sales.  The three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, tell us that Jesus quoted from Isaiah 56:7, stating that His house would be a house of prayer and then from Jeremiah when he said, ‘but you have turned it into a den of robbers.’

I suspect that many people in Jesus’ day were thankful to be able to find a sacrifice readily available before they entered the Temple.  It would have been quite convenient for them.  Money changers were there to exchange coins of the realm (there were a lot of different types of coins struck throughout the region) into coins that could be used throughout Jerusalem.  This was also convenient for travelers who came to the temple to offer sacrifices.

But, it was the wrong place.  Jesus tried to teach the people that day, that the temple for the worship of the name of God was not a place where common things like buying and selling took place.  It wasn’t a place where livestock were stored and money was exchanged.  This was a place where people worshiped and prayed.

Think about the woman, Anna, who spent her days and nights worshiping and praying at the temple.  Her activities were those which lifted up and glorified God.  Oh, that all our activities would glorify God, those we participate in throughout our days.  We are the temple of God.

July 20 - The Child Jesus in the Temple

Friday, July 20, 2012


July 20 - The Child Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:41-50

When I was growing up, the church was a second home for me.  Since Dad spent so much of his time, there, I felt welcome in that building.  I always knew that it wouldn’t take me long to find all the cool nooks and cranny’s of the place.  The church library had interesting books and in the small town Iowa churches, I could always find fascinating pieces of art in nearly any room.  The children’s Sunday School classrooms would have pictures of Jesus playing with children; the adult classrooms were filled with other pictures of him.  There were wonderful maps of the Holy Land spread throughout the rooms.

I’d walk back and forth through the pews, straightening hymnals and Bibles. I’d spend time in Dad’s office organizing his books as I got older (he was more organized than I am, though).  I’d help him collate and assemble newsletters and bulletins and learn where all of the office supplies were.  I’d watch as he printed those items on an old mimeograph machine. I can remember the smell of it.

I can remember traveling in high school with the marching band for various festivals around the state.  If I could find the Methodist church in town, I knew that was a safe place for me.  Back in those days the churches were never locked and I wandered into more than one of them, just to see what the building was like.

The church building, no matter where I was at as a child, offered a sense of home.

Jesus wandered away from his parents after they had traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.  They traveled, thinking he was with them in the caravan of travelers, but when they couldn’t find him, returned to Jerusalem.  I can’t imagine the panic that was in their hearts as they spent three days scouring the city, checking with friends, looking in every place possible for their twelve year old son.

He had spent those days in the temple, asking questions, amazing people with his insight and understanding. When his mother confronted him, his response was incredulous. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

That story always resonated with me.  My father’s house changed a lot over the years as we moved around Iowa, but it was always the same for me. I still find myself looking for Methodist churches when I’m in a new community and still recognize that no matter what, they are a place where I will feel at home.

July 19 - The Infant Jesus in the Temple

Thursday, July 19, 2012


July 19 - The Infant Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:21-40

This passage is filled with wonderful information.

First of all, we see traditions happening.  Jesus was eight days old and had to be circumcised, but then after all of the purification rites had been attended to, they went to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord and to present a sacrifice (purification after childbirth).

The temple was a huge part of their lives, even if they didn’t live in Jerusalem.

But their next two encounters are also a glorious part of the temple experience.  One we don’t think about much anymore.  Who has prophets hanging around the front of the church these days?

Well … God does.

Simon, not a prophet, but a righteous and devout man, had been sent by the Holy Spirit to see this child.  He praised God, then prophesied regarding the child.  What better place for this to happen than in sight of the temple.

There was also a prophetess – Anna.  She spent every moment at the temple, worshiping, fasting and praying.  She prayed over Jesus and then began to tell everyone about him.

These little vignettes actually give us a glimpse of activities in the temple.  There were people who lived out their lives there, there were others who came in from outside of Jerusalem to ensure the commitment to tradition and to the covenant laws of the Torah.  There were people like Simon who was not a priest, not a prophet, yet his life was filled with the Holy Spirit.

God was very present in the lives of his people.

July 18 - God in His Temple

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


July 18 - God in His Temple
Isaiah 6:1-8

I think it is simply amazing to see the development of the house for God’s name as civilization transformed. When the people were nomadic, God showed them how to build a traveling home for Him to reside in.  He patterned it after the heavenly temple.  Hebrews 9:23-24 tells us that this was a copy … a pattern from the true temple in heaven.

When the people of God settled into a permanent location and David established a palace for himself, they desired to create a permanent home for God as well.  If he was going to reside among them, it was necessary for them to provide a place as beautiful as the king’s palace where God could meet with them.

But God’s home is far outside our reach. Where is the one place that God would be able to watch over everything? As high as possible – in the heavens.

The Psalmist says, “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.” (Psalm 11:4)

“The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.” (Psalm 14:2)

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.” (Psalm 73:25)

We count on God being in a place that we barely comprehend.

Isaiah finally saw the throneroom and when he related the vision, it was glorious!

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)

This is the beginning of beautiful imagery.  The Lord is above all else and there is nothing that He is not in contact with.  His temple isn’t filled with people or things, it is filled with the train of his robe … it is filled with Him!

“Above him were seraphs, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And They were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” (Isaiah 6:2-4)

We see these same seraphs in the vision John had in the Revelation, but the most important thing here is that they are constantly lifting up and praising the holiness of the Lord Almighty.  There is never a time when praises aren’t lifting to the God of creation.

Temples and tabernacles, cathedrals and churches.  There is no purpose to any of these other than to worship the Lord Almighty.

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
  Praise him with the harp and lyre,
Praise him with tambourine and dancing,
  Praise him with the strings and flute,
Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
  Praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
  (Psalm 150)

July 17 - Second Temple Rebuilding

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


July 17 - Second Temple Rebuilding
Ezra 7-11, Nehemiah 13:9,

Ezra and Nehemiah were great men who worked diligently to not only rebuild the temple, but the wall around Jerusalem as well.  Their other responsibility was to bring the people back to an understanding of what it meant to be the Lord’s chosen people in a world filled with foreigners.

Because of the Jew’s lax relationships with the world, there had been a great deal of intermarriage and many of the Laws set in place by Moses had been put aside in order that they could live more easily.

In Ezra 9, we find him praying about this intermarriage.  It wasn’t so much that they were marrying people from outside the Jewish faith, it was that these people worshiped other gods and were influencing the Jews to move away from their own laws.  Ezra was furious. God had brought them back to Jerusalem, had been gracious to them, had delivered them from exile and after all of that, they still could not honor him with their lives by keeping themselves holy.  They had gotten so lax, that even the priests were intermarrying with those from other religions.  How in the world could they call themselves a nation of God?

Ezra’s prayer was that the people of Israel would repent … and they did.  But, you know as well as I do, that sin sometimes takes a great hold on our lives, no matter how much we want to set it aside.  While this was finally a strong, positive move toward a better relationship with God, in a few hundred years, God would have to send His Son to do something a little more drastic.

July 16 - The Lord Encouraged Cyrus

Monday, July 16, 2012


July 16 - The Lord Encouraged Cyrus
Ezra 1:1-11

The Christian Old Testament is not arranged chronologically and for some of us (myself included), that tends to mess with our understanding of when and how things actually happened.  Some pieces of historical writing are found both in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles – identical writing.  Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther do take place after the Israelites have been taken into exile, but you have to insert Daniel into their timeline as well as a great deal of Isaiah.  Jeremiah is written before and during Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion.  The twelve minor prophets are written at various times scattered throughout that period as well.

The writings of Ezra and Nehemiah occurred  within years of each other.  The Persians defeated Nebuchadnezzar in battle and acquired all of his lands.  King Cyrus was an intelligent ruler and recognized that he could rule people while they lived their own lives in their own lands, so he allowed people to return to their homes.  He even went so far as to return some of the items that Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the Temple. In Ezra 1:11, we read that the gold and silver vessels returned to the Israelites numbered five thousand four hundred.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to Jerusalem and began rebuilding.  Their neighbors weren’t terribly thrilled with the idea and petitioned every king of Persia following Cyrus.  When they got to Artaxerxes, he decided to agree with them and forced the Jews to stop working on rebuilding the temple.  Fortunately, Darius followed him and not only did he order the rebuilding of the temple, but offered finances from the royal treasury to fund the construction.

A new home to offer sacrifices and worship God was in progress.  Renewal for Israel was at hand.

July 15 - Solomon's Temple Destroyed

Sunday, July 15, 2012


July 15 - Solomon's Temple Destroyed
2 Kings 24:13, 2 Kings 25:8-17, Psalm 74:7, Isaiah 64:11

Many years had passed, the kingdom of Israel had been torn into two separate kingdoms,  kings had come and gone; then Nebuchadnezzar finally took Judah.  He took Jehoichan, king of Judah prisoner and took everything out of the temple.  He took those who lived in Jerusalem into exile.  2 Kings 24:14 says that only the poorest of the people of the land were left.

The pillars that Solomon had built were broken, the bronze laver was destroyed and the bronze carried to Babylon,  anything made of gold was stolen by the military men, it was all taken to Babylon.

Psalm 74:7 says, “They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.”

Isaiah 64:11 says, “Our holy and glorious temple, where our fathers praised you, has been burned with fire, and all that we treasured lies in ruins.”

The sin of Israel had taken them to utter desolation.  There was nothing left, there was nowhere left that they could go.  Solomon had asked the Lord to hold the Temple as a place where everyone could turn in prayer knowing that He would hear and respond.  Solomon had prayed that the Lord would always keep his eye on the Temple, but the sin of Israel had become too great.  Rather than filling the Temple with praise and worship, they had filled it with pride and sin.  The Lord couldn’t see them any longer and someone else was able to steal them away.

While this is the worst possible outcome for the Israelites, it wasn’t the end of the story.  Because the Lord never forgets those he loves.

July 14 - Solomon's Prayer of Dedication

Saturday, July 14, 2012


July 14 - Solomon's Prayer of Dedication
1 Kings 8:22-66. 2 Chronicles 6:12-42.

There are two things that leap out at me as I read this prayer of dedication.  First, Solomon had asked for wisdom and this prayer shows that he has been given that many times over.  He knows about the sins his people will commit in the future.  That wisdom also allows him to recognize that people need a physical focal point to worship, pray to, and offer atonement to a non-physical God.

Secondly, this temple has been an incredible experience for the entirety of the region, not just Solomon and the leaders of Israel, but for all of Israel and for the peoples that surround it.  There are a lot of expectations placed on that altar along with the sacrifices.

Each paragraph of this prayer acknowledges a point when people will need to hear from God.  He pleads with God to hear from heaven and forgive the repentant hearts.  He knows that God can not be contained in all of earth and heaven, much less a temple that he built, but he prays “May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prayers toward this place. Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.” (1 Chronicles 6:20-21)

Solomon then begins to list sins that will cause the Lord to become separate from his people.

When a man wrongs his neighbor.  When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they sinned against you. When there is no rain because your people have sinned against you.  When famine, plague, blight, mildew, locusts or enemies besieging any cities, when disaster comes – and any one of your people comes before you. When the foreigner comes because of your great name. When your people go to war against enemies. When they sin against you and you are angry. When they are held captive in a foreign land.

When any of these things happen and your people ‘pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.’ (2 Chronicles 6:38b-39)

I will remind you that in the New Testament, we are called the temple of God.  As you read through this passage, consider how this looks in your personal life. Solomon’s plea is still applicable, even though we don’t pray toward Jerusalem.  He tells us to pray toward the temple … pray within your heart.  Sacrifice whatever it is that God requires of you to bring repentance and a return to the relationship that he wants with you. God will hear from heaven and uphold your cause. He will forgive you … even you who have sinned against him.

July 13 - The Ark Arrives at the Temple

Friday, July 13, 2012


July 13 - The Ark Arrives at the Temple
1 Kings 8:1-21. 2 Chronicles 5:2-14.

If you look at 2 Chronicles 5:1, you will see that Solomon brought all the things his father had dedicated, the silver and gold and everything into the treasuries of God’s temple. Yesterday I wrote about the extravagance and grandeur of the place.  Can you imagine the efforts we would put into protecting something like that today?  It would take severing the kingdom of Israel into two parts, years and years of destructive behavior and the invasion of a foreign army to destroy this temple.  But, that’s another story.

Solomon gathered all of the leaders of Israel, the tribal heads, the family chiefs, and the elders.  They brought the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple from the tent that David had erected in Jerusalem.

It was quite a procession because they also brought the Tabernacle and all the furnishings that had been in it. As the Levitical priests brought these items to the Temple, Solomon and everyone were sacrificing cattle and sheep.  2 Chronicles records that so many were sacrificed there was no way to count them.  While this may not seem normal to us, this was a grand celebration and the way they knew to praise the Lord of Creation!

The priests carried the Ark into the Most Holy Place and set it under the wings of the cherubim. When they came out, the music began. All of the musicians began playing cymbals, harps and lyres.  There were 120 trumpeters.  These musicians ‘joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord.’ (2 Chronicles 5:13)

Then the most amazing thing happened.

“Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.” (1 Chronicles 5:13b-14)

We pray that the Lord’s blessing will settle on us like this with everything that we do and everything we create in His name.  Amen.

July 12 - Solomon Builds the Temple

Thursday, July 12, 2012


July 12 - Solomon Builds the Temple
1 Kings 6:1-38; 1 Chronicles 3:1-17

Have you ever taken the time to read through one of these passages?  The extravagance and opulence of this home for the Name of the Lord is incredible!

Solomon laid the foundation, set the portico into place, built the walls.  Then, he overlaid the inside with pure gold.  After he paneled the main hall, he covered it with gold.  It says that he adorned the temple with precious stones.  He overlaid the beams, the doorframes, the walls and doors of the temple with gold.

He built the Most Holy Place and overlaid it with gold.  He used gold nails.  He had cherubim sculpted and overlaid each with gold.

He had a curtain woven of blue, purple and crimson yarn into fine linen, with artwork of cherubim worked into it.

Everything that was created for the House of the Lord was created with extravagance in mind.  There was no holding back.  The offerings had poured in to build this temple.  The finest craftsmen were employed, the finest tools and supplies were used.  There was no cost cutting, no arguments about whether or not they could afford the best.  The only thing that mattered was honoring the Lord God.

You know … Paul says that we are now the temple of God.  While some might consider that material wealth and extravagance is necessary to honor God, what He wants most from us is extravagance in our offerings to Him – whether they are material or spiritual, emotional or mental.  We are to be extravagant in the way in which we love Him and show that love to others.

Solomon’s Temple was a grand and glorious place to worship God.  People from all over knew that the Israelites had created this Temple as a home for the God of Creation.

That’s what our temple should be.  Whether we are big or small, wealthy or not, no matter what we look like or can afford … when others see that we worship and honor the God of Creation … with extravagance and generosity … we will match the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple.

July 11 - Solomon Prepares to Build

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


July 11 - Solomon Prepares to Build
1 Kings 5:1-18. 2 Chronicles 2:1-17.

While David had gotten things started for the temple, there was still plenty to collect and do.  This was going to be an immense structure.  1 Kings tells us that Hiram initiated the conversation with Solomon regarding more cedar for constructing the temple, while 2 Chronicles writes that it was Solomon who wrote to Hiram first.  Hiram of Tyre had provided the cedar that David needed to construct his palace, he would be the right man for the job.

Solomon tells Hiram that there is no one as skilled in felling lumber as the people from Sidon, this is the cedar that he wants.  Solomon’s task is a great one. He is to build a temple for the Name of the Lord God. Things had to be perfect!  When you are building something for God, you want to have the best lumber and the most skilled people set to the task.  It isn’t something you want to hand off to the lowest bidder.

The small details we find in these reports are wonderful.  Hiram explains clearly to Solomon that his men will take the cedar and pine logs to the sea, float them in rafts by sea to where Solomon wants them and then will separate them.  At that point, Solomon’s men can take them away.

Then, think about this!  1 Kings 5:13-16.  Solomon sent thirty thousand men in shifts of ten thousand per month to Lebanon to help bring this lumber to Jerusalem.  He sent seventy thousand stone carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters as well as thirty-three hundred foreman to work the quarries and bring out the foundational stones.

The tribes of Israel were huge!  But, as I consider these numbers, I believe Solomon was doing something so right.  The tribes of Israel had existed up to this point as warriors.  They came blasting into Canaan ready to do battle.  They had lived this way for many years.  While they may not have liked it and might have complained about it, this is the life they were used to.  Imagine having that many soldiers in a time of peace.  They needed to have something to do with their lives.  Solomon gave them more than they needed to do.  By the time this initial period of construction was over, the transition would have been made.  Peace had settled on Israel.  People were busy settling into the land.  The Temple was being built.

July 10 - David Prepares for the Temple

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


July 10 - David Prepares for the Temple
1 Chronicles 22:1-19; 28:1-21; 29:1-9

David couldn’t build the Temple, but he could certainly get things ready for his son, Solomon, to build.  He called stonecutters to prepare dressed stone. He provided iron to make nails.  He brought in cedar logs to build. He ordered all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon.  He gathered gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.  He identified stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as craftsmen beyond number.

If he wasn’t going to be able to do the actual building, he wanted to ensure that Solomon would have no trouble following through with his heart’s desire.

We read in 1 Chron. 28:11-18 that David had also drawn up the complete plans for the temple in accordance with what the Spirit of the Lord had placed in his mind.  The plans encompassed the portico, the buildings of the temple, the storerooms, the inner rooms and the place of atonement.  He also had instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites and those who would serve in the temple. He went so far as to specify the weight in gold or silver that would be used for each item from the table of consecrated bread to the lampstands; the forks, bowls and pitchers.  Finally, the plan for the cherubim which sheltered the ark of the covenant.

The Lord had promised that there would be peace and this meant that there would be plenty of time for the building to occur.

His words to the Israelites leaders were, “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you might bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 22:19)

The people brought forth offerings of gold and silver, bronze and iron, and many precious stones.  “They rejoiced at the willing response of the leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced.” (1 Chronicles 29:9)

Solomon was made king and David died … at a good old age (1 Chron. 29:28).

A new age would begin.  The beginning would be glorious.

July 9 - A Promise of Peace

Monday, July 9, 2012


July 9 - A Promise of Peace
2 Samuel 7:8-16, 1 Chronicles 17:1-13

This passage is a beautiful story of God’s message to David through the prophet Nathan.  It is here that we find the promise of a continuation of David’s house and the Messianic prophecy that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ regarding the One who would bring forth the kingdom.  It would be Jesus who would sit on the throne of the eternal kingdom. It would be Jesus who endured the floggings and punishment that God laid out for all of us.

But, why did God tell David that his kingdom would last forever and that He (God) would build a house for David?

Because God had just told David that he wasn’t going to be able to build God a home.  David had just built himself a beautiful palace and it didn’t seem right that God didn’t have something as extravagant in which to reside.  But, God reminded David that He had traveled with His people. He wasn’t contained in one space, He moved around with them, moving from one home to another.

In 1 Chronicles 22:7-8, David tells Solomon another reason for not being able to build the house of God. “David said to Solomon: ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name.  He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’’”

The Lord loved David’s heart. The Lord wasn’t punishing David for having been through those battles.  If you remember, the Lord said (through Nathan), “I have been with you wherever you have gone and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name like the names of the greatest men on earth.” (1 Chronicles 17:8).

If there was going to be a house for His Name, it would be a house built in peace … not in battle.

If there was going to be a house in any of our names … would it be a house built in peace? Oh, I’d hope so.

July 8 - The One Place of Worship

Sunday, July 8, 2012


July 8 - The One Place of Worship
Deuteronomy 12:1-14

Looking for a new church is one thing that torments people.  They search and search for a place where they will feel comfortable and loved, where they will be able to encounter new relationships and friends, where they might fit in and discover new ways to be involved in something bigger than themselves and most of all, whether they say so or not, they want to hear God’s word delivered in a way that makes sense to them and inspires them to respond.

This passage in Deuteronomy told the Israelites that there would be one place to worship.  Now, while that would be a whole lot easier for us today, it was actually kind of a big deal for them also.  In the land they were preparing to enter, there were already many established religions, none of which God wanted His people to serve.

He said, “You must not worship the Lord your God in their way. But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put His Name there for his dwelling.  To that place you must go.” (Deut. 12:4-5)

Further on, he says, “You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit, since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the Lord your God is giving you. But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety. Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His Name – there you are to bring everything I command you …” (Deut. 12:8-11)

Finally, after you have arrived at the place, Moses said, you are to rejoice before the Lord your God.

Finding a home in which to worship can be a trial, but you know what?  The Lord has promised the Israelites that they will have one place to worship.  He was going to create it for them.  He wanted them to be in His presence.

Today we have a lot of different options and honestly, not all of them are blessed by God, but He will draw us to Himself and He will find us the one place of worship that can make that relationship strong.

July 7 - The New Tabernacle

Saturday, July 7, 2012


July 7 - The New Tabernacle
2 Samuel 6:17; 1 Chron. 16:1; 2 Chron. 1:4;

It seems as if there was a second tabernacle … a home for the ark of the Lord.  Just before this we read that the ark finally made it to Jerusalem – the city of David. When it arrived, everyone was dancing and shouting; trumpets were blaring. It was a great time of celebration.

We read in 2 Samuel 6:17, “They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.”

In 2 Chronicles 1:2-4, there is a little more clarification.

Solomon (et al) went to the high place at Gibeon, because God’s tent of meeting was there.  But David had brought the ark of God up from Kiriath-jearim in the place that David had prepared for it; for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.  The bronze altar that Bezalel had originally made for the tabernacle was also there, in front of the tabernacle of the Lord.

Solomon offered one thousand burnt offerings on the bronze altar.

A great moment between Solomon and God occurred there at Gibeon.  It was now that God told Solomon he could ask for anything at all, and Solomon asked for wisdom.

It was for the safety of the ark, that it was separated from the tabernacle. There is no good explanation for why the tabernacle hadn’t been safely packed up and brought into Jerusalem until this point.

These two stories offer us insight into the hearts of the men who served the Lord as kings over Israel, though. When the ark was brought into Jerusalem, there was great joy. David danced before the Lord … with no inhibition. He was so filled with love and joy for the Lord that he could barely contain himself. No wonder he was a man after God’s own heart.

When Solomon went to Gibeon to track down the tabernacle, he worshiped the Lord with great extravagance, holding nothing back. His reward could be anything he desired from the Lord of Creation. He desired wisdom.

The Lord desires our hearts and our minds. We offer both in unfettered and glorious worship to Him.

July 6 - The Tabernacle Travels

Friday, July 6, 2012


July 6 - The Tabernacle Travels
Josh 18:1; 19:51; 22:19, 29.

When Joshua receives leadership of the Israelites from Moses, he begins moving the people into the Promised Land. In Joshua 18:1, they arrive at Shiloh.  The Tabernacle is set up and the tribes begin to take over the land.  It looks as if they will be able to stay in one place.  The land is allotted to each of the different tribes and clans.  Joshua 19:1 says, “These are the territories … assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. And so they finished dividing the l and.”

Great decisions were made in the presence of the Lord. Yesterday we talked about the glory of the Lord filling every bit of the Tabernacle.  The people came before Him as they made their decisions.  This only deepened the relationship they had with Him.  And would only deepen our relationship with Him as well.

In Joshua 22, the Reubenites, Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh (Reuben, Gad and Manasseh was one of the sons of Joseph) built a huge altar by the Jordan river.  A chief from each of the other tribes as well as a priest showed up to protest this altar.  “How could you turn away from the Lord?  This will defile your land and he will pour out his wrath on the land!”

But, they were assured that if the land became defiled, they would still be welcome on the Lord’s land, where the Tabernacle stood (Joshua 22:19, 29).  There was no sin that could stand before the Lord and while He resided in the Tabernacle … that land would be holy.

As the Lord lived among His people, He showed them what it meant to be holy.

They took Him for granted.  That enormous cloud by day and fire by night that traveled with them, the glory that filled the Tabernacle. These signs were not enough to keep the people from turning away and building their own altars and living lives without the Lord.

The powerful change He makes in each of us; forgiveness of sin and freedom from the power of sin.  These are not enough to keep us from turning away and living lives without the Lord.

But, we will still be welcome in the Lord’s land … He loves even us.

July 5 - The Glory of the Lord

Thursday, July 5, 2012


July 5 - The Glory of the Lord
Exodus 40:34-38

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 

In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

THAT’s what happened next.

After all of the preparation and the offerings, after all the design and creation, after setting everything up perfectly and putting everything into place, after Moses blessed the people and then finished the work.  After everything was ready … the Lord showed up.

Not only did the Lord show up, but he filled the tabernacle.  Moses couldn’t even go inside because the glory of the Lord filled it up.  He filled it completely!  There was no room left for anything else.

I believe this is what we have to look forward to when we get everything ready and prepare for the Lord in our lives.  When we give Him unfettered access, he will fill us up so completely that there is no room left for anything else.  There is no room left for ourselves.  There is no room left for outside influence.

The glory of the Lord will fill every nook and cranny, every dark place.  He will slide in to places where we least expect to find Him.

Preparation, offering, creation … we are blessed and then the work is finished.

Completely filled up by the Lord God Almighty.  His glory pervading every miniscule part of myself.  That’s what happens next.

July 4 - Setting Up the Tabernacle

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


July 4 - Setting Up the Tabernacle
Exodus 40:1-33

It was time to set up the Tabernacle.  Moses had inspected it and everything that was to go inside (Exodus 39:32-41) and had blessed it.

Imagine the excitement that pervaded the Israelite encampment.  Every person had been involved in building this – from crafting the curtains, tanning the hides, casting the bronze, silver and gold, weaving the curtains, building the poles, making the table, lampstand, ark and altars to gathering offerings.

The frame was setup, the tent and coverings were spread over it.  Moses put the Testimony into the ark, attached the poles and carried it into the tabernacle, then hung the curtain and shielded the ark.  He placed the table and the lampstand, the gold altar and the altar of burnt offering, then the basin and filled it with water.

He called Aaron and his sons to be washed and dressed, anointing them and consecrating them as priests to serve the Lord.

Then Moses set up the courtyard around the tabernacle, put up the curtain and finished the work.

The tabernacle was set up and ready to go … what happens next?

That will happen in tomorrow’s post.

July 3 - Executing the Plan

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


July 3 - Executing the Plan
Exodus 36:2-38

Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person together.  It was time to go to work.  Then, the Israelites began bringing their offerings.

Every morning … every single morning, the Israelites continued to bring their offerings.

The offerings got so out of control that the craftsmen had to stop working and ask Moses to stop the offerings.

Moses had to give an order that no one was to bring anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.  Scripture tells us that they were restrained from bringing anything more, they had already brought more than enough to do all the work.

Too many items for the sanctuary of the Lord.

Do you love the Lord so much that you offer too much … that you offer so much someone has to restrain you?

What amazing love!

Then the craftsmen went back to work and in Exodus 39:43, Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded.  So Moses blessed them.

July 2 - The Plan

Monday, July 2, 2012


July 2 - The Plan
Exodus 26:1-37

In this description of the plan for erecting the Tabernacle, we see that there is beautiful work done for the tapestry curtains.  Ten of these curtains are created with linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn.  Then, overlaying these gorgeous curtains as protection from the elements are curtains made of goat hair.  Two more layers of protection are made, a covering made of ram skins dyed red and then a covering made from the hides of sea cows.

On the inside of the Tabernacle we would find one more curtain that covers the Most Holy Place.  While it is made with the same colors of purple, blue and scarlet yarns in linen, figures of cherubs are worked into the tapestry.

Finally, there is a curtain that covers the main entrance to the tent made of the same colors.

A framework is created of acacia wood, curtain hooks are made of bronze and gold and bases for the framework are made of gold, bronze and silver.

Each of these parts of the Tabernacle and each of the items to be placed in the Tabernacle (the altars, the lampstand, the Ark of the Covenant, the Table) were made to be portable.

God was on the move and the people of God had to be ready to move with Him, sometimes at a moment’s notice.

God wasn’t prepared to settle into one place until He found the home for His children.  Until then, though it was appropriate to fashion a perfect home for His presence, it was also necessary that everything be mobile.  The people carried the entirety of their lives as they traveled; they also carried their means of worship.  They carried their homes and they carried the dwelling place of the Lord God Almighty.

July 1 – Make Me A Sanctuary

Sunday, July 1, 2012


July 1 – Make Me A Sanctuary

Exodus 25:1-9

Moses went up on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.  While he was there, the Lord said that he was to tell the Israelites to bring an offering.  He was to receive these offerings from all whose hearts prompted them to give.

Gold, silver and bronze. Blue, purple and scarlet yarn.  Fine linen and goat hair.  Ram skins dyed red. Hides of sea cows. Acacia wood, olive oil and spices, onyx and other gems.

After receiving these offerings, the people would make a sanctuary for the Lord and He promised to dwell among them.  He told Moses to make the tabernacle … the tent of meeting … exactly like the pattern the Lord would show Moses.

God had been separated from His people for such a long time.  He had walked with Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, cared for Joseph.  But, when the people went to Egypt because of the famine, they ended up staying. The king who knew them had died, and the Israelites became slaves.  They cried out and God heard them.  He sent Moses to bring them out of slavery.

When He told Moses to bring His people out of Egypt, He gave His name to the Israelites … I AM (Exodus 3:14).  He claimed the Israelites as His people and promised to bring them to the land of milk and honey and renewed the covenant with them.  He gave them the Ten Commandments and now it was time to be among them once again.

This Tabernacle would be His dwelling place.  There was a pattern Moses would follow.  The Tabernacle was a copy of God’s dwelling place in heaven … it was His home while He was with His people.  The Lord came down from heaven to be with those He loved.  His home on earth would be made from the offerings of His people.

The offerings of their hearts, the offerings of their goods … this is what it would take.