8 Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? – 2 Cor 3:8 NLT
When God called Moses to Mt. Sinai to give him the commandments, He had Moses tell the Israelites that they could not come near or touch the mountain. Anyone who did so would be put to death. The whole mountain was covered with a thick cloud as God descended to the top of the mountain to speak with Moses. God and His glory were covered with the cloud so that Moses could not see God. It was, as though, God spoke to him through a veil. This veil protected Moses because no one could see the face of God and live. It was a foreshadowing of the veil that covered the Most Holy Place in the temple. So the law and the commandments came with the glory of God. Under sentence of death, the people could not touch the mountain so they could not approach God directly. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom. The resurrection of Jesus ushered in righteousness and grace. When He ascended to heaven, He was restored to His position with all of its glory for eternity. We no longer need a Moses or a priest to approach God for us, we are invited to come before the throne of God in all its glory and make known our requests. It is our privilege and our ministry to bring the Living Word that came with surpassing, eternal glory to a lost and dying world.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:15, 16 KJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.—1 Cor. 3:16,17 NASB
When Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem, it included the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place. That was where the Ark was placed and that is where the Shekinah glory of God came down. There was no sun or artificial light in the place, the glory of God was the only light that lit up the Most Holy Place. If anyone defiled the Most Holy Place in the Temple, they were sentenced to death. The priest that entered the Most Holy Place wore a rope around his ankle, so that if he erred in his duties and God destroyed him, his body could be pulled out. This should let us know how serious God is about the defilement of His Temple. Now, we are that Most Holy Place. It is hard for us to grasp the concept that we are a Temple of the Living God. There is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, actually living inside us. The Holy Spirit is a person with emotions. He can be grieved and hurt. If we choose a lifestyle that defiles the Temple, our bodies, we will be destroyed as well. Does this mean that we will die and go to hell? No, not if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. It could very well mean that you depart from this earth at an earlier age than you expected.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. — 1 John 3:23 NLT
Believe in Jesus and love one another. Simple to say, not so simple to do. How can we know that we truly believe in Jesus? Do we instantly change or do we suddenly feel different? Or is it a gradual change over the years? It is some of both, we are instantly saved the moment we believe. We may not feel any different but salvation is based on knowledge not on feelings or emotions although we may get emotional when it happens. Salvation is the foundation of Christianity, it is involved in our lifelong process of sanctification and it is the capstone of the completed temple God is building in our bodies. So, how do we know this process is taking place on a daily basis? Do we love others more or differently? Does the grief and sorrow of others affect us more than before? Is our outlook slowing changing from “what about me?” to “what can I do for Jesus and His Kingdom today?” Does it break our hearts to know that we have done or said something that hurt Jesus and His Kingdom? If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of us accomplishing what God wants in our lives. If the answers are no or I’m not sure, then perhaps it would not hurt to take another look at the foundation and see if it is solid.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
8 “Moreover, I hereby decree that you are to help these elders of the Jews as they rebuild this Temple of God. You must pay the full construction costs, without delay, from my taxes collected in the province west of the Euphrates River so that the work will not be interrupted. — Ezra 6:8 NLT
In Exodus, we saw that when God brought the Israelis out of the bondage of Israel, He brought them laden with gold and the treasures of the land. God had instructed Moses to tell the people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for whatever they would give. In this way, Egypt was plundered. God had sent the Israelis into bondage again when the Babylon army ransacked Jerusalem and took the people to Babylon. When the time of their bondage was fulfilled, God brought them out of Babylon to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Cyrus had decreed that they could go in peace and do this. He gave them the bowls and utensils that had been brought from the Temple. Cyrus also decreed that their neighbors should “contribute toward their expenses” by giving them voluntary offerings of gold, silver, livestock and anything else they might need for their journey to Jerusalem. The people of the provinces west of the Euphrates opposed the rebuilding of the Temple. When Darius became king, they wrote him a letter requesting that that he, Darius, should tell the Israelis to cease and desist. Instead, Darius had the records searched and found the decree that Cyrus had written years before. He not only decreed that everything in that letter would be fulfilled but that the peoples of the provinces west of the Euphrates would not help the elders rebuild the Temple but they would bear the cost of the reconstruction using the tax money they usually paid to Darius. You would need to read the whole book of Ezra to get even a small grasp of all that God provided for His people so the Temple could be rebuilt. They received gifts worth billions in today’s economy. God never sends us anywhere or asks us to do anything that He does not provide “more than enough’ to complete the mission. “Dayenu” is Hebrew for “sufficient for us” and it is a beautiful Passover song that reminds us of just how great God really is.
8 He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.
— 2 Chronicles 32:8 NLT
When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he tore down false idol and restored the Temple. He brought back the priests and the Levites and re-established the worship services according to the words that Moses had recorded. The people had joined in and given their tithes and gift offerings with joy and celebration. It was a time of restoration in the land of Judah. Hezekiah had faithfully carried out his work. As we know, satan does not like to see the work of God carried out successfully. The only plan satan has is to see what God is doing and react to it. So, God allows him to bring Sennacherib and the Assyrian army to attack Judah and Jerusalem. Sennacherib had been successful in taking some of the walled cities of Judah and now his army had arrived at Jerusalem. Hezekiah continued his work of restoration by completing the walls of Jerusalem and building an outer wall as well. He encouraged all of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to continue in their work and worship of the true God of Israel. Hezekiah had faith that God would deliver the city from danger. He understood that it was God that had made his efforts successful and not the power of man. So, when he saw a great army of “mere men” arrayed against him, he trusted his God to deliver him and he was right in doing so. Hezekiah and the priests cried out to God and God delivered them by sending an angel to destroy the Assyrian army. When we are obedient to God we do not have to fear regardless of what the situation looks like from a human standpoint. “Trust and obey, there’s no other way”.
22 “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! — 2 Samuel 7:22 NLT
Nathan, the prophet has told David that God will not allow David to build a permanent temple for God. Nathan also tells David that God will establish David’s house as a dynasty. There would never be a time when someone from David’s lineage would not rule in Israel. Instead of being upset that his idea was rejected, David rejoices in the better plan that God has for he and his family. David then prays this prayer of thanksgiving to God. Then David goes on to be obedient to God and God gives him victory after victory on the battlefield. David collects all the materials necessary for Solomon to build the temple. Though God rejected David’s request, He gave David something better. God always hears and answers our prayers. When God says no to our request, it is usually for our benefit, so that He can give us something better. Either the plan is wrong or the timing is wrong. But, like David, we should accept God’s answer and praise Him for all the things He has brought us through. We should realize, as David did, that there is no God like our God. David had never even heard of a God that could do what our God does and neither have we. Our God fulfills every promise He has ever made. He does this in His timing, not in ours. Too often, we are willing to settle for good things and not wait on God to give us the better things He wants for us. This is true, spiritually, physically and financially. Don’t rebel against God when He doesn’t answer yes to every request exactly when we want him to do so. Wait on the Lord, He has a better plan. Praise Him for Who He is, not what He does for us. He has already given us His Son, why would He withhold any good thing from us?
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.–Romans 12:10-11 NIV
We should always be humble in allowing others to go before us, that is one way we can show our love for them and for Jesus. Jesus is our example. He left all of His glory in heaven, came to earth as a “man of sorrows” and had a servant’s heart. Though He never sinned, He was obedient even to death on the cross. In those days when someone was hanged on a tree, He was considered to be cursed by God. This curse by God for our sins was the agony that Jesus wanted to avoid, but He could not be disobedient to the Father. There are times when love calls us to be meek and lowly just as Christ demonstrated. But there are other times when love and devotion to God calls for another kind of action. Jesus also demonstrated this when He drove the money changers from the Temple. His zeal for the Father’s house consumed Him. God is love, Jesus was all God, so Jesus was love, but that never caused Him to compromise His stand against wickedness and evil. He sometimes spoke very harshly to the scribes and Pharisees. God doesn’t need us to defend Him or His Word. He needs us to be His representative and stand for Him.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.–Ephesians 6:13 NIV