Lesson 10 -- fourth quarter 2002
November 3, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
God's polluted house
God wanted to meet with His people, not just on a once-in-a-while basis but often, frequently. In fact, He wanted to dwell among them. He wanted to have His own place in their midst. So He began by living in the tabernacle. Once their journeyings were done and they had become established in the Promised Land within secure borders and under a strong king, He allowed Solomon to build the magnificent temple. He told Solomon plainly, "Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel" (1 Kings 6:12,13).
Alas, His people ceased from following after Him with their whole hearts. They began to make exceptions to obedience here and excuses for disobedience there. Before long, they indulged in a life that disregarded their covenant with God, that violated the commands upon which the promise of His presence was established. God's people "transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 36:14).
We readily look back on the ancient Israelites and shake our heads in wonder and condemnation at their carelessness and then rebellion. Why, they held in contempt the very place where God Himself lived among them! I wonder if we at all pause to consider the temple of God among His present-day people. Is it possible that we too are guilty of transgressing after the abominations of the heathen, of polluting the house of God which He has made holy?
Listen: "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:17). Can there be any doubt that God still expects His people to keep His temple pure? No! So let's inventory our lives, determined to find and eliminate those thoughts, attitudes, values, opinions, actions, habits, and manners of living that defile us.
Despite the despicable attitude and unholy lifestyle of His people, God did not immediately cast down and away from His presence. Rather, "the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people" (2 Chronicles 36:15). Praise God for His faithful mercy and abundant grace! He always gives His people more opportunities for repentance than we deserve. No matter how grievously we have failed, He calls us back. That's God for you!
Did God's people respond to their own evil and God's compassion by turning back to Him in repentance? No, sadly they didn't. Instead "they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets" (2 Chronicles 36:16). May our response be more humble and noble.
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