Lesson 3 -- second quarter 2008
March 16, 2008
© Copyright 2008
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.
In one of His most memorable visits to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus declared very forcefully, "My house shall be . . . but ye have made it" (Mark 11:17). They violated God's purposes for that temple. How are you doing with the temple which is your body?
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