Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cleaning the temple

Hezekiah cleanses the temple
Hezekiah cleanses the temple
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 29:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "'Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.'"  2 Chronicles 29:5

In Old Testament times decisions about faith and religious practice were usually made by political leaders and not individuals.  Kings Ahaz and Hezekiah are examples of this.

King Ahaz, Hezekiah's father, determinedly, pointedly, and openly turned away from God. When he was defeated by the Syrians he decided to start worshiping their gods: "'Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me'" - 2 Chronicles 28:23.

And so he destroyed worship objects of God Jehovah, locked the temple, made altars throughout Jerusalem, and high places to sacrifice to "other gods" throughout Judah (2 Chronicles 28:24-25). It was no secret who he was worshiping and I can only imagine the trouble his subjects would have got into had he discovered they were clinging to Yahweh.

When his son Hezekiah became king, he reversed those practices. Immediately on ascending to the throne, this 25-year-old opened the temple doors, gathered the priests, and put them to work cleansing the temple in the hope of restoring God-honoring worship. Soon the lamps would again burn and the smell of incense and the smoke of offerings would again fill the air.

Though our faith and practice may not have the public component of a central worship place with open (or locked) doors, lit (or unlit) lamps, pungent incense and smoky offerings, the principles of opening, cleansing and sanctifying still apply to our worship. Now, however, each one of us administers our own temple—the temple of our heart and physical body.

King Hezekiah's directive to his priests is an excellent place to start with this: "Now sanctify the house of the Lord … and carry out the rubbish from the holy place."

In New Testament terms:

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" - 1 Corinthians 3:16,17.

and

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's" - 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.


PRAYER: Dear God, help me to keep my temple clean, myself set apart for You and Your purposes, as I administer my body, soul, and spirit—the temple of Your Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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