LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Lord, You heard the voiceless, You touched the untouchable, You saw the invisible, and You helped the helpless. You made all of us and give worth to the unworthy. Teach us as Your church to do the same. may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen
MEDITATION You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and remember, you are the temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 MSG) The Temple is mentioned almost 200 times in the Bible. Eleven chapters of Exodus describe to Moses and the Israelites how to build the Tabernacle, which was a temporary, portable Temple. The Temple of Solomon was built around 950 BC and destroyed in 586 BC. The second temple was re-built under the leadership of Ezra after the Jews returned from 70 years of Exile. This temple was desecrated by the Greeks many years later and then rebuilt to a grandiose scale under Herod the Great around 20-10 BC only to be so utterly destroyed by Rome in 70 AD (just about 40 years after Christ’s crucifixion) that there is no consensus today as to where the Holy of Holies actually stood. The Temple, was the meeting place between humanity and God. In particular His chosen people, the Jews. We have a hard time wrapping our heads around how important the Temple was in the minds of the Jewish people. When Rome was besieging it in 70 AD, hundreds of thousands died defending Jerusalem and the Temple. This is why Jesus incited so much outrage by declaring that He would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Jesus meant His body but He also knew the days of the physical Temple were numbered and the role that it played was being supplanted by something new. The U.S. is a diverse nation made up of many peoples and traditions. In the scale of human history we are also a fairly young nation. There is no single unifying structure or monument that plays a role quite like the Temple in Jerusalem. This is appropriate since our nation is a secular structure influenced by Christian principles. The founding Fathers of the United States were the “children” of hundreds of years of bitter warfare in Europe between different Christian churches. Christians tortured and killed Christians over questions of when to baptize, how to baptize, Catholic or Protestant, and what language could the Bible be written in, etc… The Founders chose to institute freedom of religion to prevent that kind of chaos in America. Israel was a theocracy in which God was supposed to be king, but they opted for human kings, which ultimately led to the destruction of their nation. With the coming of Christ, God widened the blessing out from Abraham’s descendant’s to include every nation, language and race of people on the planet. God also instituted a new covenant. The rituals and sacrifices performed at the Temple were no longer necessary because Jesus had acted as the perfect sacrifice. Cleansing from sin came from faith in Jesus and being baptized into His new community the Church. We are the church and our bodies are the earthly dwelling place of God’s Spirit. When He lives in us and has dominion we are changed. Our lives become evidence that He is at work. We become characterized by His likeness; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control overflow out of hearts. At least that is the hope… Tomorrow, “If that’s not the case, then what’s going on?”
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/jeremiah/ for an overview of Jeremiah and https://bibleproject.com/explore/colossians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Jeremiah 11:18-13:27 Chapter 12 begins with a complaint against who? How does verse 2 describe these individuals? What does that mean about who the wicked are? The chapter ends with God uprooting the wicked, and yet still having compassion on them. Re-read verse 15. I feel like the prophets would have been great at children’s sermons. What is the image that begins chapter 13? What does it mean? Colossians 2:6-23 Paul is speaking about the freedom we find in Christ. Freedom from what? (v 14) Verses 20-23 speak about how this works out practically. Ultimately what are we wrestling against? (end of verse 23) Psalm 118:1-16 Psalm 118 speaks of victory over who? Consequently, who is the one giving the psalmist this victory?