A HOUSE OF PRAYER
“And to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.’” (John 2:16).
Jesus drove the lenders, sellers, and business people out of the Jewish Temple because the Temple was to be a Holy, set-apart place for God’s presence to fill. Anything in the Temple that was not proscribed by God was idolatrous for He said, “I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:16), yet Israel continuously used God’s House for other purposes. Eli’s sons brought extortion and adultery into the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:12-25), Tobiah took a room in the Temple, moving all God’s goods out and his goods into it (Nehemiah 13:8-9), and Josiah found worship of Baal, Asherah, and the hosts of Heaven in the Temple (2 Kings 23:4). Throughout Scripture Israel repeatedly profaned God’s Temple by bringing the things of the world into it.
After Christ’s work on the cross, we learned that God considers our bodies temples for His Holy Spirit: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (2 Corinthians 2:16). Just as the Jews brought ungodly activities into the Temple, we also bring ungodly things into our bodies, hearts, and minds. We are built by God as a place for Him to inhabit and fill, but what happens when people try to satisfy their spiritual emptiness by filling their lives with things other than God? Sometimes even Believers make room in their bodies for “business” – exchanges with the world’s marketplace of values and desires, giving room to the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), just as Tobiah, took a room in the Temple for his personal use.
The truth is that spiritual exchanges are often going on in the heart. “Buying” at its most basic level means acquiring things with what we have to offer—our substance (time, money, energy). Spiritually this means giving up our time, energy, love to bring things into our hearts in place of God, momentarily filling the emptiness meant to be filled by Him. This could be anything—a boyfriend/girlfriend, money, teachings that “fulfill” us, denominations that suit us—anything that we exalt in our heart, debasing the things of God. Sooner than later, these things begin to fade, and people need a “fix,” so they break up with their girlfriend and get another, switch churches, buy things, grab another beer, get some more drugs, etc. The material world feeds off this “need” for a “fix” to “fill” the emptiness inside our hearts, by promising that the world’s values and desires will satisfy us. But we are eternal beings and only the things of God are eternal, therefore any satisfaction from the world is transitory and we end up in desperate need again. People move idol after idol into the Holy of Holies of the heart in a vain effort to fill the void that can only be filled by the presence of Jesus Christ. This is commerce with the world—giving substance intended for God to the lusts and desires of decaying flesh. The only thing that can truly fill our temple is the One Who made it, and He freely indwells those who obey Him, glorifying us just as the Shekinah Glory brought glory to the Temple—so we also are inhabited by the eternal God.
Let us watch our hearts in these last days, for “what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people’” (2 Corinthians 6:16). May we be HIS people. Amen.