One of my many wrestling matches with scripture and God is about who God is and what He wants from me. I’m sure we all think about this in our quiet time and when we do our devotions. We come to the comfort of his sanctuary week, after week, after week. We find our favorite chair to sit on, (although they all look the same to me), OK some have bigger stains than others but well…you know. We come here to do what? Sing some songs (if they are the ones we like). See what other people are wearing (I know some of you are looking at the preacher and thinking “if he was going to preach how come he didn’t wear a tie). Sometimes we come with the hope of hearing some non-confrontational message that makes us feel good (been there, done that).
This day we are going to wrestle with some scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in what He is trying to tell us here today wherever you are. We’re going to do this old school. We will read a little talk a little, read some more and talk some more. And by the time the Scriptures are done with us someone will get save or convicted today ...amen? Amen! Let’s pray; Father we love You and we praise your glorious name. We come before you with open hearts and minds and we ask you that you fill them with your Word. Use us Lord and help us to hear only what you need to tell us as a people of God. Use us today to speak of your love to anyone who is searching for you in our daily walk in life. Let those who are on the verge of a breakthrough get their breakthrough today through your Word Father. May your words change lives here today, in Jesus name…Amen!
So let’s talk about who this God we worship is. This is the passage that God put in my heart when I started to wrestle with him. Scripture says this; I am not making this stuff up let’s just look it up…if you have a Bible or turn to it with me to Psalm 68 and verses 34 and 35:
Psalm 68:34-35; “Ascribe power to God. His majesty is over Israel, His power among the clouds. God, You are awe-inspiring in Your sanctuaries. The God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. May God be praised!” HCSB
Oh WOW!! Did you hear that or was I the only one that noticed it. His power and majesty are everywhere; with his people, in the clouds. He is awe-inspiring in his sanctuaries. Oh Man wow...I want to go to there! Let me ask you, Is God awe-inspiring to you today? The word sanctuary in the Hebrew is miqdash (mik-dawsh) which describes a consecrated place or temple or sanctuary which was the place where God dwelt in Old Testament days. How awe-inspiring is God to you? What make us say “Wow, God did that!” Here, go with me to the beginning;
Gen 1:1-4; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” NIV
Are you kidding me?..Did you just hear that, what the word of God Just did?...He spoke it into reality. He said; light and whoops there it is!! The rest of the chapter He goes on to speak and whoops there it is again, trees, animals, birds you name it he spoke it, and it came to be…I can’t do that here let’s try it just for fun…let there be a cat…ok …any minute now, hmm nothing…ok maybe cat’s are hard ‘cause they’re finicky and all…let’s try dog…DOG !!! hmmm nothing? My point is this, I can’t do that. I can’t create by just speaking it into reality, that is something that is awe-inspiring and only God can do.
Go to Genesis 2 and verse 7 and 22; “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” … Gen 2:22; “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” NIV
This is so amazing. Here we have God who, up to this point, has spoken everything into existence until is time to create us. Suddenly he decides that he wants the more hands on approach. A more personal touch if you will. So He creates us with His own hand. Can you seeing how awe-inspiring God is, so far? And this goes on story after story, book after book all through the Bible. In chapter 6 of Genesis we read Noah’s story. Here is the only righteous guy and his family about to go on a 150 day cruise all expenses paid with several of their best animal friends. That must have been a sight; Noah building the Ark, his neighbors pretending they didn’t see it in the driveway. The look on their faces when the parade of animals started must have been priceless. But of course, you remember why God had to do something so awe-inspiring like an ark right?… SIN. I know there are many stories of awe in the Scriptures but I am going to just share two more. In 1 Samuel 17 is the famous story of David and Goliath. This story has been talked about by everyone who teaches and preaches scripture, but here is my take. What strikes me about this story is the conversation he has with Goliath and how he goes on and tells Goliath how awe-inspiring is his God. David was so passionate about God that he didn’t see Goliath’s size, or his armor. Such was his focus on God’s awe that he could see past Goliath to the victory that was going to happen. He was so focused on God’s power in his life that what looked like an impossible obstacle to everyone else; to him it wasn’t even there at all. He’s like; "you’re going down G, I’ve killed bears and lions, oh my! With my bare hands through God’s power, so my friend, you are toast." And here is what is so amazing about this story; get this, he runs right up to the guy and takes him down with one shot.
After we read all these awesome stories we get to a point where we ask ourselves, what does a God that can do all those things want with me? There is something about us that God absolutely loves. We are made in God’s image, we are made for his pleasure, we are the one’s responsible of showing everyone how glorious God is. But instead what do we do?…we sin. We fight among each other, we complain about the music being too loud, not enough hymns, How come there is a music stand and no memorial pulpit. We don’t listen to the small still voice of the Holy Spirit and we sin and we separate ourselves from God because of our behavior. We listen instead to the voices…you know the ones I am talking about…the ones that tell us; “it will be OK if you bring it to the pastor's attention”, “that doesn’t hurt anyone”, “you’re a big tither you should have a say so”, or we’re not good enough, you’re too young, you’re too old… look at how messed up your life really is…God doesn’t want you to witness…If you get involved in the church you’ll never have free time to watch TV or movies or play videos or listen to your music, or hang out with friends or you’re family. On and on it goes and so we tell ourselves this “I have a plan I’ll just go to church often enough to check-in and save face.” And in your head this sounded really good, but as time goes by you drift away from your relationship with God. You decide that you don’t want to be awe-inspiring for God anymore. What you don’t know is this; that is not your call, because if you remember at the beginning of this blog post we heard how God told us that He is awe-inspiring in his sanctuaries. If you have ever read a Bible you know that another word for sanctuary is temple. So my next logical question is this; where is God’s temple today? The Apostle Paul answers that question for us in scripture.
1Co 3:16 -17 “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
Here is where it gets good. It turns out we, (Christians), are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. Who knew? God knew, all along, that’s who! Is it me or am I grasping at straws here when I say that this is the most incredible assignment ever?
2Co 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
Here is one of the most compelling reasons to say yes to God. He wants us! He wants to live with us, walk with us and be our God so we can be His people. This promise should give you comfort every day and night. This promise brings a peace that is hard to contain at times. This promise is bigger than any circumstances you have in your life right now. This is God asking you to open your heart, mind and soul to Him and let Him guide your life through prayer and surrender to His will for you.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 it says; “Don't you know that you are God's sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone ruins God's sanctuary, God will ruin him; for God's sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are.”
If you are a Christian you are God’s sanctuary, repent and start behaving like you are that sanctuary. If you are not a Christian then there is good news for you because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection you too can be a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. All you need to do is ask him to be part of your life. Surrender to Jesus your life and watch as you will turn into a sanctuary of God. Let’s pray…Father you are awe-inspiring, and we have been neglecting your sanctuary. Forgive us and restore us to making You the priority in our lives. Those who are reading this today who do not know you Jesus, touch their hearts right now and open their minds and hearts to ask you into their lives and their circumstances. Bring those to you today that have been seeking you for so long in so many different places. … AMEN!