First Temple

John 2:19, Mark 14:58
The Jews were disillusioned by him when some reported that Jesus said that he would destroy the temple and then within three days, he was going to build another made without hands. They gloried in the roman architecture, the giant pillars, the ephod-clad priests and the service-men Levites. They couldn’t hink of anything better than the disparity between the Clergy and Laity.  Direct access to God was for only selected people-priests, prophets and kings -and they loved it like that. Let God be up there (or in there – most holy place). We’ll be out here. They took Jesus’ words literarily, just like carnal men will do.
But for us, it’s a glorious statement.
Jesus was referring to his mission on earth -to restore the broken communion between man and God. And that he did on the Golgotha Cross.

The temple that was, was one with a curtain between the Most Holy place (where only the High Priest  could enter once a year) and the Holy Place (where other priests could sacrifice). Man couldn’thave direct access to God.
In your presence is fullness of Joy, David resonates (Psalm 16:11), But to the Jews, the Most Holy Place (presence) was more dreaded than admired.
But that made without hands needed not bricks or gold and the curtain was torn apart – where man had personal access to God, the father.
Jesus came to make us all Royal Priests of the Most High (1 Peter 2:9).
What they lost by obstinacy and unbelief, you got by grace – you didn’t lift a pin, did you? No one needs to bamboozle you with words or lead you astray because you have God in and upon you.
Well, except that we still get distracted by a lot of things. Deceived by the modern-day apostates.
We refuse to enter the Most Holy Place, where God sits, waiting for us. Even when we go, we carry to Him what we do not intend to leave with Him. We do not listen to his gentle voice.
I like how the gospel album, Casting Crowns, renders it:

But the waves are calling out my name. And they laugh at me; reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed. The waves they keep on telling me time and time again. “Boy, you’ll never win! You’ll never win!” (Voice of Truth; 2003).

We choose to listen to the noise in our environment. We listen to the waves. We prefer what the bestsellers say about our life that what God says through his WORD. That’s why our lives have been running a chaotic course since we refuse to set it in God’s order.

Why not listen to the voice of truth. God tells you a different story. He says, “Do not be afraid, just come.” We will soar with the wings of eagles when we stop and listen to the sound of Jesus singing over us. We will become living stones for the temple made without hands, whose builder and founder is God.

The temple curtain has been torn for us to come into His presence always.

Will you listen to the voice of truth and be a part of the temple made without hands?

Does God Have Favourites?

Why do some people’s lives reflect more of God than others? Why are some Christians living heaven on earth but others just barely struggle to keep their heads above the water?

I was trailing along this line of thought when an analogy popped into my consciousness:

Of my three plain pairs of trousers, which I bought all new, the blue one is my favourite.

Why? While the colours of the first one decided to fade, and the second one’s threading started to pull out, the third remained new and bright. So it became my favourite.

God bought us and washed us all new. Every Christian at salvation has the same status – adopted child – with great potentials. But after that, we decide the level of intimacy we want to maintain with God. And the deciding factor is OBEDIENCE.

“He who has My commandments and keeps then, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Jesus answered and said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word: and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

-John 14:21 &23

God never changes. He is love and that love in itself is discretely absolute with no varying degrees. But the extent to which we experience God’s love is not dependent on Him (He does not partially bestow special favours on a select few); but it is dependent on us. You and me.

Like black gold ore rescued from the mine, we all were, with the potential to become shining gold. But some have remained ore, while others have begun the process of firing to become sparkling gold. Some have decided to maintain a quality Christian life while others have become counterfeit and diluted in their principles.

Some people are of the opinion that God has favourites.  I think they observed that God draws nearer to the people who initially draw nearer to Him and seek to please Him through faith to make that conclusion. This isn’t favouritism. God is not partial. He has given us His word that “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). And He is true to His word.

Have you remained on the fringes of the palace or have you dared to enter the throne-room? Have you decided to steer clear of sin and follow the highway of righteousness or you are still lingering long in in Temptation Avenue? You know what happens to people who do that: they get invited to sin banquet where the devil is the Chairman of the occasion, fun is the appetizer and death  is the main course. You don’t usually live to eat the dessert.

“But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2

That’s God saying there that you will start to experience heavenly communion and love when you are humble, contrite and reverently responsive to God’s word (what He has to say!).

“… and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Do you know that because my blue trouser remained quality, I started to wash and rinse it separately from others and with greater care.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

That is what God does to anyone who responds to him call. No one has been predestined to be favoured of God. In fact, we all have equal chances. But we can experience a greater dimension of His love, and we can live a favoured and fulfilled life: if we decide to delight in His presence and grow daily in Him.

Then it’ll just look like we’re God’s favourites. They won’t see the difference!