TITLE: Temples Made With Hands
DATE: April 17, 2019
TEXT: Ezra 3: 11-12 – ESV -And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy,
You have watched the fire at Notre Dame. The destruction impacts different people in different ways.
All around the world people are looking back to the church which once was. The President of France says they will rebuild. They should. The company which restores historic monuments says it will take 10 to 15 years to reconstruct Notre Dame. It will take longer… in all of France there are no trees which can replace the ones in the roof which have been burned.
Which is why, when so many are looking backwards, this devotion reminds us that the Lord Who doesn’t live in temples made with human hands, always leads His people forward. When Adam and Eve wanted to return to the Garden, God prevented that, and moved them forward into His promise. When the Children of Israel complained and wanted to go back, the Lord took them to he promised land.
When one of the thieves on the Jerusalem cross challenged Jesus to free him, it was only so he could go back to his life of crime. To this man who wanted to go back, Jesus said nothing.
But there was another man there on another cross. He spoke to Jesus and asked if he could be delivered forward into the Savior’s kingdom.. To that man the Redeemer said something. He said something which He said to nobody else in the New Testament.
Jesus guaranteed, before the day was out, that man would be in heaven.
So, today it is appropriate to mourn the wounding of a great church, a magnificent work of art; but it is also right for us to look forward. In a few days we celebrate the resurrection. The risen Redeemer having kept God’s laws; having conquered death, leads people of faith forward. Forward into a life filled with forgiveness; forward into days filed with hope; forward into fellowship with brothers and sisters redeemed; forward into eternity with Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Surely in temples made with hands, God, the Most High, is not dwelling; High above earth His temple stands, All earthly temples excelling. Yet He whom heavens cannot contain Chose to abide on earth with men, Built in our bodies His temple. 7. Grant then, O God, where'er men roam, That, when the church-bells are ringing, Many in saving faith may come Where Christ His message is bringing: "I know Mine own, Mine own know Me; Ye, not the world, My face shall see. My peace I leave with you." Amen. (TLH 467 s 2, 7)
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html