Where is God?

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 11

To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,

for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;

if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

 

If the foundations are destroyed …are we not as a nation in the process of destroying our foundations? There is a steady flow of denying God as our refuge and a turning to our own abilities and strengths. To be sure those abilities and strengths are from God for all things come from him. The danger to us is in the denial of who he is and what he does. As a nation we move from God as our basis for all things to mankind as the basis for all things; or nature as the basis for all things. How we view life and all it encompasses is crucial to the quality of life. Remove the foundations and the building collapses into rubble; something no longer of use, needing to be cleaned up. For many, the removal of God has caused their life to collapse into rubble and the joy of living is gone.

“…if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Whatever mankind does, God remains. For those of us who guard our heart, keep the mind of Christ, continue to place our faith and trust in our Creator, life retains its joy regardless of the circumstances around us. He is our refuge; he walks and talks with us. Adonai is in His holy temple. Know not that you are his temple? He lives in us.

“…The LORD is in his holy temple…”

Where will we run to? To whom will we run?

“…In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,…”

God is righteous; we possess that righteousness and we will see him.

For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

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Remember…

Ezekiel 45:13-25

“This is the offering which you shall offer: you shall give one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of wheat, and one-sixth of an ephah from a homer of barley. 14 The ordinance concerning oil, the bath of oil, is one-tenth of a bath from a kor. A kor is a homer or ten baths, for ten baths are a homer. 15 And one lamb shall be given from a flock of two hundred, from the rich pastures of Israel. These shall be for grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for them,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “All the people of the land shall give this offering for the prince in Israel. 17 Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

18 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary. 19 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the gateposts of the gate of the inner court. 20 And so you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who has sinned unintentionally or in ignorance. Thus you shall make atonement for the temple.

21 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22 And on that day the prince shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering. 23 On the seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bulls and seven rams without blemish, daily for seven days, and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 24 And he shall prepare a grain offering of one ephah for each bull and one ephah for each ram, together with a hin of oil for each ephah.

25 “In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he shall do likewise for seven days, according to the sin offering, the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the oil.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=45&v=1&t=NKJVP>

It is good to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross, a sacrifice of atonement for our sins, once and for all time.  It is important to remember what he has done often so that we do not get distracted by outside situations and events that try to take from our life in Him and remembering He is our all.  There are many feasts, many offerings required.  All serve  to help us remember who He is and what He does.  If we are His temple, every time we eat, every time we celebrate an event it will be to remind us of His provision for us, His love for us and the salvation He has brought to us.  We are the body of Christ, His church, His people and He resides within us in our inner most being.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Take care of His temple…

Ezekiel 44:1-9

Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. 2 And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. 3 As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.”

4 Also He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD; and I fell on my face. 5 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary.

6 “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. 7 When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And you have not kept charge of My holy things, but you have set others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you.” 9 Thus says the Lord GOD: “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=44&t=nkjvp>

The entrance is closed to all once the glory of God has entered.  We are his temple.  When we receive his presence at the cross, our minds- the east gate- are closed to all else.  We become focused upon the Lord, His thoughts and His ways; we are new the old has gone.

“…This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. …”

Need it be said to be careful what we expose our minds to?  Our God is a jealous God – we are to keep to Him only.  We are not to allow ‘foreigners’ – anything that can be anti- or other than- God based- anything that does not hold to Him only- entrance to our temple.

“… “No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter My sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel….”

We are consecrated; set apart for Him only.

Take away:  What do we spend our time on?  To whom do we allow entrance to our inner self and mind?  When we allow outside influences, – those influences other than  the Lord’s we are inviting ‘foreigners’  into His temple, our body,  mind and spirit.  He calls this desecrating His sanctuary.

“….you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it…”

We can be alert, aware of what we expose our minds and inner selves to.  Monitor the influences we expose ourselves to; He says pay close attention to…

“… mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary….”

We are His temple…

Ezekiel 43:1-12

Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. 3 It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I [fn1] came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

6 Then I heard Him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. 7 And He said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. 8 When they set their threshold by My threshold, and their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore I have consumed them in My anger. 9 Now let them put their harlotry and the carcasses of their kings far away from Me, and I will dwell in their midst forever.

10 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them. 12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=43&v=1&t=NKJVP>

This temple has yet to be built.  Note the statement:

 “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them.”

Some translate it to mean, consider it, take a measure of it, take it all in then decide.  The physical temple in this vision has yet to be built, if ever.  It is a proposition to His people.  When we look around us; note what we see and hear with our own ears and eyes, what do we conclude?  God’s creation has yet to turn from their evil ways, their substitutions for Him, and look to Him solely as their God.  For the believer, this temple is the imprint of the cross upon their life and being. We are his temple, and his glory fills us from the head to the foot.

“…1Corinthians 3:16  Do you not know that you are the temple of God and [that] the Spirit of God dwells in you?…”

…And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east….”

The east corresponds to the head of the cross and our head, our mind.  He abides with us and within us.  We know him, we are renewed and changed through the immersion in the blood of Christ when we come to the cross and accept what he has done for us.

“…Roman 12:1 and 2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God….”

We forsake all other beliefs, all other manner of thinking and hold to Him only.  There is no room left for any other when His glory fills the temple.  It is complete.

God of order and peace…salvation

Ezekiel 41:5-12

Next, he measured the wall of the temple, six cubits. The width of each side chamber all around the temple was four cubits on every side. 6 The side chambers were in three stories, one above the other, thirty chambers in each story; they rested on ledges which were for the side chambers all around, that they might be supported, but not fastened to the wall of the temple. 7 As one went up from story to story, the side chambers became wider all around, because their supporting ledges in the wall of the temple ascended like steps; therefore the width of the structure increased as one went up from the lowest story to the highest by way of the middle one. 8 I also saw an elevation all around the temple; it was the foundation of the side chambers, a full rod, that is, six cubits high. 9 The thickness of the outer wall of the side chambers was five cubits, and so also the remaining terrace by the place of the side chambers of the temple. 10 And between it and the wall chambers was a width of twenty cubits all around the temple on every side. 11 The doors of the side chambers opened on the terrace, one door toward the north and another toward the south; and the width of the terrace was five cubits all around.

12 The building that faced the separating courtyard at its western end was seventy cubits wide; the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=41&v=1&t=NKJVP>

This speaks of a God of order and not confusion; a God of balance;  a God of support.  This temple, not yet built of man’s hands stands in Ezekiel as a reminder that there is and always will be a place to worship; a place where God can inhabit the praises of His people.  It is said that  God does not have need of a temple, a physical place;

“…2Chronicles 2:6  But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who [am] I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him?…”

Humanity has built temples for several reasons among them the need to have a physical place dedicated and consecrated for worship, a place that has been built in honor of the name of God, a place built following the instructions of God for His purposes.

“…2Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate [it] to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This [is an ordinance] forever to Israel….”

“…Hebrews 9:1 and 2 Then indeed, even the first [covenant] had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.
 – For a tabernacle was prepared: the first [part], in which [was] the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;…”

Many rooms, lots of space, all in order and having balance.  When our lives are out of balance and full of confusion we do not have peace.  Can we sense the peace of this place, a peace on the inside?

Moreover we have the present promise of a temple not made with hands:

“..Hebrews 9:11 – 14 But Christ came [as] High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation
 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?…”

Blessed be the name of the Lord…we are His temple, He resides within us and all because Christ went to the cross for us as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins!

The imprint of the cross reflected…

Ezekiel 40:28-37

Then he brought me to the inner court through the southern gateway; he measured the southern gateway according to these same measurements. 29 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 30 There were archways all around, twenty-five cubits long and five cubits wide. 31 Its archways faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts, and going up to it were eight steps.

32 And he brought me into the inner court facing east; he measured the gateway according to these same measurements. 33 Also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways were according to these same measurements; and there were windows in it and in its archways all around; it was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. 34 Its archways faced the outer court, and palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side; and going up to it were eight steps.

35 Then he brought me to the north gateway and measured it according to these same measurements— 36 also its gate chambers, its gateposts, and its archways. It had windows all around; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 37 Its gateposts faced the outer court, palm trees were on its gateposts on this side and on that side, and going up to it were eight steps.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=40&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Some differences between the outer court and inner court gateways can be noted.  One, the inner court is not as expansive as the outer court.  This brings to mind the statement by Jesus that broad is the way and narrow is the way.  Not quite a fit here for He used it to tell about the way to destruction vs the way to life.  However, we can use it to point to the evidence that of believers there are many who simply come to the cross and progress no further.  There are a few who, like Paul, press on for the prize; these who will receive a crown.   The space taken up by the inner court is less than that taken up by the outer court.  The number of steps is increased, perhaps requiring more effort.  What stands out is that the inner court reflects the outer court in the shape of the cross.  The imprint of Christ on the temple yet to be seen.  May His imprint be upon our temples as well.

We are His temple…

Ezekiel 40:20-27

On the outer court was also a gateway facing north, and he measured its length and its width. 21 Its gate chambers, three on this side and three on that side, its gateposts and its archways, had the same measurements as the first gate; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 22 Its windows and those of its archways, and also its palm trees, had the same measurements as the gateway facing east; it was ascended by seven steps, and its archway was in front of it. 23 A gate of the inner court was opposite the northern gateway, just as the eastern gateway; and he measured from gateway to gateway, one hundred cubits.

After that he brought me toward the south, and there a gateway was facing south; and he measured its gateposts and archways according to these same measurements. 25 There were windows in it and in its archways all around like those windows; its length was fifty cubits and its width twenty-five cubits. 26 Seven steps led up to it, and its archway was in front of them; and it had palm trees on its gateposts, one on this side and one on that side. 27 There was also a gateway on the inner court, facing south; and he measured from gateway to gateway toward the south, one hundred cubits.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=40&v=1&t=NKJVP>

 

Describing the temple with its gateways and courts gives an image of Christ on the cross.  We are told

our bodies are temples.

“…1 Corinthians  6:19   What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?…”

If we extend  our arms outward to the sides and we form a cross.  Our sins crucified Christ on the cross.

“…1 Peter 2:24  who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed….”

By accepting that sacrifice we become a temple of the Holy One.  Ezekiel sees this temple and it bears the imprint of the cross long before Christ came.  We are proof Christ  came as promised for he lives in each believer.

“…1 John  3:24  Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us….”

The gateways are at the head and the hands; the north, and south are the hands; the east is the head. These are  entries to the temple. The word of God enters through our mind and with our mouth we confess him to others.  Our hands are out-stretched in welcome and love; receiving what He has done for us.  They extend his message to others through service and caring.  May we ever be expressive temples of God’s love to all humanity!  Blessed be the name of the Lord.