Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21- Power and Permanence

July 21, 2011

Scripture Readings:
2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Romans 7:1-13;
Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23

2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11

If you have ever been camping, you know that one aspect of the experience is that you have to put up and then take down the structure that you are occupying.  You have the ability to move the entire campsite, if you decide that you don't like where you are.  Adjustments can be made to put you under a group of trees, or closer to the shower facilities, or next to the rushing river.  There are benefits to this type of impermanence, but there are also drawbacks.  It is hard to live in a structure that does not have a firm foundation.  Wandering around without owning the land where you live gets old after a while.  As Solomon completes God's Temple in Jerusalem, the period of God wandering and camping in the wilderness in His Tabernacle is over.  It is with a firm foundation that God occupies His Temple.

The Temple had many of the same symbolic articles and utensils that were in the Tabernacle.  Things were larger and more multiplied in the Temple.  There was the addition of  two gigantic bronze pillars decorated with pomegranates in chains.  These pillars symbolized the strength, beauty, and permanence of God's Kingdom.  These decorations symbolized the fruitfulness that results from the unity of the righteous ones who love God. We are bound together in Him. Where the Tabernacle was a picture of Christ, including the Ark of the Covenant that contained the manna, Aaron's budding rod, and the Law, the Temple was a picture of God's Kingdom.  We see that in the permanent Temple, the Ark was brought in and placed between the giant cherubims, but the Ark only contained the stone tablets of God's Law.

You may remember that the manna represented Christ, who is our Bread of Life.  The budding rod represented new life found in the resurrection of Christ.  Why are these two items gone from the Temple?  Because the Tabernacle was a picture of Jesus and these items were necessary to show the work that Christ would accomplish.  The Temple represents God's Kingdom on earth, with Christ as the king.  His death and resurrection are complete.  They are no longer necessary in the picture.  The Word of God is still there because the Word of God never ends. The Word of God is God's personality.  Jesus is filled with God's Word.  Jesus will also personally fulfill God's promises to the nation of Israel.

Now, the Temple shows us that the day of the wandering Tabernacle is over.  Christ has been in the wilderness and has defeated Satan with His death on the cross.  We can now rest, just as the Ark rests in the Temple of God, from our work of trying to please God.  Christ's work is complete and His work causes our rest.  We rest because He worked for us in His death and resurrection.

Just as the Ark is resting in the Temple, Jesus is permanently enthroned on His throne in God's Kingdom.  Jesus says in John 14:2-3 that He would go and prepare a place for us.  This Temple is a picture of that promise.  In this place of permanence, we will no longer be wandering in the wilderness.  We will be in God's mansion, where He will wipe away every tear.  In this place, there will be no death or sorrow, no crying or pain. This is because all of the former things will be wiped away (Revelations 21:4).  Just as Solomon has the 120 trumpeters blast to signal the celebration of the dedication of the Temple, we, too, will celebrate as we hear the trumpets of judgment blare forth when God comes to make all things right in the end.

Solomon's dedication prayer is a reminder that God is true to His promises.  The people of Israel will live with their God in Jerusalem, one day.  God will unite both Jew and Gentile in His Kingdom.  God will dwell with His people in the land, permanently, and with power.

Are you going to be part of this beautiful reality in the future?  Faith in Jesus secures your position in paradise.

Romans 7:1-13

Today, we see Paul referring to the Law.  Just as the Law was still in the Ark of God when the Ark was brought into the Temple, Jesus contains the Law within Himself, because He is the fulfillment of the Law.  God's Law never fades away, it is simply fulfilled through Christ. But what does that Law mean for you and me as believers? 

Paul explains that the Law serves its purpose in showing us that we are sinners.  Paul describes the Law as prompting him to sin even more as he hears the rules.  Picture a child not wanting to eat something until you tell the child that they cannot eat that item.  If you tell them they can't eat it, they immediately want to eat that forbidden item.  This is how the Law acts within us.  The Law produces the desire to sin within us.

Because we are told not to do something, our sin nature draws us to want to do it.  Paul explains in Verses 4-6 that Christ's death breaks the hold that the Law has on us.  Through Christ, we can now produce good fruit (picture the pomegranates) in our lives through good deeds.  Hallelujah.

As we see the pictures of God's truths, we can rest in the fact that the tablets of the Law are in the Ark, which is resting in God's Temple.  This means that you and I do not have to defeat sin through our own efforts and we do not have to die eternally.  We are able to rest in the work that Christ did by fulfilling the Law for us.  God's Word and His truths will live forever fulfilled in His Kingdom.  We can be sanctified to good works through resting in what Christ did for us.

Are you at rest in your soul?  Christ died so that you can become a fruitful person who glorifies God with your life.

Psalm 17:1-15

Listen to the cries of David...guard me, hide me, protect me, arise, stand against them, rescue me, and save me.  This is a man who understands the power and permanence of God. This is also the voice of Jesus Christ as he humbled himself and became a human, relying on God in his flesh.

Proverbs 19:22-23

The fear of the Lord is where you get safety and protection.

What did you notice today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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