The House

Day 32

Prayer for the day

Come, let us sing to the Lord; . . . For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Scripture for the day

Exodus 27-28, Matthew 21:1-22

Have you ever been somewhere that just screamed “God”? Somewhere where the air was thick with holiness, with otherness, with that special quality that made you want to fall down and admit what a great God God really is? Maybe it’s out in the mountains? Maybe it’s looking at the ocean. Maybe it’s staring up at the roof of a cathedral, or down at a river in a deep canyon. Wherever that is, it’s a place of grace, a place f connection to God that may or may not be unique to you.

It’s hard to think of places as special when we learn from a young age that God is everywhere and you can meet God anywhere. In the First Testament, God gives very specific commands to Moses regarding the building of the Tabernacle. These instructions may seem to us now extravagant and unnecessary. To the Israelites they would have been almost unbelievable. The incredible amount of gold, precious metals, costly materials, and the like, would have been nearly unthinkable. Yet God commands them to do this. Why? Is God planning to impoverish the people? Is God desirous of financial ruin?

There are a few reasons God would ask this of His people, and they connect together. First, God asks it because God recognizes His worth, and what it takes for people to recognize that worth. People need a physical reminder of the grandeur of God sometimes. Secondly, though, God needs to regularly remind the people that their future does not lay in their own wealth, but in the gracious gift of the God they worship. In fact, most of the riches used in the making of the tabernacle would likely have come from the Egyptians in the first place, the ones the Israelites “looted.”

Jesus talks about a different kind of grandeur when he discusses the temple in Matthew. He says that God’s house was to be called a house of prayer. What do finery and prayer have to do with each other? Both recognize that the God to whom we pray is the God worthy of being prayed to. This is the God who deserves all praise, not only because He is great, but because he will listen, He will answer, and He will accomplish His purposes in and for His people.

We may not have fancy churches today, but we do our best to ensure that the people of God continually recognize their reliance on their God, and on His extravagance toward His people.

Can we love as extravagantly as He gives?

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2 thoughts on “The House

  1. My knee jerk reaction to the extravagant churches that I do see in our modern context has never been a good one. It’s just never really say well with me. But I suppose that’s partly because I don’t think of it in this situation. I don’t spend the time to maybe see what’s going on in the hearts an mindsets of the people who have built them. My first thought is always “they could have used all the boat loads of money that was used to build this on something more worthwhile, like helping people”. Maybe it’s not all bad to scrutinize and think hard about that kind of thing, but what this passage sort of pointed out to me is that if it is for God, he is deserving of it all. I guess I’m just always scared of crossing the line of building up something extravagant for God and building up something extravagant that points to how awesome “we” are.

  2. I totally get the tension, Asher. I feel conflicted about how we use our money and why, particularly when we’re looking at some form of building project at the church building. The question of stewardship and the tension it creates is not an easy problem, but i’m glad it causes you concern šŸ™‚

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