The Presence

Day 38

Prayer for the day

All your works praise you, O LORD, and your faithful servants bless you. They make known the glory of your kingdom and speak of your power.

Scripture for the day

Leviticus 1-3, Matthew 24:1-28

The tabernacle and later, the temple, were the places where the presence of God was particularly clear. It’s not as though God HAD to live at a certain place. He is God after all. But the tabernacle (the tent of meeting) and the temple were the places where the people could envision and experience the presence of God in a very special way.

From the tent of meeting, God gives Moses specific instructions about how the sacrifices in the tabernacle are to be carried out. There are specifics regarding what kind of flour to use, what to do with the animals and their innards, blood, fat, and bone. The worship of God in Israel is a very specific and regimented thing.

How strange if they could have peered into the future and seen Jesus speaking with his disciples about the destruction of the house of God in Israel!

Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple (in 70 AD) in graphic detail for his disciples to let them know what God has foreseen. He tells them that the end is coming, not only of the way they worship but of everything that they know. That this does eventually come to pass is little comfort for the disciples and all Israel.

What are we to make of a God who would have the people create a symbol of His presence among them only to have it destroyed, and not just once, but many times? Is God this capricious? Or is something else going on?

What if God is not a capricious god, but a wise god? What if the inevitable destruction of the worship/sacrificial system and the tabernacle/temple has little to do with God’s divine whims and more to do with HIs knowledge of our tendency to forget the one who the temple is designed to worship and to worship the temple itself? What if the destruction of the tabernacle, the temple, and the system itself was paving the way for a new temple, a place within the hearts and lives of the people of God?

What if the destruction was a gift of God to alleviate an enormous temptation? What if God continues to gift us by tearing down our idols?

What then?

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