Ezekiel 44:9 Restricted Entry

Restricted area

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: No foreigner uncircumcised in heart and flesh is to enter my sanctuary, not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites. Ezekiel 44:9 

All over the world there are places that people have set up that have restrictions as to who is allowed to enter. Nearly every business has places within it where the majority of people are blocked from entering the area. The location is only allowed for those who work there or have special permission to enter, everyone is blocked from it.

Often the block is due to protection for the company and for the outsider. Some places require special equipment to enter. Other places have information in that is not to be released to just anyone.

God had just shown Ezekiel a vision of the restored temple. He then tells Ezekiel that no outsider is allowed into the temple.

The temple was the holy dwelling place for God to be among the people. In order for one to enter, he had to be purified and be a true follower of God. No one else was allowed to enter.

Since the time of Ezekiel, God has set up His temple in the hearts of believers. God is still telling people that no outsider is allowed to enter His temple.

Instead of just being physical beings entering, today it is false idols, greed, pride, anger, and sin that are to be not allowed to enter. People allow these things into their hearts and lives. When sin is allowed into the heart, one is pushing God off of His throne in the heart, which is His temple, His dwelling place.

The heart is the dwelling place for God, and nothing else should be allowed in that place. Nothing spiritual, physical or emotional should be allowed into the heart that does not honor God. The heart belongs to God and to God alone.

Take a moment to examine what is allowed into your heart. Think about what things you allow your heart to follow and hold on to. Are these things the things of God? Or are they the things of this world?

When you became a follower of Jesus, He gave you a new heart, because your heart became God’s dwelling place, a holy temple. Keep it pure and holy for God to dwell in. Do not allow sin or this world to move God off of His throne in your heart. Restrict access to your heart to God alone.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will give your entire life to God; that you will allow God to reign in your heart and life; and that you will serve God alone.

Ezekiel 10:18 God’s Glory Departs

Pink flowers

Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim. Ezekiel 10:18 

Over the years there have been companies or people who have been lifted up as great. They were seen as person or company that did great things for the people and had very high standards, only to be found out to have been corrupt in some area.

Once the corruption was discovered, often the company or person crumbled in their glory and honor. People struggled to look at them as the same, because of the black spot in their history.

Inside the inner room of the temple sat the Holy of Holies. It was the place that God’s Spirit would dwell and His glory would rest upon this earth. The Israelites had chosen to worship other gods and reject God. As a result God’s Spirit chose to move away from the temple. Ezekiel gets a vision of God’s glory departing the temple, God’s dwelling place.

There is no longer the physical temple, nor the Holy of Holies for a single place for God to dwell in. God now dwells within the heart of the believer. The believer’s heart is now the temple of God.

When the believer is repentant and striving after following Jesus with all of his heart, God is willing to dwell there and make it His Holy Temple dwelling place. The believing heart of the believer is now the temple of God.

However, there are often believers who have openly refused to obey God’s commands and purposefully live in a sinful way. They choose to do things that are expressly forbidden by God in the bible.

When they live like this, God can no longer dwell in that temple. He must depart because of unrepentant sin. His glory will leave, just as it left the physical temple.

God wants to make your heart His dwelling place, the new temple. In order to dwell there it must be made pure and holy. This is done only by believing in Jesus and repenting of all sin. It is turning away from sin and refusing to purposefully walk in sin in disobedience to God’s word.

If you choose to live as the world does and not repent and not become a new creation, God can no longer dwell within your heart. He must leave, because He cannot be around sin.

It is your choice as to whether God dwells within you or not. What are you allowing in your life?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will repent before God of all sin; that you will accept God’s strength to turn away from sin; and that your heart will be the holy temple that God can dwell in. 

Nehemiah 10:39 Don’t Neglect God’s House

Cypress Agios

The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil to the storerooms, where the articles for the sanctuary and for the ministering priests, the gatekeeper and the musicians are also kept. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” Nehemiah 10:39 

Buildings are often neglected, especially when they get older. Little things start to go wrong and they are ignored. Large problems occur and people move out. They don’t want to deal with the problems and so they abandon the place and neglect its needed care.

This can happen because one believes it is someone else’s responsibility or they don’t want to take the time or resources to maintain the building. They ignore the problems, until it is too late and the building is condemned.

As the Israelites were rebuilding the temple and Jerusalem, they took an oath to not  neglect the house of God, the temple. They took an oath to bring in all the required tithes and offerings throughout the year.

While there is a physical church building today, there is still a house of God that is even greater than the building. Each and every believer is a temple of God and all believers together make up the house of God. While people often take care of the physical church building, many will neglect the house of God in themselves or in others.

They don’t take time to study His word, or pray, or be filled with His Holy Spirit and presence. They reject what God has to tell them in search for personal pleasure. They choose to not take time to have a relationship with God.

The people had to bring in: the grain, this is God’s word to feed a believer; the wine, this is the new covenant of salvation brought about by Jesus; and the olive oil, this is the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

As a believer, you must have these things in your life. Your body is now a temple of God and must be cared for. Having these things in your life, will ensure that all is taken care of in your spiritual body, the temple of God.

Don’t neglect your spiritual body, or it will fall into ruin and bring about a spiritual death. God wants you to have life to the fullest. Accept what He has for you and don’t neglect it.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that you will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit; that you will have a hunger to be fed with God’s word; and that you will not neglect God’s temple in your life or in others. 

Ezra 4:4 Opposition Will Happen

Fire and water

Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. Ezra 4:4 

Doing something great will often have some great challenges to make happen. Beyond just the challenges of knowing how to do something great is the opposition that can occur.

Men and woman who are striving to do something great are often told that they are crazy and should not try to do it. The reason they are told that they are crazy and shouldn’t do it is for several reasons. Sometimes it is so different that others think it cannot really be done, and one should not waste it time trying. Other times it is out of fear of it actually working and getting done.

The Israelites had been put into captivity in Persia, yet, were given direct permission from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple to God. As they had begun to do the work, the people around them worked hard to stop them. They tried to discourage them from finishing the work that they had started to do.

Fear of Christians accomplishing something is still around to this day. The world is an enemy to Jesus and does not want Him or His followers to ever accomplish anything. The thing that believers do is following and obeying God. They are working to build God’s kingdom here on this earth.

Any time a believer is doing God’s will, Satan and this world will rise up in opposition. He does not want the believer to be successful, because it means it will be his downfall. The world does not want it, because they can feel God’s judgement upon their lives in seeing the lives of believers.

God has or will call you to do something for His kingdom. It may be building a new temple or it may just be a simple thing of telling someone about Jesus. Either way it is doing something for Him.

As soon as you begin to do what God has asked of you, the world will begin to attempt to discourage you and stop you. They may say it is a waste of time and that it won’t work with just words. Or they may be physically violent against you.

Do not be surprised. There was opposition to the Israelites and against Jesus. You will receive opposition. Stay true to God and do what He has given you to do. Don’t be discouraged, God is with you.

I pray today that you will know the mission God has for you; that you will not be discouraged; that you will stay true to God; that God will give you strength to do His work; and that you be His witness.