Mrs. Jo Beth Hooker
In this section, I want to review and summarize what I have stated for the most part in parts I and II, with an additional and particular emphasis on unconditional and sacrificial love. In review, let’s remember:
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established. Pro. 24:3 and to read and Heed:Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 24; Ezekiel 40-43.
I have always been amazed by the detail that God required in the building of the Old Testament temple. Every time I have purposed to study those intricate building details found in Ezekiel chapters 40-43 I can’t help but marvel at them. Yet, how many times have I walked away wondering why those details were so important to God? Sometimes I would even skip over them in my reading as though they were non-essential all the while knowing that everything written in Scripture is for our profit. Then one day as I was reading, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and revelation came - ohhh! Our bodies are now God’s temple. Of course! And, we know that God DOES NOT change! Therefore, what He would have required in the building of the Old Testament temple to make it a sacred, beautiful, God-honoring place of worship He would still desire today in His new temples- our bodies! I Corinthians 3:16 says, Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that He dwelleth in you? I Corinthians 6:19 reads, 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? How could I have been so blind? Why wouldn’t my God want the same thing from me? My body, which is HIS TEMPLE, should be a place in which God can dwell, a place that brings honor and glory to His name- a sacred, beautiful, temple where He can be worshiped all the time.
God is interested in designing and building today’s temples too! Our homes are not only the place of building, training, and perfecting God’s design in us, they are the place where we build little temples to become great temples of God for His praise. If we would build the right kind of temples, then it would behoove us parents to follow God’s own example in building. What better way to build than by allowing the Master Builder Himself to show us what matters in the creation of His temple? What better pattern than God’s could we follow? Truly, what greater demise could Satan procure than the destruction of the temple? Or, to turn it into a place of worship for himself? It is no accident that anything associated with demonic activity always manifests itself in some form of bodily destruction (ie., self-mutilation, tattoos, piercings, drugs, alcohol, etc.). We are a walking, talking, living, breathing movement that either brings honor to God or dishonor by what we do, where we go, what we say- how we represent Him with our bodies! The right kind of temple is important!
Thou son of man, show the house to the house of Israel…let them measure the pattern…all the ordinances…all the laws…all the forms…and write it in their sight…and do them. This is the law of the house…Ezekiel 43:10-12
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works…Titus 2:5
Obviously, God has a plan! What can we learn about God and His desires from His own plans?
1. God, the Visionary.He instituted a design he wants followed. (40: 2-4) …Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee…We must set our heart on what He shows us!
2. God, the Engineer.Every measurement is important. Crooked buildings end in ruin and decay. (40: 5-20) …And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad…We must teach our children God’s commandments, God’s Word.
3. God, the Perfectionist.Precision is the key to excellence. (40: 21-26) And the little chambers thereof were three on this side and three on that side…And their windows, and their arches, and their palm trees, were after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the east; and they went up unto it by seven steps…If we are going to do something, do it right. Knowing God’s Word, following the principles and the plans are vital to building a solid structure.
4. God, the Artist/Fashion Designer.Intricate details add both beauty and meaning to the design. (41:18-20) And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces; So that the face of a man was toward the palm treeon the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about. From the ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on the wall of the temple. The temple represents the Lord Himself! The palm tree signifies Good, the affection of Good and the consequent delight that comes from Good; it also signifies Wisdom which comes from Good. Cherubs denote the Providence of the Lord, thus from Him comes all things. The overlaying of the cherubims and palm trees with gold signifies Love that reigns universally in the heavens. Thus, man looks at the Good, at the palm trees, and sees the Lion of Judah Who embodies all that is Good, Lovely, Providential, and Wise that He has for man. Put God’s Word on your walls! Honor Him in your house. Put reminders of Him everywhere you go.
5. God, the Architect. Plans are worthless if they have no purpose. God has a reason for all that He does. (41:25, 26)) …and there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without. And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks.Strong, sturdy planks means the house will hold up under stress. Their purpose was to cover, shade and protect. The narrow windows were there to allow the occupant to see out and Light in, but narrowed to keep the enemy from having easy access. Standards protect!
Now let’s look at the most powerful lesson we can possibly learn:
6. God, the Financier. He counted the cost. The altar of wood was three cubits high…This is the table that is before the Lord. Jesus sacrificed all He had; He gave us the pattern for success. By fashioning a temple, He gave us a memorial by which to remind us that sacrifice, the evidence of True Love, has always been and always will be the driving force behind a house that stands. (41:22)
Matthew 22:37-40, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. What we do for God shows Him we love Him. What we do out of love for others reveals God to them. It is not about adhering to a set of rules we HAVE to live by, but rather an attitude of the heart by which to LOVE others. Love conquers evil!. Overome evil with goodthe Bible says in
There are five ways to grow in love. Five ways in which to grow our children, biological and spiritual. Five ways to grow ourselves. Five ways on which to build our temple.
1. Natural Love: All of us are given a capacity to love from the day of our birth. Because God is love then He imparts to us as His creation the same ability to love as He loves. From natural love we are to grow. The next step is:
2. Reciprocal Love: As we grow, our parents, teachers and caregivers teach us how to love by putting us in positions to learn to give and grow. We are taught to return love when it is given to us. We are taught to give love by doing things for others, caring for an animal, giving hugs and kisses to family members from an early. We learn by experience that when we give our love to others that it generally is returned and it makes us happy to give our love away. However, this kind of love is wonderful in teaching and training a child how to love others, but if we never grow past it, then we remain in a selfish, childish mode of love that soon begins to give only when it is returned and ceases to give when it isn’t returned the way it is needed. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (I Corinthians 13:11).From reciprocal we need to grow in greater love. The next step is:
3. Greater Love: This is a love born out of both duty and sacrifice. It is the love by which Christ demonstrated His love for us. It is a love that is willing to sacrifice for a cause higher than itself. It is the love of a military man for his country, a mother for a handicap child, a child for a parent with Altzheimers, etc. However, greater love with Scriptural love can grow weary in giving and in time can fall prey to self-pity and self-righteousness, neither of which would glorify God. Greater love is a great place to be, but we need to add to greater love Scriptural love.
4. Scriptural Love: This is I Corinthians 13 in action. It is charitable love, the kind of love that is willing to give of itself unconditionally and sacrificially with no expectations in return. It is God's love working in us and through us to all of mankind. According to verses 1-3, I can be the greatest example of Christianity the world has ever seen in works, but if I don't have charitable love, I am nothing! I have no right to expect others to love me unconditionally if I am not first willing to love others unconditionally. Every marriage would make it if we just learned how to love as God loves! This is a wonderful place to remain but God still want us to grow from here. The next step is supernatural love. We are not truly loving as God loves until we can love our enemies.
5. Supernatural Love: This is Matthew 5:44-45 Love. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven... We will never accomplish this in our flesh but we can accomplish this through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are willing to yield ourselves to God, we can not only do the impossible but we can see the impossible done for us. God says we will "reap what we sow." That being true, then it is possible for a dead relationship to be resurrected, or an estranged relationship to be renewed. God is a miracle- working God and when we are willing to submit ourselves to His methods and His ways, we can see miracles happen too.
Let's take the challenge in this upcoming year of building our temples, our homes, our churches, our marriages, our futures wholly on God's Word by using God's plans for our lives. God bless!