Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 21:13 – And [Jesus] said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" (NKJV)
Jesus quoted this prophetic Scripture from Isaiah 56:7 as He went into the temple following His palm-strewn entry into Jerusalem the day before. The religious leaders were alarmed by His show of authority as He forcefully overturned the tables of the traders and money changers. Jesus cleansed the temple because sinful activities interfered with worship.
Once this action of cleansing was carried out, meaningful ministry could take place. The next verse reads:
Matthew 21:14 – Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. (NKJV)
Similarly, during the preparations for our performance at a special Sunday morning service by my 40-voice second-grade choir, I could sense a high-spirited attitude developing on the part of the children. I thought to myself, They are excited to get to go into the "big" church. As we filed into the sanctuary and began lining up on the platform, I saw one young lad swinging on the colourful banner that graced the pulpit. At this point, I decided to use this occasion to admonish the youngster and the choir regarding the need of reverence in God's house by showing respect for the pulpit and its furnishings. After that "cleansing" episode, the choir settled down and began singing beautiful musical melodies of worship from the hearts of children who truly loved the Lord.
As children of God, we have a responsibility to build an altar in our hearts to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? (NIV)
1 Peter 2:5 – You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NIV)
In a spirit of contrition, we take our sins, sorrows, faults, and failings to God at the altar, allowing God's fire to consume them.
As we call on the Lord, discussing our requests and desires with Him, and seeking His face concerning them, our hearts are cleansed.
Psalm 24:3-4a – Who can go up to the temple on the hill of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? Anyone who has clean hands and a pure heart. (NIRV)
Consider this: Do we need to have our hearts cleansed of attitudes or actions that are coming between us and God?
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, the God of peace, we present ourselves as altars of worship. Sanctify us through and through. May our whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask this in the precious name of Christ our Lord. Amen.