Devotion give at The Poughkeepsie SDA School’s Week Of Prayer
April 9, 2019
I love to travel and I love to help people. For many years, I used to go on mission trips to different places around the world with the group called Maranatha Volunteers. This group builds churches and schools for different communities in different countries, and had been doing so for over 45 years. They believe that they can build the kingdom of God and build communities by constructing urgently needed schools and churches, and they are doing just that.
In the Bible, we see the same thing. In the Book of Ezra, a King by the name of Cyrus made a decree: do you know what a decree is? It is an official order or law given by someone in authority. King Cyrus made this official law saying that the Israelites could rebuild their temple that was destroyed. Let’s read it in The Bible:
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Verse 2: Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Verse 3: Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
What things needs to rebuilt? It’s usually things that are broken down right? Here, God’s church was broken down and it had to be rebuilt. Let’s find out why God’s House was destroyed.
In Exodus 25:8, God told Moses to build him a sanctuary (or the temple) that He may live in, and God also described how He wanted His House: He described how many rooms it needed to have, what materials to use in the construction of it, and who to use to build the furniture for it. That first temple was a portable one; it could be taken down and set up in different places as the Israelites traveled. But when they finally settled in the land that God wanted them to live in, they built a permanent building for Him.
King Solomon with the help of many Israelites built the permanent temple, and for many years, the people worshiped and brought their sacrifices to the temple, until years later, the disobedience of the people caught up to them. A King named Nebuchadnezzar and his army came and destroyed Jerusalem and burned down the temple, God’s House. In the Book named ‘Prophets and Kings’, it says
“Jerusalem was to be laid waste and burned with fire, the temple that Solomon had built was to be destroyed, and the kingdom of Judah was to fall, never again to occupy its former position among the nations of earth” (PK422-Chpt 35).
Yes, Jerusalem was burnt with fire and their temple was destroyed. They were heartbroken. Many of them were taken to a foreign land named Babylon, but, a few years later, King Cyrus (whom we read about in our scripture reading) gave the decree for the temple to be rebuilt, and so it was.
Besides this physical temple that God wants to live in, can you think of another temple that God wants to live in? Yes, it’s your body: your body is the temple of God too (1 Corinthians 3:16) and it’s under construction! It needs to be built up! Just like the Israelites in the Book of Ezra got materials for the temple to be rebuilt, we need materials for our temples to be rebuilt. What do we need? We need food, water, we need clothing, we need spiritual food (God’s word) and we need Jesus living in us.
But, there comes a time when the temples in the Bible and here right now were not under construction anymore; but were completed. So too, there must come a time we are not under construction anymore, but we must be completed. Jesus does the work of completion in all of us. When you spend time with Jesus: praying to Him, reading about Him in His word and sharing Him with others; your spiritual body becomes stronger and wiser. You will love to help others, you will love to spend more time with Jesus and you will want to do even more for Him.
In this construction time, you must also avoid those things that break down your temples. What are some of those things: being unkind to others, not spending time in prayer and studying the Bible, staying up late at nights, not getting enough sleep, eating unhealthy foods and so many other examples. Your bodies need special care and need to be protected. Jesus wants to live in you, so you must do your part to keep His house, your body, clean and beautiful.
If you do not know how to build up your body temples, your parents and teachers are here to help you. Just ask. Jesus wants to look at each one of you and proclaim that YOU are His temple, so remember to do those things that will make Him happy to live in you.
Let’s review what we have learned today:
- In the Bible we read God’s temple was destroyed and a king named Cyrus gave an official law for the people to rebuild the temple.
- Just like God had a home or temple on earth (we call it the church), God also calls our body His temple.
- Just like God’s temple needed to be built and was under construction for some time, we need to be built up and we are under construction too.
- If we spend time with Jesus and study and share His words with others, He will continue to build us for His Kingdom.
- We need to do our part to keep Jesus’s temple (our bodies) healthy and clean for Him to live in.
- And finally if you don’t know how to build up your body temples or how to read the Bible or pray, ask your teachers and family members who love you and want to see you grow up to be a beautiful building for God.