Have you made the most important decision of your life yet? Have you decided to follow Him all the days of your life? Have demonstrated to others publicly through baptism? Have you ask Jesus into your heart?
Do you realize the impact of the decision? Do you realize what happens? Do you realize what your body becomes? 1 Corinthians 6 tells us:
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.
So how are you living? Are others able to see the transformed you? Are you shining the light of Jesus to the world around you? Are you spicing up the world around you by being salt? Are you living to make a difference not just on Sundays but everyday in the situations God has positioned and placed you into? Will you take care of God’s temple – the temple of the Holy Spirit so that the price paid by Jesus when He gave it all on the cross will be praised and glorified and exalted high?
If not now then when? If not here then where? If not you then who? If not you then what?
Today’s reading speaks of the old temple, the one built by Solomon…
Adonai Has Chosen Jerusalem
1Then Solomon declared, “Adonai has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud; 2I have built You a magnificent House and a place for You to dwell forever.” 3Then, while all the congregation of Israel was standing the king turned his face and blessed the whole congregation of Israel. 4He said: “Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, who with His hands has fulfilled what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying: 5‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a House that My Name might be there. Nor did I choose any man to be a leader over My people Israel. 6But I have chosen Jerusalem that My Name would abide there and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ 7“Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a House for the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel. 8But Adonai said to David my father: ‘As for you wanting in your heart to build a House for My Name, you did well that this was in your heart. 9Nevertheless, you will not build the House. Rather your son who will be born to you, he will build the House for My Name.’ 10“Now Adonai has confirmed His promise that He spoke. I have succeeded my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, just as Adonai promised, and I have built the House for the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel. 11There have I set the Ark in which is the Covenant of Adonai that He made with Bnei-Yisrael.”
12Then he stood before the altar of Adonai in front of the entire congregation of Israel and spread forth his hands. 13For Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high and placed it in the midst of the court. He stood on it and knelt down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven 14and he said, “Adonai, God of Israel, there is no God like You in the heavens or in the earth, keeping covenant and showing mercy to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart. 15You have kept the promise You made to Your servant David, my father. Surely you spoke with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand—as it is today. 16“Now therefore, Adonai, God of Israel, keep for Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him saying: ‘For you will never be cut off, you will not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne—if only your sons pay attention to their way, to walk in My Torah as you have walked before Me.’ 17“Now therefore, Adonai God of Israel, let Your word, which You spoke to Your servant David, be confirmed. 18“But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold—heaven even the highest heaven—cannot contain You. How much less this House that I have built! 19Yet attend to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, Adonai my God, to hear the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You 20that Your eyes may be open toward this House day and night, toward the place where You have said You would put Your Name there, to listen to the prayer which Your servant will pray toward this place. 21Hear the supplications of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven, and when You hear, forgive. 22“If a man sins against his neighbor and is required to swear an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this House, 23then hear from heaven and act. Judge Your servants, repaying the wicked by bringing down on his own head what he has done and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 24“If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, yet when they return and confess Your Name, praying and making supplication before You in this House, 25then hear from heaven, forgive the sin of Your people Israel and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and to their fathers. 26“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, if they pray toward this place and confess Your Name, turning from their sin because You afflicted them, 27then may You hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel. Indeed may You teach them the good way in which they should walk. Send rain upon Your land that You have given to Your people for an inheritance. 28“When there is famine in the land, when there is pestilence, blight, mildew, locust or grasshopper, when their enemies besiege them in the land by their gates, whatever plague or sickness may come, 29and any prayer or plea is offered by any individual or by all Your people Israel—each acknowledging his own afflictions and pain, even spreading his hands toward this House— 30then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place and forgive. May You give to every man according to all his ways, as You know his heart—for You alone know the hearts of the children of men— 31so that they will fear You and walk in Your ways all the days that they live in the land that You gave to our fathers. 32“Moreover, concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel but comes from a distant land for the sake of Your great Name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this House, 33then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place and do whatever the foreigner asks of You. Then all the peoples of the earth will acknowledge Your Name and revere You, as Your people Israel do, and they will know that this House which I have built is called by Your Name. 34“When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and they pray to You toward this city that You have chosen and the House that I have built for Your Name, 35then hear from heaven their prayer and their petition, and uphold their cause. 36When they sin against You—for there is no man that does not sin —and You become angry with them and hand them over to the enemy who takes them captive to a land far off or near, 37when they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and they repent and seek You in the land of their captivity saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed inquity, we have acted wickedly,’ 38“and they return to You with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken captive, and they pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers and the city which You have chosen and toward the House which I have built for Your Name, 39then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, their prayer and their petitions and uphold their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You. 40“Now my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open, and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. 41Now arise, Adonai Elohim, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your might. May Your kohanim, Adonai Elohim, be clothed with salvation, and may Your godly ones rejoice in goodness. 42Adonai Elohim, do not reject Your anointed one. Remember the loyalty of Your servant David.”
–from 2 Chronicles 6 (TLV)
So let’s live lives that turned towards God! Let’s live lives that are in alignment to God’s will loving God and loving people!
Have you walked away? Have you strayed? Turn back to Him! Never made a decision to follow after Jesus? Ask Him to forgive you and watch Him receive you and restore you through a process that will encourage and strengthen you. Consider the prayer of Solomon above and consider asking Jesus to move into your heart and help get it cleaned up and put a new heart in you! God can do all things! Nothing is too big for God! So let’s turn back to Him and give it up into His hands!
You can never be too far to be able to turn back to God! So turn back before it is too late because the key is a decision and it’s a decision only you can make! We are given the gift of freewill so we get a free choice to choose if we will receive and accept God’s gift or if we won’t. I pray that today you will choose to receive it and start the new life journey of walking out the rest of your life walking with Jesus through the lows, up the mountains, and on the mountain tops!
God is faithful and true! There is no darkness in Him! He is good to His Word so we can trust Him! So we can turn back to Him if we slip up or stray! We can humble ourselves and ask Him for forgiveness and He will! If we will humble ourselves, turn from our evil ways, turn to Him and pray for forgiveness, then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land!
They sacrificed a lot! They sacrificed regularly with burned offerings! Jesus paid it all once for all! So let’s be living sacrifices! So our part is that when we find ourselves far from God that we will humble ourselves, turn from our evil ways and back to Him, and pray for forgiveness! We need to be able to do this not only individually but also corporately – at work! as a country! as a neighborhood! as a city! as a state! as a province! And then God who is faithful and just will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land! And don’t we need some healing right now?
Consider God’s response to Solomon’s prayer that speaks to God’s great love…
Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret
1Now when Solomon finished praying the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Adonai filled the House. 2The kohanim could not even enter into the House of Adonai because the glory of Adonai filled the House of Adonai. 3When all Bnei-Yisrael saw the fire come down and the glory of Adonai above the House, they bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, prostrating themselves and praising Adonai, “For He is good and His mercy endures forever.” 4Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before Adonai. 5King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the House of God. 6The kohanim stood at their posts, as did the Levites with the musical instruments of Adonai that King David had made for praising Adonai—“for His mercy endures forever”—whenever David offered praise by their hand. Opposite them were the kohanim who sounded trumpets while all Israel was standing. 7Moreover, Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that was before the House of Adonai, because there he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings, since the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to contain the burnt offering, the grain offering and the fat. 8At that time, Solomon observed the feast for seven days and all Israel with him—a very great assembly from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the feast for seven days. 10On the 23rd day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that Adonai had done for David, Solomon and Israel His people.
Adonai’s Promise to Solomon
11Thus Solomon finished the House of Adonai and the king’s palace. Indeed, all that Solomon had on his heart to accomplish in the House of Adonai and in his own palace, he successfully completed. 12Then Adonai appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself for a House of sacrifice. 13If I shut up heaven that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14when My people, 0ver whom My Name is called, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16For now I have chosen and consecrated this House so that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. 17“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, doing all that I have commanded you, keeping My statutes and My ordinances, 18then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’ 19But if you turn away and forsake My decrees and My mitzvot that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will uproot them from My land which I gave them, and this House which I have consecrated for My Name I will cast out of My sight. I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21As for this House, which is so exalted, every one passing by it shall be appalled and say, ‘Why has Adonai done this to this land and to this House?’ 22And they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken Adonai, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and clung to other gods, worshipping and serving them. Therefore He has brought all this misery upon them’”
–from Chronicles 7 (TLV)
So let’s give it up to God! If He isn’t in it, then we are working in vain! If He isn’t over it, then we are watching in vain! We need to be with Him! We need to align with Him! We need to make the choice that will transform the future! We need to ask Jesus into our heart and we need to walk out our lives with Him as our closest friend! The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide! The Holy Spirit will encourage us and comfort us! So let’s step up and stand out that others may see our works and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s leave a legacy that our children can be proud of! Let’s provide them a legacy that they can follow after!
He Gives Sleep to His Children
1A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless Adonai builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless Adonai watches over the city, the watchman stands guard in vain. 2In vain you rise up early and stay up late, eating the bread of toil— for He provides for His beloved ones even in their sleep. 3Behold, children are a heritage of Adonai —the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of one’s youth. 5Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the gate.
–from Psalms 127 (TLV)
Things won’t be perfect because we live in a fallen world, however, God will help us through it! Just as Jesus was troubled and persecuted, in this world we will have troubles, but Jesus told us to take heart because He has overcome the world! Jesus also told us we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for they are doing a work in us in James 1…
2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
So as we close in Hebrews, let’s reflect on God and make sure we are ready, we are prepared to do the good work God has prepared in advance for us to do!
Perfect Pardon in the New Covenant
1The Torah has a shadow of the good things to come—not the form itself of the realities. For this reason it can never, by means of the same sacrifices they offer constantly year after year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers—cleansed once and for all—would no longer have consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins year after year— 4for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5So when Messiah comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me. 6In whole burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not delight. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I come to do Your will, O God (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me).’” 8After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire, nor did You delight in them” (those which are offered according to Torah), 9then He said, “Behold, I come to do Your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10By His will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Messiah Yeshua once for all. 11Indeed, every kohen stands day by day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12But on the other hand, when this One offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God— 13waiting from then on, until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. 14For by one offering He has perfected forever those being made holy. 15The Ruach ha-Kodesh also testifies to us—for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will cut with them: ‘After those days,’ says Adonai, ‘I will put My Torah upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write it,’” then He says, 17“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18Now where there is removal of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Let Us Pray Boldly in God’s Presence
19Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have boldness to enter into the Holies by the blood of Yeshua. 20He inaugurated a new and living way for us through the curtain—that is, His flesh. 21We also have a Kohen Gadol over God’s household. 22So let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and body washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the unwavering confession of hope, for He who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds. 25And do not neglect our own meetings, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another—and all the more so as you see the Day approaching. 26For if we keep on sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a fury of fire about to devour the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the Torah of Moses dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severe do you think the punishment will be for the one who has trampled Ben-Elohim underfoot, and has regarded as unholy the blood of the covenant by which he was made holy, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know the One who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” and again, “Adonai will judge His people.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Suffering Perfects Yeshua’s Followers
32But remember the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to abuses and afflictions, and other times you became partners with those who were treated this way. 34For you suffered along with the prisoners and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and lasting possession. 35Therefore, do not lose your boldness, which has great reward. 36For you need perseverance so that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37For yet “in a very little while, the Coming One will come, and He will not delay. 38But My righteous one shall live by emunah; and if he shrinks back, My soul takes no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not among the timid ones on the path to destruction, but among the faithful ones on the path to the preservation of the soul.
–from Hebrews 10 (TLV)