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Tuesday: Lord, Who May Abide in Your Tabernacle? — 15 Comments

  1. There is a saying among "Do-it-yourself" (DIY) house and furniture repairers that a good coat of paint covers up most mistakes. It is easy to make something that is a mess underneath look good by painting it. And if one coat doesn't quite do it, a few more coats will do the trick. The paint manufacturers know that and tell you on the can that you need three coats.

    It is easy to look and sound Christian. Most of us do it by using Christian language. It can be like a special spiritual coat of paint that covers the mess we are underneath. This is a pertinent message for me as a writer. My Christianity has to be much more than language deep.

    Jesus tells a parable about Christianity for show:

    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. Luke 18:11, 12

    Ashton Translation: "Thank you Lord for giving us an understanding of the prophecies and the importance of the Sabbath and that you have taught us not to rip off other people, or nick off with other people's spouses. I have a plant-based diet and I give a double tithe."

    Sounds good doesn't it - Its a paint job!!

    Jesus also went on:

    And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13

    Ashton Translation: "God I need you, I'm a sinner!"

    In the Gospels Jesus rebukes the conservative religious Pharasees time and time again for their "paint jobs" and goes as far as to say:

    Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. Matt 21:31

    That is a pretty solid condemnation. Imagine saying to a Seventh-day Adventist regular writer on Sabbath School Net that the bar-tenders and prostitutes are closer to the Kindgom of God that you are!

    Maybe my prayer should be: "Lord I am ready for you to use the paint-stripper on me!"

    • So very true Maurice. I often reflect that if the drunk in the gutter, or the pimp in the whorehouse had half as much light and truth as I have, they would probably be twice as much on fire for and in love with JESUS than I am.
      This is a very sobering and humbling thought for me. It helps to keep me grounded.

  2. Jesus talked quite a bit about Sanctuary as an internal state (Matt. 5:8,27-28; 12:33-34; 15:18-19; 23:25–26). Human being temples that are shiny and smiley and doing helpful deeds on the outside, but filled with arrogance, complaint and anger on the inside are not Sanctuaries fit for Him to dwell in.

    The Prodigal Brother was there with the Father …. out in the field working for his father… but couldn’t go into the joy inside the house sanctuary because he was holding onto a story about how his father loved him less (Luke 15:25,28-29). He wasn’t able to receive all the gifts and signs of his father’s overflowing love that were his every moment (Luke 15:31) because he was looking at his brother as a comparison with himself and letting his heart and mind wander down paths of jealousy and insecurity. “Dad loves him more than me.” I picked this example of an impure heart because it’s one that our Father is trying to help me with too. But any of the commandments will do… Lust, envy of material things, lies and twisting the truth….Pr. John Piper goes deeper about what lies are here:

    Deceit is what you do when you will two things, not one thing. You will to do one thing and you will that people think you are doing another. You will to feel one thing and you will that people think you are feeling another. That is impurity of heart. Purity of heart is to will one thing, namely, to “seek the face of the Lord” (Ps. 24:6)….. So the double-minded man of James 4:8 has his heart divided between the world and God, like a wife who has a husband and a boyfriend. Purity of heart, on the other hand, is to will one thing, namely, full and total allegiance to God.

    When you and I long for God to be Our everything (because He is) we will have that inner peace and beauty of a true sanctuary (1 Tim. 1:5 KJV). After an evening and series of interactions that brought me to inner unrest, God awoke me this morning with this whispered message…

    “Let Love win.”

    • Wow! "Let Love win." This word is definitely from God! One that I just received and hope to keep in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  3. The secret of a life of worship is in the relationship with Christ. Christ is the link between us and Heaven. Perfection is to have Jesus. Christ can reconnect us with the sacred by writing His Law of Love in our hearts.

  4. I need help with today's Sabbath school lesson.
    My understanding is that the 'Holy' and 'Righteous' are those to come to God's presence and worship.
    I do not think I am holy or righteous, am I allowed to also worship God?

    • Dear Paul,
      Your question makes me think of Isaiah who when brought into the presence of God, said, “Woe is me! I am lost (or ruined or undone); for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5) God’s holiness is intimidating because it shows us how unholy we are. So the fact that you see yourself as imperfect and unworthy to be in God’s presence indicates that you have been in God’s presence…. it’s only God’s Spirit that brings us to this repentance. Jesus spent his entire time in ministry with those who were not yet fully holy, or fully righteous.

      Luke 5:30-32 shows Jesus ( God’s presence ) with the unholy and unrighteous. In this scene, He’s in the house of Levi, a publican; tax collectors were known for dishonest dealings …

      30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

      31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

      32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    • Hello Paul.
      Those who believe in Jesus and turn their lives over to Him fall under Grace. That means that all that you think that makes you unworthy has been rectified because Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for all your faulty acts from here to eternity. Jesus has made you worthy by washing away your sins by His blood. His Gracious love considers you worthy. Jesus has saved you.

  5. The author asks, "Who are the people worthy of worshiping in God’s presence?" I am always afraid of the word "worthy" combined with "walking uprightly and "works righteousness," especially when no mention of Jesus is given. But, this is the answer the author is looking for. "Walks uprightly" and "Works righteousness" are Christian catchphrases we use in church but are not understood by the "unchurched." To the modern Christian today or those who we want to reach for Christ", it means little, even to the point of being used in a way never intended. But, David seems to understand this and gives some examples in the remaining verses (2-5). All the examples involve how we treat others, which is the nail upon which the second table of the law hangs ("Loving your neighbor as yourself," "...do to others as you would have them do unto you." etc. This standard is impossible without being born again by the Spirit in Christ. Israel never learned that, and I think we are in the same danger.

  6. I have to quibble with a few of the comments in today's lesson. Psalm 15 never says anything about being worthy and the truth is the only Man worthy to worship in God's presence is Jesus. Only He makes us worthy. That doesn't mean that the characteristics mentioned aren't important, but they don't make us worthy.

    Also, I'm not sure I agree with the idea that the law was given to help Israel fulfill its potential. If by law the author means the Torah with its many laws and rituals, I might agree, but many of those laws were meant for a particular time and place. But if the author means the Ten Commandments, I very much disagree. The law is a reflection of God's character of love. It just is. It's not as if it didn't exist before it was given to Israel. It was given to them because they'd lost sight of what it included.

    I am also uncomfortable with grabbing a bunch of verses apart from their context to try to prove what it means to have a perfect heart. Doing this, we can prove almost anything. To develop a comprehensive theology about what it means to be "perfect", we need to look at the whole Bible. We can draw lessons from individual psalms, but they really are a song and prayer book and not a source of comprehensive theology as much as they do teach us many things. But we need the New Testament to really have a full understanding.

  7. What does it mean to be Holy?

    By contemplating the word pictures in the Bible not only the Parables of Christ but also the Psalms and the other experiences in the Bible, we become empowerd by the Lord, seeing His consistency, and confidence in us, we then have a strong trust in Him. Kind of eliminates blind faith. We have evidence that through His righteousness, we can be holy.

    The song we sing is:
    "I am thine oh Lord, I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me. But I long to rise in the arms of faith and be drawn near to Thee."

  8. Those who are worthy to stay in the Lord's presence are not just the righteous ones, but also those sinners who want to be forgiven, restored, and renewed by His mercy and grace.

    Everybody deserves to be in God's sanctuary as everybody needs healing and restoration (physical and spiritual) day by day. "... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23


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