1 Kings 8 & 2 Chronicles 5
Once the temple was finished, they brought in the ark of the covenant. It was brought into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the Holy of Holies. When the priests (who had sanctified themselves) had come out, and the group praised the LORD, His glory filled the temple and the priests couldn’t perform their service because of His great glory.
That concept of how great the glory of the LORD is hard to comprehend for me. On one of our Zoom calls for the youth group recently, we watched a video on holiness. There were some interesting points in it, and a good analogy on how to better understand God’s holiness and why we can’t be too close (watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9vn5UvsHvM). We cannot get too close to God because we are impure, and He is perfect. People had to purify themselves to come into the temple. And for the Holy of Holies, or Most Holy Place, separated by a veil, the purified high priest could only enter once per year on the Day of Atonement when the whole nation asked God for forgiveness of their sins.
The good news for us is that we live in a time after Jesus interceded. When he died, that veil was torn, and we can now come to God instead of the high priest, and we can come without having to go through those same purifying rituals. I forget sometimes what a blessing that is. Because of Jesus being our mediator, we can go to God and receive forgiveness from our sins by request, not through sacrificial offerings. We have never had to live in a time where it was different, but can you imagine it? Thinking of this helps to remind me of how amazing Jesus’ sacrifice was.
If you haven’t already, you can stop reading in 1 Kings 8 at verse 12 and pick up there tomorrow to read a similar account in 2 Chronicles.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+8%2C+2+Chronicles+5&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Chronicles 6-7 and Psalm136 as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan
Thursday, August 25
When my kids go off to school, I have a home daycare and preschoolers invade the house. Recently I was babysitting four preschoolers – three of whom were potty-training at the same time. So, I do have some experience with bodily discharges (the topic of Chapter 15). I found myself saying all sorts of things I never imagined I would need to say about not touching this or that or sitting here or there. It was for very good reason that we removed the bathroom rug for several months. And, there was no limit to the amount of times I made them wash their cute little hands – hands which didn’t even look dirty to them. As naïve children, my preschoolers failed to see the dangers of unclean habits and the reasons and ways for cleaning themselves. The Israelites had similar issues. And, might we, too – at least when it comes to spiritual cleanliness?
Perhaps it is said best in Leviticus 15:31: “You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.” Our God is STILL a holy, CLEAN God who dwells among us and requires us to be clean to come into His presence. Strive for purity (In your thoughts, words, attitudes, motives and actions). When you “mess yourself” – realize the danger and harm of your sin. Instead of making excuses – take the needed steps for cleansing. Jesus Christ offers the best spiritual sanitizer possible.
Chapter 16 gives detailed directions for the yearly Day of Atonement – when “atonement (reconciliation) is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” (16:34). This will be the sacred time when the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place, and in addition to sin offerings and burnt offerings (which were also done regularly throughout the year) – a scapegoat will be released into the desert. Wikipedia defines scapegoating as, “the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame”. Sure sounds just like what would be awaiting the Son of God so many years later.
In Chapter 17 – where the eating of blood is forbidden – we see yet another foreshadowing of Jesus’ purpose (atonement) and means to the end (death). Verse 11 says, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the alter; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
We are dirty, sinful people – just as God’s people have been all through history. Realize the danger of your unclean habits (sins). Be sanitized. Thank God He has made a way for us to be purified and reconciled to Him. Thank you, Jesus, for being the scapegoat and the perfect sacrifice so we can come before The Almighty!