Bible Order: Psalms 73–76
Chronological Order: 1 Kings 15:25-16:34, 2 Chronicles 17
New Testament Only: Acts 2:14–41
The Joy Of Re-Birth!
Both 2 Chronicles 5 and 1 Kings 8 describe the grand opening of Solomon’s Temple. In both renditions we read of the Ark of the Covenant being brought into the Holy of Holies. There is a “veil” that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. Only the High Priest could go behind this curtain and then only on specific holy days after significant ritualistic cleansing. The very presence of God was found between the two cherubim of the Ark on the Mercy Seat – God’s throne in the place of His earthly dwelling. This Mercy Seat was occasionally sprinkled with blood. When God sat upon this throne He saw not the Law contained within the Ark but the blood. It was the blood that brought mercy. Thus the Mercy Seat represents Christ, our propitiation for sin.
At the very moment when Christ died on the cross, having said “it is finished”, the veil separating man from God’s presence was torn from the top down. This was a dramatic symbol of what submission to Christ through the acceptance of His sacrifice means to His followers. There was no more blood to be sprinkled on a Mercy Seat. The Ark of the Covenant, the Holy of Holies, has moved. They are no longer resident in a building of stone but in the very hearts of those who submit to Christ. The Mercy Seat resides within the heart of the Christian; the blood on that seat is that of Christ Himself. No more blood is required.
Do you remember the day you accepted Christ? Do you remember the thrill, the passion, the excitement you felt to be saved by grace and adopted into the very family of God? Here is what happened when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Solomon’s temple.
1 Kings 8:10-11 ESV
“And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.”
When you submitted yourself to Christ the glory of the Lord filled your heart! How could you not be but overwhelmed by such an occurrence? Sadly, Solomon and the people of Israel would soon forget the excitement and passion they felt for God on that day of dedication. From this point forward Israel slowly falls away from God with only the occasional and temporary jerk back towards Him. How sad. We know history and we know the trouble and tribulation the people of Israel have suffered ever since.
What about you? Is the dew off the rose for you? Have you forgotten the joy of that day when you submitted to Christ? I’ve been around others who had the fire of a new believer in their eyes. It is contagious. I felt drawn to them as did others. I have rediscovered that fire from time to time and every time others are attracted to me. We all want to re-capture that feeling. Do you know what that feeling is? It is the feeling of being in right relationship with God. I don’t mean to imply that you have a poor relationship with God if you are not jumping up and down with joy every day of your life, but the cares of the world seem to put a damper on our joy and this is a dastardly theft that should be fought ardently every day of our lives.
Brothers, put the world in its proper place, at the most in the fourth position – I have it after God, wife, and child. I have to make a living. I have to provide for my wife and child but the world in which I must earn that living is not more important than God. It is not more important than obedience to God. It is not more important than time in His Word and in prayer. It isn’t more important than the wife and child God put into my care.
Christ said it Himself in Luke 9:23 “…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” If you want to recapture the joy of your spiritual birth then don’t focus on yourself. Don’t focus on sating your worldly desires. Deny yourself and sacrifice yourself to the will and work of your Heavenly Father. That is where the joy can be found!
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 6/13/11)