Words of Eternal Living
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Kings 8:22-43; Ps 84; John 6:56-69; Ephesians 6:10-20
What is the point of faith? Some have written about John's letter we call Revelation as a letter about the "end times", centuries removed from the events of John's day. Why, however, would believers suffering intense persecution have bothered preserving and copying something as irrelevant as that? There were much more pressing concerns than worrying about some distant future when the earth would be destroyed. They kept the letter, read it, and circulated it because they found it relevant to their persecution and suffering under Domitian and subsequent Roman rulers. Revelation called them to live in affirmation of faith in the ultimate triumph of the One who had faced the cross and death and then risen victorious over the violence of God's enemies. It was applicable to their daily life with God--it made a difference in their response to the pressures of living a faithful witness.
Along a similar vein, there was purpose to Solomon's building the Temple in Jerusalem. It was not a symbol of the future. It was not a symbol of the past. It was no homage to an ethereal reality. It was more than a building for them to treasure and maintain. It was an affirmation of God's presence among the nation of Israel. The temple was a visible reminder both of God's promise and the people's responsibility. Yahweh would be faithful to the covenant promise, maintaining an heir to David on the throne. That promise was conditioned, however, on the people walking faithfully in the ways of God.
The temple was to speak to the nation and the world beyond. It was to call all peoples to know and serve Yahweh in sincere commitment. It was not about God away in heaven. It was about the ongoing relationship between Yahweh and Israel. Being Yahweh's people meant following the pattern of life Yahweh set before them. They could count on God's blessings, but only as they turn ...
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