By Pastor Andy Plank
What is your Top Priority?
January 17, 2021
In our daily Bible reading last night, set during the last week of Jesus’ life, Jesus and His Apostles were in Jerusalem walking by the temple. The Apostles point out the beauty of the temple to Jesus (as if He didn’t already know). Instead of agreeing with the Apostles, Jesus informs them that the temple complex was going to be destroyed. In fact, not even a stone of the temple would be left in place (Mark 13:1-2). The temple complex was the pride and joy of the first century Jewish community. What had started out in the days of Solomon as a place for God to dwell had turned into the focal point of Judaism in Jesus’ day. God would not stand for that. The very first of the ten commandments tell us that God will not tolerate competition. God doesn’t tell His people this because of His ego. God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, understands that a divided heart can’t be completely devoted to Him. When we casually read the Old Testament, we think that it was all about sacrifices, feasts, commandments, and ritual. A more careful reading reveals that it wasn’t about these things at all. It was all about the hearts of His people. All the sacrifices, feasts, and rigamarole were mere symbols of the relationship God wanted between Himself and His people. The problem was, the people started worshipping the symbols instead of God. The emphasis became “Being good” instead of “Being God’s”. When Jesus died on the cross, the symbols that had stood for so long between God and His people were no longer necessary. Jesus became the sacrifice, once, for all. God did away with the symbols because they were fulfilled in Christ. God did away with the temple in AD 70 when it was leveled by the Romans. God WILL remove anything that stands between Him and His people. He did it then and He will do it today. The term for putting something in the place of God is called idolatry. Idolatry comes in many shapes and sizes. It is just as alive and well today as it was in the days when the Bible was being penned. If we put our trust in a President, King, or country instead of God, that is idolatry. If we are more concerned about our bank accounts than we are about the lost, that is idolatry. God WILL remove our idols because they turn our hearts away from Him. These days in which we are living have caused me to re-examine my heart and my priorities. I hope you will re-examine yours as well because when God destroys the “temples” (and He will) the only thing left will be us and Him. When that day comes, what will our answer be?
Be blessed and be a blessing . . . Bro. Andy