Money. Taxes. Noise. Busy days. A challenge today. A challenge in Jesus’ day.
Each year, men paid an annual temple tax equal to two days’ wages. The tax could only be paid with temple currency. In the outer courts of the temple, money-changers exchanged everyday money for the temple currency. They charged high fees.
Merchants also sold approved sacrificial animals at inflated prices.
Baahing sheep. Cooing pigeons. Talking merchants. Unceasing commotion.
The outer courts of the temple were the only areas that the Gentiles could worship and pray. The outer courts where the animals were. The outer courts where the money exchanging was taking place.
Imagine worshipping and praying in the hub-bub of a farmer’s market.
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
House of prayer for all in the outer courts of the temple. What do you think of when you think of a house of prayer?
A quiet, peaceful place? The Gentiles did not enjoy that in the outer courts.
The day that Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, He went into the temple, looked around, and left. The next day, He entered the temple and drove out those who sold and bought in the temple, overturning the tables of the money-changers and sellers of pigeons.
House of prayer. Since we are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16), then we could conclude that our bodies should be a house of prayer. But the business of every day fills our minds.
Spouses, children, dirty dishes, money, shopping, work, school …
I need to cleanse my house of prayer. How about you?
6 Steps to a Joyful House of Prayer
God said that all who would join themselves to Him, even foreigners (Gentiles) who ministered to Him, loved Him, served Him, and kept the Sabbath, holding fast His covenant, “these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
- Join ourselves to God. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29.
- Minister to God. “I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me.” Psalm 101:6.
- Love God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
- Serve God. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Matthew 4:10.
- Keep the Sabbath (rest in Jesus). “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10.
- Hold fast His covenant. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25
Jesus, cleanse your temple. Thank You that You are zealous about Your temple. Restore our lives, so that they become the joyful house of prayer that honors You. Thank You that You cleansed the temple and then taught in it. Do the same in our relationship with You. Teach us all things. We rejoice in Your love and salvation. In Your precious name, amen.
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