Monday, November 23, 2015

NOVEMBER 22 "WHEN THE HOLY BECOMES UNHOLY"

     WHERE were they?  Where did the priests take off to and who's hands have they left the responsibility of the Sanctuary & Temple in?  Surely not just anybody???  Can you imagine when these young boys, young men were first given the honor to bear the responsibility of the Temple!  They probably couldn't sleep the night before, so excited that they finally would be trusted with the Temple and Sanctuary of God, Wow!
     We have all been there, a place we never imagined we would have the honour of filling, but through time, faithfulness and God's Grace we find ourselves in that place, in that ministry. At first we pamper it, at first we treat our new found responsibility with honour, at first we treat it as a "holy thing".   I wonder if the first few times the Priests had the duty of caring for the Temple and Sanctuary, if they sang and prayed to The Lord all day and/or all night?  I wonder if they were so honoured to be there they never thought about what was going on else where in the city.  I wonder if they thought they might see God, hear God or sense his presence.  I wonder if they thought they would have visions that would make them known all over the region.  Reality is, eventually they would come to realize that it is not all they thought it would be.  These men would often find themselves in the Temple alone, while all this excitement was taken place outside the 4 walls of the temple, they were stuck inside with their duty. The one they had once "longed for". They can hear screaming, laughter.....in essence, they can hear FUN!!!  Fun, they are not having and add to that, the excitement of this ministry has now faded and it is becoming drudgery, wasted time, a wasted day. So what do these men do, the priests begin to delegate responsibility to some young Jewish boys, and if not available, then some young gentile boys to watch over the Temple. They don't even both to interrogate the boy to see if he is an honourable, God fearing boy, they simply get any sucker than can get to sit in the temple and do whatever he wants in there and bring whatever he wants inside.  Where is God after all? How many times have I been there and where has God been?  I thought surely God would show up from time to time, after all, it is "The Temple & Sanctuary of God".   Eventually the Priests find themselves for the wiser by ponding off this ministry to some other sucker, as if God is going to notice, who has never showed up anyway.  How many sermons have you preached, how many ministry practices have you been too, band practice, worship team practice, drama practice, choir practice, Children's Church practice, Christmas play practice, over and over and over again we have showed up to The Church, to minister in what we once held as a sacred ministry, a Holy Ministry, now the ministry has lost it's vibrancy and allure and God has yet to ever show up, as a matter of a fact, the devil seems to be there more than anything, disrupting, creating discord and fighting, feelings get hurt, people getting offended, people quiting, people crying, surely this is not the ministry that I was was so honoured to be part of, to be trusted in, by God. However we don't see God in it anymore and we, like The Priests begin to disregard it and delegate it out to whomever we can get.  We have churches that will outsource for talent in order for their ministries to remain functioning because everyone has realized, after the veneer has come off, that there is very much work in this, and very little God (or so it seems). However it is interesting that God does show up here and take notice as to what has happened, He says to the Prophet Ezekiel, 7 In addition to all your other detestable practices, you brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary, desecrating my temple while you offered me food, fat and blood, and you broke my covenant. 8 Instead of carrying out your duty in regard to my holy things, you put others in charge of my sanctuary.
     In other words, you've let anyone in here and you've put others in charge of what I had put you in charge of....and I remember, when you were quit thrilled and honoured with that duty & responsibility!"  What has happened that now you just let anyone in and you yourself have put others in charge while you are off wondering around doing other things (supposedly better, more exciting things).  However, before we are to quick to jump on these men and condemn them, let's remember, that it is not mentioned how long they did dutifully carry out their responsibilities in the Temple. What if they had been faithful for years? Does that excuse it, no, but it can help us see ourselves in this story.  Have you ever been in a ministry and been faithful to that same ministry for years?  Have you ever been in a ministry where you are faithful week after week, after month, after year and yet your services seem to go unnoticed, unappreciated and if not only by men, what makes it worse is sometimes by God himself. Let's face it, had God appeared in that Temple from time to time they would have had a line up of men to serve in that ministry, however, it is evident that God was not appearing in any shape or form and often times in our ministries God is not showing up in any shape or form.  And what can happen is what was once regarded as Holy is now regarded as common, drudgery, thankless & burdensome and we begin to think we could be doing better things.  The point we need to remember is God was watching all along and did very much care about how the Temple & Sanctuary were taken care of and when things fell by the wayside God is quick to interject and express his displeasure.
     No doubt, God uses a tremendous amount of energy and emotion in us to get us to a point of repentance & salvation, but you notice afterwards he allows those emotions to dissipate. At first every prayer is answered, every need is met, miracle after miracle but then things change. Then God calls us to a walk of Faith.  The same is with a calling or luring into a ministry. God will use much to get us there but once we are there he does move on and expect us to labour faithfully and treat his ministry as Holy, whether He is there, standing by your side holding your hand or not.
     I am not God, but even I expect my stuff to be watched over and taken care of (especially my expensive stuff), by my children, whether I am at home or I'm on a trip a thousand miles away, is irrelevant.  My kids better have enough sense to know, "that's dad's stuff, don't let anyone touch it and let's watch over it too".   Everything God has is expensive, it's all Holy and sometimes, the hardest thing to remember is exactly that!  This song service ministry is not just a bunch of talented people joined together to sing, it's God's ministry, it's Holy and 5 years down the road it may become drudgery to you, and there may be places you'd rather be, but to God, it's as Holy as the day your first entered.  God may seem distant and aloof to the particular responsibility you have been given within the church, but don't ever be fooled, He is not. Simply walk away, disregard it, desecrate it and you will be quick to find out, one way or another, that God was not aloof and neither was He that far off. Try to remember today that what has been entrusted to you in God's Kingdom is sacred and Holy and time can never depreciate that within the eyes of God.
     The Priests should have just quit, resigned, rather than to violate what is holy and this is what God is judging them for.  They wanted to keep the prestige and office of the ministry but did not care to carry out their duties and hold it up as Holy anymore.  When we reach this point in our ministries we have two options: 1. Check our hearts, recalibrate our hearts and bring the sacredness of what we are doing back into what we are doing or 2. Simply get out and make way, make room for others who can come in with that fresh sense of Holiness and God's anointing.