Zeal for Zeal!
Jn.2:17, ‘ Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house [c]has eaten me up.”’
When we see Jesus portraying love and power most of the time during His ministry on earth, we tend to be silent when we ponder on these verses. In Jn.2:14-15, when He found the temple with people selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers [b]doing business, He made a whip of cords & drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. V 16, ‘ And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” ‘
Today, we see the same trend in our lives. Our body, termed as the temple of God has turned out to be a house of merchandise. Our mind is full of concerns about tomorrow and plans to deal with them today. With such mindsets, we all gather in churches and places to worship together. But at the end of the day, we all return the same way i.e burdened, anxious, wounded, restless etc. This was what was happening in the temple when Jesus walked into it’s premises. He saw trading and business happening instead of prayers and worship of the Lord. But the zeal for the house of God in Christ cleansed it within few minutes and restored the purpose of its being. Mt.21:14,’Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.’ Soon after the temple was cleansed, many sick came to the Lord while He was in the temple and they were healed. We, as God’s temple have been ordained to be places of healing and restoration. If we are zealous houses of faithful prayers, we will witness healing and restoration wherever we are placed…at our homes, churches, workplaces, neighborhood etc.
It’s true that we face a fight between flesh and spirit everyday of our lives and this will go on as long as we are alive on this earth. But on the other hand, nothing less than the zealousness for the Lord can sustain us victorious in this great fight. The weakness of the flesh that arises due to its corrupt nature can be subdued only by such zeal. Zeal and anger has a close connection but their motives differentiate their definitions. Zeal is understood in a positive way while anger and wrath in a negative way. Levi, the son of Jacob was a person of wrath. In Gen.34:25-30, we see Levi’s anger and wrath flaming up against the ones who defiled his sister. He killed them without any mercy. As a result, Jacob cursed him in Gen. 49:5-7. V 7, ‘Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob. And scatter them in Israel.’ But later on, his descendants i.e the Levites, realized and understood the greatness of God’s holiness. In Ex.32:26-28, the Levites took a great stand as per the word of Moses. They slew 3000 men who were not on the Lord’s side, including their own family and tribe. By doing this, they turned their curse into a blessing. Moses blessed them in Deut.33:8-11. Verses 8-9, ‘ And of Levi he said: “Let Your [b]Thummim and Your Urim be with Your holy one, Whom You tested at Massah, And with whom You contended at the waters of Meribah,9 Who says of his father and mother,‘I have not seen them’; Nor did he acknowledge his brothers, Or know his own children; For they have observed Your word And kept Your covenant.’ Levi’s anger and wrath satisfied the desire of his flesh and invited the curse, while their zeal for the Lord satisfied the divine desires and turned their curse into a blessing. Levites were thus sanctified to offer sacrifices and teach the law of the Lord to the people. They were the priests in the Old testament days. Today, we being the levites and priests of the New testament church, and being the temple of God, we need to have the same attitude. We need to be zealous for the Lord, which alone can keep the flame of prayers burning round the clock & which alone can cleanse our heart and body for divine purposes.
Our Lord has always been passionate in building and restoring His temple. It’s because of His love to dwell among His people. Temple was a place where His presence dwelt. Ex.29:45, ‘I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.’ In the Old Testament, we see that the temple of God was first built by King Solomon, as per the promise given by the Lord to King David. Later on, this temple was destroyed. Years after that, in the book of Ezra, we see how the spirit of King Cyrus, king of Persia was stirred up to raise up God’s people to rebuild the temple of God. But the adversaries started opposing the work and during the days of King Artaxerxes, the work of the Temple of God was forced to be ceased (Ezra 4:23-24). In the later days, King Darius realized the holiness and purpose of the temple of the living God. And he issued a decree to complete the work of the temple of the living God. Ezra 6:12, ‘ And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this [d]house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.’ At a time when the Israelites were taken captives and had no zeal for His sanctuary, God stirred up the hearts of the heathen kings to raise up God’s people for the purpose of rebuilding and restoring the temple of God. He does not depend on any person for fulfilling His purposes. In His sovereignty, He uses anyone anytime for His glory. His zeal to dwell with His people made all this happen. In the New Testament, God gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice to redeem the lost mankind, so that through the power of His Spirit, He would dwell in the hearts of the people. We thus see that God Almighty has always expressed His zeal towards dwelling among His people all throughout the Bible, right from the time of creation. And we see Jesus here burning with zeal to purify the defiled temple of God and restoring it.
Let’s examine our attitude towards God and His works. In Rev.3, the Lord charges the church of Laodicea of being lukewarm. He rebukes them and warns them of being spewed out of His mouth if they would not repent. They were doing many things for the Lord but deep inside, they had lost the zeal for the Lord. This had allowed many impurities to creep into their motives and intentions. Have we lost the first love for the Lord somewhere during this journey of faith? What we need to understand is that for the zeal of the Lord to dwell within us, only our zeal in return can allow Him to do so….i.e. zeal for zeal. Nothing less than the zealousness for the Lord can meet the divine standards. Hence, let’s not be satisfied with the ‘lukewarm’ attitude, lest we be spewed out of His mouth in His wrath. May we seek the Lord’s face to identify all that defiles us, which in turn frustrates the purpose of God for us. May our race of faith not end up in vain. May we be ready to hear the trumpet sound and be transformed to be with Him forever.
God bless us all
The mark of the Lord !
Ez.9:3-4, ‘Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the [d]temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a […]
Genesis 47:1-4 New International Version (NIV) 47 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” 2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.
3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?” “Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” 4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”
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Message from The Word – Joseph’s Journey – Series – Part 1 – Joseph & Jesus – The Past Reveals the Future – Pastor Blessen Cherian – 29th May 2020
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