Q: What is the “then” in verse 16? A: The temple was completed. Now that they are finished doing His will, what next?
The will of the Father was realized in the finishing of the Temple. Joy is the result of such willingness to do His Things—to agree with Him. Even in today’s society, with the choices we make to do what He has given to us to do, or speak the things He wants us to speak or even think the thoughts He wants us to think, joy can be the result. Our response is our responsibility.
These people celebrated! Ever do it that way? No, maybe not but how do you celebrate God’s blessings to your self? You may say, “Well, I guess I deserve that! Thanks.” Or “Wow, until you told me, I did not even think it was a blessing!”
In come cultures, people cry, dance, sing, yell, bang drums, scream, all sorts of outside expressions. Some say, “Hum, that was great.” “Nice.”
These people really got into it. “celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy”
They were people of the Word. The Word effected their lives…for a long time. (At least for seven days, they kept themselves pure.) That alone needs to be celebrated but they did it because they were at the very center of worship—in His presence…but we could not do that, could we?
These people had an advantage you and I do not have. They had been slaves in a foreign land for 70 years. They had time to get themselves together. You might be saying: I’m too busy to get that serious with my relationship with God. And besides, it is a personal thing, right? Just me and Him! He has promised never to leave me, so He’d better not—or I will be in hot water—or worst.
Then, the Remnant (a small part of something that remains after the rest has gone), on the 14th day of the first month, celebrated the Passover—right after the big celebration they had before. Too much emotion? Not really! But, God was pleased! He met them in their joy.
The people got clean. They got ready to be in His Presence. They separated themselves from the world. They made it a matter of a heart change. They USED to be slaves in a pagan land with more idols than they had ever seen. The idolatry there was sickening to their souls. Now, they were in Jerusalem, the very City of David!
This is what they had been waiting for. They were made for this! Some had only heard about the greatness of the Temple worship, while others remembered the old place with it’s gold stones, long halls, Strong cedar beams, silver and bronze articles, and the places where they could worship the Living God of their Father Abraham. Some remembered hearing of the Holy of Holies and the wonder of having His Spirit THERE!
How different is this today? Outside the very visible absence of no bloody sacrifice and hundreds of burnt offerings, how do we come to worship? What do we bring? Baggage. And what is inside? Our responses…
There needs to be a sense of the Holy. A re-awakening of our inner soul to the touch of God on our life. That He is real and that He loves us and that His desire is to have us in His presence. Thus the psalmist’s cry to be in His Throne Room. To hear His voice; to behold His Glory!
Please understand that it is not the job of the worship leader to get you there. He or she can help but it is something that is found inside of our own hearts—to do more than sing a song. As the song goes by Tim Hughes: And here I am to worship, Here I am to bow down, Here I am to say that you're my God, You're altogether lovely, Altogether worthy, Altogether wonderful to me.
This was a time of major transition for the Jewish Nation. They once were a world power-now brought low thru disobedience and sin. The nation became a people of enslavement. They were taken away by force into a beastly pagan land. All hope was lost—except to those who knew His Word.
Think of how the Lord makes Himself known to you. Many times it is thru the fire of adversity or pain or disappointment or loss. And it usually last for a while.
A clean heart is a wonderful thing to possess. Do you know anyone who could be called a person who has a pure heart? A sincere mind?
Know where you are. Some need a map-that shows were you area in relation to things around you, others need a compass-to find direction, a gauge-to determine your judgment, or a relationship with God works.