“O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary."
Daniel 9:17, NLT
Something is changing in my heart, and I'm not sure it's a very popular opinion: I don't hate that our churches are closed. I am encouraged by my pastor who often reminds me the church building is not where God's presence is. Remember, a day is coming, and is already here, when we won't worship God on a temple or in a mountain, but in spirit and truth (John 4). Yes, God's presence lives in the hearts of His believers, whose lives reflect the Spirit that lives with in them.
Enter Daniel. He's certainly a big biblical character. Yet, we don't often study him pleading with God to "smile again on your desolate sanctuary." Smile, here, is better translated enlighten. Can you imagine the darkened temple being illuminated as the torches were lit up? At first a little light, then more, until finally every corner could be clearly seen.
The temples of our hearts are darkened. Some have been darkened long before the word coronavirus had ever been heard by our ears or muttered by our lips. So I pray, as Daniel did, that God would light up our hearts. We are suffering a punishment that was due us, but God is merciful. I pray God lights our hearts - not for our sake, but for His.
Read the entire chapter of Daniel 9 HERE, and let yourself feel the realness, the humanness of Daniel's words.
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday and was written in approximately five minutes. For more information, visit fiveminutefriday.com.
It's so easy to embrace the darkness because we don't want to see, and perforce have to deal with, that which the light may show.
Yes, Andrew, I am so often guilty of that.Delete
I have been feeling that the church has perhaps been too focused on our ability to meet on Sunday morning, and the work of equipping the saints isn't being done. While corporate worship is important and we do need to prioritize it, we also need to be teaching and discipling. Good essay!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kym. I agree that we are stuck on some ideas that don't matter as much as we think they do. I can't wait to see what God will do. In that regard, the chaos of everything is kind of exciting.Delete
Very good blog. I needed that reminder that church is the people, not the building. Yes, God tells us to gather together with other believers and worship Him but right now we can gather together on our computers, iPads and iPhones to live stream services sand hear the powerful preaching of God’s Word and we can worship at home, at our jobs, and with our families by showing God’s love and kindness and by being the best we can be at doing the things God has called each one of us to do.ReplyDelete
❤️Terri #18 FMF
You are right, Terri. We are so blessed to have access to the technology we have. We have a great women's Bible study every week via zoom, but we had struggled for months before we were quarantined to get any momentum. God is faithful.Delete
I too am not to upset churches are closed and i love the way church is embracing being closed and still shining the light in new ways. Shining light has been a recurring message for me for a out 11 month's now. I love how you see things - Loretta FMF #14ReplyDelete
Thanks for the comment, Lorettta. I love when God gives me a word to focus on for a long time, and there certainly is a lot to unpack from the imagery of shining light.Delete
Great post, to be honest about how we feel, and then explore the reasons why. I have one friend with whom I often discuss 'what is church all about?' A title for a blog post, maybe...And I love Daniel's heartfelt prayer, especially v18 'not because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.' That is how we plead. Sharon#FMF4ReplyDelete
I don't usually get excited about Daniel, but I was really moved this morning. It really caught my eye how he said that he was studying the prophet Jeremiah. That stopped me in my tracks. Did a Bible writer just say he was reading the Bible!?!? Ha ha.Delete
We went back to "real church" this past Sunday to begin a series in Revelation. *Smiling* at #5 todayReplyDelete
Oh no, Susan, that must have been a tease. We only met about four weeks, but I respect our church leaders' decision to close again. I have to remind myself that my faith is not in the church; it is in Christ.Delete
Hi Amie, I love word picture you painted with the torches lighting the temple. I share your prayer, hoping many would be drawn to Jesus during this time and stay close to Him, thereafter. God Bless.ReplyDelete