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Kingdom Passion (part 3)

POINT ONE: The way of pilgrims—kingdom people—is the way of passion. POINT TWO: As we become pilgrims—those who enter into God's presence and power—his priorities are to become our preoccupations. (Click here for last week's teaching)

MY THIRD AND FINAL POINT: A pilgrim—like King David—rejoices over God's rule and reign both now and forever. The context of Psalm132 tells a wonderful story, that of David coming into Jerusalem with the ark of the covenant. Amazingly, this is the only Psalm in which the ark is mentioned (vs.6-10) yet it was the most singly important cultic object in all of ancient Israel’s worship, and it was the focus of David’s passion. The Spirit of God had anointed Bezalel to decorate that fascinating chest with gold and told Moses to place within it a jar of manna, Aaron's budded staff, and the tablets of the Torah. It was viewed as a point of contact between the infinite God and his finite servants. The very presence of the Holy One would descend and come to rest upon the ark, on the mercy seat between the cherubim. The ark, which was placed within the holy of holies in the tabernacle, was a focal point of the transcendent God’s imminence in this world his hands created. And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. (Exodus 25:8) We must not miss this essential idea. The ark was a symbol of God's real and living presence in the midst of his people which was the goal of the Exodus and the key reason for the tabernacle/Temple. David was passionate about these promises made by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so he brings the ark to Jerusalem and rejoices before the LORD with all his might. As soon as David came to his place of divine appointment—his place of God’s purpose in his life—his first priority, his most pressing passion was to bring the ark up to Jerusalem; to enter into God’s glory and presence, and to build a suitable habitation for him. So they make their way up to Jerusalem according to the divine pattern of the priests carrying the ark. And David danced before the LORD with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn. (2 Samuel 6:14-15) What God thought was more important to David than what others thought. He was a passionate man with a heart for God who could dance before the LORD with all his might. He could humiliate himself for the LORD’s celebration and for the LORD’s sake, even while enduring his wife's withering criticism (2 Sam 6:16, 20). As the son of David, Jesus inherited David’s kingdom and as the Son of Man, his kingdom is everlasting. What was lost with the first Adam the second Adam restored—God’s fellowship with his people. The veil of the Temple was torn in two symbolizing that God's ultimate intent was to dwell in a temple made with his own, not human hands. Hebraically, the tearing of the veil separating the ark from the rest of the Temple is a powerful symbol, a sign of God’s grief over the death of his Son. In Jewish culture when someone dies you tear your garments. When his Son Jesus dies, the Father tore the garment from top to bottom. But I think it also communicates something even more profound, that is that God no longer limits his dwelling in space and time to a particular point of contact between the infinite and the finite. God—and the tabernacle/Temple points to this—is now out looking for a habitation to build up, to dwell in. This is why Paul, another man passionate for God who knew how to rejoice in his promised presence, could say, For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Corinthians 6:16) God's glory departed from the Temple, but in the Messiah in you, God's glory returns. Therefore, Paul goes on to say, you must cleanse yourself from all unrighteousness, purge yourself from all idolatry, crucify that spirit of rebellion, iniquity, individualism, greed, set aside your idols of comfort and convenience and your pet ideologies, so that your habitation will become pure and holy for God to dwell in. As your will becomes God’s will, then his will becomes yours. As you passionately seek the heart of God, he willingly gives you the desires of your heart. As you pledge and commit to the building up of his house, he will in turn pledge and commit to building you up. Nathan the prophet later said to David in regard to his plan to construct the Temple, "do whatever you have in mind to do, and God will bless it." He said these things to an imperfect man, yet one who was passionate for the things of God, willing to sacrifice all else, willing to humiliate himself, just so God would have a suitable habitation. The ark of God’s covenant is not hidden away somewhere in the vaults of the Vatican my friends. The place of his dwelling is deep within your heart, by his Spirit. And that truth is our hope and our source of joy, our fountain of rejoicing. But never forget that because the whole earth is to be full of his glory, there is no room for yours, there is no room for mine—it must be God’s glory alone.

Please pray with me, "Lord of Hosts be our abundant source of provision, peace, and power, as we make you the desire of our heart. Arise O Lord and come to a suitable habitation, let it be built up speedily in our day. Let the church be purged of her idols, be atoned for her sins, and be informed from her ignorance so that together we can be living stones joined together for a habitation to be built up in which your glory can come down. Because it is that glory Father that would truly bless Israel. We labor in vain if your Spirit does not build your house." "Forgive me Father and every other person here who affirms this prayer, forgive me for not making my temple a suitable habitation. And forgive us corporately, we the church, for not humbling ourselves so that we can present a bride to you that is spotless and unblemished. Forgive us for the terrible damage that we have done to your reputation over the centuries, forgive us for our incredible ignorance, deceptions, for our arrogance and our pride." "But also Father spare us from the temptations of the evil one that would lead us astray into false attachments to soulish things. May we, with David, say, ‘I will set the Lord before me continually.’ May we, like David, say that we shall find no rest until you come in your glory and dwell in our midst." "We thank you for Jesus who makes these prayers possible and whose atonement makes forgiveness of sins a reality, whose blood washes us clean and whose Word builds us up. So it is in his name that we pray, AMEN."

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

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