Lord, prepare me.

Originally posted here on 1.11.11

Last week I read this quote by A. W. Tozer that said Christians don’t tell lies, we just go to church and sing them. Ouch. convicting, right?

So I was thinking about this song I’ve been listening to a lot….

and I was thinking about this simple chorus we all know.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
sanctuary for you.

I was thinking about in Exodus, when God gave Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle, and I started thinking about everything surrounding that.. how everything had strict restrictions and specifications, how everything had to be consecrated and holy and all of this stuff.

Remember Uzzah, in 1 Chronicles 13? The guy is taking the ark out of his dad’s house at the request of David. They are all celebrating the ark – the manifestation of the presence of God among his people – and then an oxen kind of stumbles and so Uzzah sticks his hand out to steady the ark and you know what God does? God strikes him down, dead. Because you know what you don’t do? You don’t touch the Ark of the Covenant, even if you’re just trying to steady it.

God is that serious about it. He didn’t give Uzzah a wrist slap and a “shame on you” and send him on his way with a few boils or curses. He strikes the man dead.

This is the same God who demands all of these rules and requirements and restrictions for the temple. And then there’s the whole holy of holies thing, that thing held sacred by the curtain that ripped when Jesus died. The place that only the high priest could go, and even then only once a year. The heart of the temple, really. The manifestation of the presence of God among his people.

So keeping all of this in mind, I have to then think about what Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” {1 Cor 3:16-17}
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” {1 Cor. 6:19-20}

Think about that grace.
God used to manifest himself in places and things, and these things had to be pure and consecrated and held to a ridiculously high standard and there was no room for error or drifting from the rules, even if you were just steadying the ark.

Now the Holy Spirit of God dwells in me.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.

Those words look different to me now that I’ve spent some time thinking about what a sanctuary is and the history of God’s sanctuaries and who I am and the history of me.

I read the story of Uzzah to Rachel this morning, and she pointed out how we never really talk about that side of God, even though we know that he is the same today as he was then. To which I replied that while God has not changed, the game has. We are covered by the atoning blood of Christ. Jesus came and flipped the world upside down, wrote the continuing story, invited us in, and for the first time since the Garden, God walked with his people on the planet he created for them. When God shows up, things change.

God is the same and he still cannot be with sin or impurity. But now I have a Messiah that sanctified me and redeemed me and has enabled me to be pure, holy, tried and true. Even though we all know that I am not any of these things.

Lord, prepare me.