A House of Prayer or Players?
Robert Wurtz II
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:15-17)
As I read the text it is as if we could say, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it ________.” Fill in the blank. What have we made God’s House? It is a simple thing to say, but God’s House belongs to God. It is a place where He ought to be comfortable and His wishes respected. As in ancient times, so today, it is staggering to consider how different the temple was being used compared with God’s design. God had given revelation to His people over the centuries that should have made clear the purpose of God; nevertheless, somehow and at some time, a great disconnect took place. Another generation arose that knew not the Lord, nor the works that He had done in Israel. It had been a very long time since anyone had been smitten dead for mishandling the holy things of God. In fact, God was gone, but the structure and the people remained. Even the Ark of the Covenant was missing.
A House To Play
In the Middle Ages, church buildings (cathedrals) were designed to draw the attention of the people heavenwards. Today, many youth and seeker sensitive oriented “churches” resemble a dance club. The effect draws the mind to Saturday night shindigs – frolicking with the girls and guys. The deceived believe this is a way to attract the youth and make them feel “comfortable.” Somebody forgot to teach them that God’s House is not designed to make sinners feel welcome-but a place where God feels welcome. One or the other will not be comfortable in the house. Who have we chosen to accommodate? I recently read where churches are turning to beer parties to reach the lost. It’s just the next logical step. They made the building look like a club and now in some cases it has become a club. The only difference is that they throw the name of God around here and there and maybe say a prayer or two if they’re not too embarrassed. What’s next? Let’s see. Well, we know what Aaron did at the base of the mountain. It won’t be long until these characters raise their dance clubs and suds to the people and declare, “these be the gods that led thee out of Egypt.”
A House to Enter
God and sinners cannot feel welcome at the same place and at the same time- nor should they. It is madness to think otherwise. Actually, it is the consequence of goats and wolves making it into roles of leadership. Their are some in this generation that are so deceived, that their actions would make a reprobate tremble 50 years ago. Nevertheless, beginning with Noah, God set about to bring revelation of his concept of “His house.” He had instructed Noah to build what was effectively a floating house and then bid the rebellious people to repent and “come in.” God then called Noah’s “house” to enter the Ark. (Genesis 7:1) This is two pictures of a “house” combined into one. We will not delve too deeply into this powerful picture, but God was saying in a figure, come out from among them and come into Me. Peter tells us that Noah’s house was saved by the overflow (baptism) of water. This picture of baptism is also relevant because it was a judgment on sin. Rebellion, for a moment of time, was destroyed. Every drop of rain that fell lifted Noah’s house (a figure of God’s house) away from this sinful world and closer to Him. God was separating the house (Ark) from Sin. When it finally settled and they opened the door their lives were completely different. The sin that once dominated had been judged. As one writer has said, it was as if they could declare plainly, “the old things have passed away and all has become new.” Praise the Lord.
The Gate of Heaven
We have another picture of a “house” and God’s intended plan when we look at the life of Jacob. We read, And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12) God had broken through into Jacob’s life. He was suddenly conscious of God. There was a ladder set up to heaven signifying a link between heaven and earth. Angels (messengers) were ascending and descending on that ladder. At once God spoke to Jacob, declaring Himself and His plans. Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:16-17) Here we have added important revelation as to what constitutes a “house” of God. It is the gate of heaven; the place from which man can access God. It is the Oracle, the place from which God speaks. Jacob called this place Beth-El.
A House of Prayer
And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”