Before Jesus came to earth, suffered and died for our indiscretions (rebellion and sin against God), the Presence of God was resident in only one place: the Holy of Holies. Wherever Israel set up camp, the ‘temple’ was also set up. At first it was a tent with surrounding grounds bordered by curtains. Then later, with King Solomon, an actual temple was built. It consisted of three sections: the Outer Court, Inner Court and the Holy of Holies.
All people could enter the Outer Court. Only the priests could enter the Inner Court and only with restrictions such as: no alcoholic drinks, no diseases, and no reason to be unclean or defiled. But, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. He could go behind the veil that separated the Inner Court from the Presence of God usually only once a year and only after an elaborate purification process. If he failed to perform the purification process properly or had some other reason to be unworthy to enter the Presence, he would drop dead in the Presence of God. Evidently this happened on occasion, because it was customary to tie a rope around the High Priest’s leg when he went in, in case he did die. No one wanted to go in after the body, but with the rope, they could just drag him out.
After the death of Jesus, when He said ‘it is finished’ and the curtain was torn in two, then symbolically, God was giving all men the ability to enter His Presence.
50 days later at the celebration of Pentecost, the Presence of God dwelling with His people became a reality. The Spirit of God appeared suddenly in the Upper Room as a mighty rushing wind where the 120 were gathered. They were gathered there because Jesus had told them (Acts 1: 4-5) to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.
When the wind came—the Holy Spirit appeared as a fire, which split and rested on each person there. They then carried with them the Holy Spirit as evidenced among other things by speaking in foreign tongues and prophesying.
About 4000 years of planning, teaching, prophesying, and sacrificing led up to the death and resurrection of Christ. Then 50 days later, God sealed the deal. Ephesians 1: 13-14 says:
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
We do not belong to ourselves.
We were purchased with a price.
1 Cor 6:19-20 (NLT) “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
My dad was an air conditioner repairman when I was little, before I was in kindergarten. At that time it was me and two little sisters plus my mom and dad. Christmas was special, but we didn’t have a lot of spare cash. My favorite toy as a child was my Tiny Tears. I remember how amazing she was. She had rockabye eyes; she could drink cry real tears and wet her diaper! Guys, I know you understand how cool this was—right?
Well, back in the day—if you were a guy—you probably had a pocketknife with you all the time! (Check your pocket—got one now?) What do a doll and a pocketknife have to do with my thoughts here? Think about it—what do these things represent to us? Fun, special times, maybe sacrifice, family memories, comfort, can all be tied up in this knife or this doll.
Now, you are not a doll or pocketknife to God—and you are WAY MORE precious to Him than that doll was to me. He knows every cute little thing you do. Every funny word, every nice gesture, every hair on your head—He knows and delights in them all. Read Psalm 139 if you want a CRAZY list of everything God knows about us! Or, read Psalm 121, if you want some reassurance that HE NEVER SLEEPS, HE IS NEVER OFF HIS GAME, and yes—that means He knows you.
You are so precious to God that, when you tell Him you want to be a member of His family and confess your sin, and put your faith in what Jesus did on the cross; Ephesians chapter 1 says he seals you with the Holy Spirit.
Did you read the passage above in Ephesians? Did you REALLY read it? Here it is again,
“You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Wow! You can be sealed. You can be the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit! Think about that as you go about your business this next week. I would bet the Israelites would be pretty pumped about that thought!
I know it is changing me—just focusing on that one thought. How will it change you? Will it give you great peace? Will it make you more careful how you go about your day? Probably both! My parents paid for me to get braces on my teeth when I was in High School. I so appreciated the sacrifice they made, that I have always taken care of my teeth; making regular dental appointments, etc., This has meant something to me for all my adult life–and that is just braces on my teeth.
Find something that means a lot to you—a picture, a pocketknife—put it where you can see it. Every time you see it, let it remind you that God is watching and rejoicing over you. Zephaniah 3:17 says
“For the lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”