Reading 1 - 2Ch 3:1
"Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David" (2Ch 3:1).
"So we have this temple, being assembled by Solomon. A place where so visibly God's power and mercy had been seen. A place where God's desire to repent of evil had been carried out before. A place where salvation could be had.
"Does this interesting set of links end there? No... because now we jump forward to the time when another son was born, but one that was oh so much more precious and special. The Lord, OUR Lord -- Jesus Christ. The time came for him to be presented before the Lord, at His special place, the temple. The same place, the same location as Abraham, David and Solomon. What do we find? 'Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he HAD SEEN THE LORD'S CHRIST. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. FOR MY EYES HAVE SEEN YOUR SALVATION, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel' " (Luk 2:25-32). Again, amazingly, at this place, we see a link to seeing the Salvation of God!
"This is what the Jews missed. They saw the stones, the ornamentation, the architecture, the beautiful temple. What they should have been seeing was God, and the salvation He provides. They concentrated on the temporary, and couldn't see the eternal. How often do we do this?
"Do we see the stones, and miss the salvation? Do we see our brothers and sisters, with all their potential flaws... and even sometimes the great talents that all of us have in different areas... and miss the important thing... the salvation of God manifested in each and every one of us?
"Do we see the bread and the wine on a Sunday morning as a snack to tide over our hunger for lunch? A way to get rid of the annoying tickle we've had in our throats all morning? Or even just a chance to... feel better about ourselves?
"Or do we see the salvation of God?
"So Mount Moriah was all about reminding people that even though we get all caught up in temporary things, there are eternal things, an eternal hope, which we can see, and can draw hope from. It can be as solid a rock and foundation to us as the physical Mount Moriah is.
"Perhaps to us we should use the bread and the wine, the brothers and sisters around us, this place at this moment in time, as our own private Mount Moriah... a place of power and hope... a place to see through the veil of mortality to the plane of reality and immortality, where life isn't distorted, and things can be seen clearly?" (Michael McAllister).
Reading 2 - Eze 40:4
"The man said to me, 'Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see' " (Eze 40:4).
In other words, 'Use all your senses, all your faculties, all your wits to understand divine truth.' When there is light before your eyes, be sure -- take careful pains -- to see; and, when there is the Word of God spoken to you, be sure to hear. Don't be one of those men who beholds his image in a mirror, and then goes his way and immediately forgets what manner of man he is (James 1:23,24). How much more might we understand of God's word if we gave our whole minds to it. We tell our children to learn their lessons "by heart". If we put the full meaning into that expression, that is the way we should learn the things of God. Learn them all over; take them into yourself by every faculty you possess; strive to get at their innermost meaning by every power that is given you -- and surely God will help you to understand.
"Look with your eyes." Examine, inspect, investigate, search! Do not let the truth flit before you and then say, "Yes, I have seen it." No. Stop it. Hold it by meditation before the mind's eye, and see with your eyes. Look into it. Remember what is said of the angels: "Even angels long to look into these things" (1Pe 1:12); not "to look at", but "to look INTO"! Look into the gospel message: let your eyes be intent and steadfastly fixed upon every truth, and God will give you understanding.
"Hear with thine ears." A man cannot use his ears for anything else, can he? Spy out the meaning with the mind's eye; but, besides that, try to catch the very tone in which the promise or precept has been uttered. Listen for the poetry, revel in the imagery, enjoy the "music" of God's Word. Let every part of the brain, the sensory part as well as the analytical part, HEAR it in its fullness.
But the Lord demands something more. "Pay attention to everything I am going to show you." This is surely the way to learn from God -- by loving all that He says -- feeling that, whatever God says, it is the thing you want to know. Set your whole heart on the word. It has been said, "The man who has read many books is not always a learned man; but he is a strong man who has read a few books over and over till he has mastered them. He knows something. He has a grasp of thoughts and expressions, and these will build up his life." And even more is this true if we think of the ONE BOOK of God's Word. Set your heart upon God's word! It is the only way to know it thoroughly: let your whole nature be plunged into it as cloth into a dye (this, as we know, is the literal meaning of the word "baptize" in the Greek -- be "immersed" in it!). Become very familiar with every part of God's Word. And, as you do so, also ask the Heavenly Father for the grace, to be willing and ready to see all that He would have you see, and to hear all that He would have you hear, and to receive into our heart all that He would have you receive. For surely -- in the broadest sense -- "that is why you have been brought here!"
Reading 3 - John 6:63
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (John 6:63).
"John the apostle says, 'the spirit is the truth'. He had learned this from Jesus, who said, 'It is the spirit that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you are spirit and life'; and because the apostles believed this, Peter declared that the words he delivered were 'the words of eternal life'. Paul's testimony upon this point is equally forcible: 'The word of God' saith he, 'is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart'. This word was developed by the Spirit moving holy men of old to write the purposes, promises and teaching of God in a Book called the Scriptures. Hence the truth revealed in these is styled 'Spirit', because it came by spirit, and is quickening. He that is quickened by the truth, then, is quickened by spirit, and he that is not quickened by the truth, is not quickened by spirit. Hence, Paul declares the converting power to be in scripture given by inspiration of God, in testifying that it is able to make wise to salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. When we consider what he states the scripture is able to do, we must be satisfied that no other agency in conversion is needed than the scripture in the mouth of faithful men who are able to teach others. He says, 'it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.' Our proposition, then, is this: He that is taught of the written word is taught of God; and that a man hath just so much of the Spirit of God in him, as he hath of the truth in him intelligently and affectionately believed" (John Thomas, "Herald" 1861).