“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here!
How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
Lord it’s a frightening description of Your displeasure – in fact Your anger. We have to imagine Your striding indignantly amongst the stall holders – throwing over their tables and scattering their money, driving out the animals as they bellowed in fear and their owners shouted in alarm. People running, diving for money, avoiding animals and above it all the strident tones of Your voice declaring angrily, “How dare you!!”
How dare they indeed – desecrating the Temple dedicated to the honour, glory and worship of the Lord God Almighty. Had they no sense of the shame and disgrace of it all as they exploited the pilgrims with their extortionate rates and prices and the defective animals on sale. The people would have known the account of the dedication of the original Temple by King Solomon and how the glory of the Lord had filled the Temple in a most awe-inspiring way. And yet here they were desecrating the house of God with their commercial activity and abuse of others.
But then, Lord, as I look back in puzzlement at the religious leaders and practices, and in awe at your strong reaction, what about me? For I am a temple of the Holy Spirit! What goes on inside of me that I allow and even embrace? I couldn’t stand it if You shouted out “How dare you!” at me. I feel as if I would go down before Your righteous fury never to rise again.
And yet – there is something more isn’t there? You cleansed the Temple by driving out all that was not of God. But You did not destroy the Temple – you cleansed it. That means You would not wish to harm or destroy me in divine wrath. Instead You wish to exercise Your divine authority and clean me out, setting me free, and filling me even more with the fullness of Your Holy Spirit. Oh God, my God!
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me”
(Picture: Artist unknown)