Articles of Blessing
Updated: Jan 2
All of the Temple articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from God’s people were restored to them by King Cyrus. Every article of gold and silver returned was a witness to God’s faithfulness and care for His children. Even though many years had passed, God delivered the Temple articles back to His people. Time is not a barrier for God and for that I am deeply grateful. I’ve often thought that I’ve wasted so many years. But God has profoundly shown me over and over again that He restores squandered years. My accumulative pile of ashes God has so graciously replaced with beauty and fruit for His glory. Indeed, seasons of drought, purging and pruning come and go but God always sustains and restores the branches that abide in Him.
God is faithful to sustain the branches that abide in Him.
What are your “articles” that you desire to be restored? Peace? Joy? Faith? Health? Marriage? Child? You? Just as God returned the Temple articles to His people then and gave them an abundance of everything they needed for the journey and to restore the Temple and worship in Jerusalem, He will restore to His people now for the reviving and reestablishing of our temples. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
God made a way through King Cyrus to return all that was stolen from His people then and He has made THE WAY for us now through King Jesus to restore, and reestablish us, our marriages, children, finances, joy, peace, health, and most importantly worship! Whatever our “article” is God’s got it!
It’s interesting that almost immediately upon arriving in Jerusalem God’s people built an altar even before they laid the Temple foundation. The rebuilding of the altar symbolized God’s presence and faithfulness. It also expressed their sincere commitment to serve God, seek His guidance, presence, forgiveness, repentance and rededicating themselves to living His way. Worship was foremost and it revealed the true intention of their hearts.
After the altar was rebuilt the people began to worship God through sacrifices of burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord. The Hebrew word for "burnt offering" means to ascend or " go up in smoke". In an effort to reconcile the sinful people back to God, an offering of an animal was burnt on the altar offering a sweet aroma to the Lord. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are redeemed and a new and life-giving way has been opened to the very presence of God through the blood of Jesus, once for all. We can approach God with boldness because of Christ’s righteousness and not our own. “For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Our sin was placed on our flawless Savior, so full of love and allegiance to the Father. This paramount sacrifice and full expression of abounding love and mercy alone should lead hearts to weep at the Savior’s feet with gratitude, unworthiness, overwhelming worship and unlimited praise to lavish and bestow on our impeccable, unblemished, yielded, beautiful Savior.
I invite you to really ponder these familiar but very poignant and life-transforming truths of scripture for just a moment, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) The word “service” in the Greek translation is latreia meaning; ministration of God that is worship. Our genuine expression of worship and response to God's marvelous mercies is to be set apart for God’s use and to do as HE wills. Lay down our lives. Pick up our cross. Adamantly follow Jesus closely. We must decrease, He must increase. (John 3:30)
Lay down our lives. Pick up our cross.
It’s so important especially at this stage in the race to keep up the momentum. We can’t become lax or casual in our walk with the Lord and on our journey to personal revival. Let’s stay yielded before the Lord and offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. (Hebrew 13:15-16)
Psalm 24:3-6 resonates loudly and is strongly impressed upon my heart, “ Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and swears deceitfully. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Savior. Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence O God of Jacob.” As we begin to build our altars before the Lord it’s imperative to have true hearts of broken repentance, in doing this we exchange our sin and idols for articles of blessing. Rivers of living water will be our portion in Christ Jesus.
The depth of your repentance will determine the height of your revival.~ Frank Bartleman
David cried out to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalms 139:23-24) When God exposes our hearts it’s doesn’t feel good at the time but afterward, it produces a harvest of righteousness, peace, sweet communion, eternal life and times of refreshments in the Lord.
I encourage you to keep up the momentum. Stay the course. The end will look nothing like the beginning. So what if you’ve stumbled. You may be struggling. God's mercies are fresh every morning!
You may be suffering from battle fatigue, spiritual famine, feelings of defeat. Losing your enthusiasm. I feel you. I’ve become a little lax myself and it’s easy to fall back especially during the holiday season but we must be determined to keep going! Wait on the Lord and He WILL renew your strength! Keep pressing! Keep praying! Hide the word in your heart. Keep seeking God’s presence and help. Unless the Lord builds the house those who build will labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1) Keep moving! Keep building your altar brick by brick, faith to faith, glory to glory sending up a sweet fragrance unto the Lord!
Scripture tells us that we are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5) You are chosen by God and so precious in His sight. I echo loudly, keep up the momentum!
“Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion, they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore, in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.” (Isaiah 61:7)
Like the Jews when they journeyed from Babylon to Jerusalem let’s humbly set our hearts to make worship our starting place and the face of God our focal point. Placing all on the altar. Exchanging our beauty for ashes. Our garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The oil of joy for mourning. Trade-in our disappointments for the demonstration of God’s power in lives! Our worry for worship! Our condemnation for the peace, reconciliation, grace, forgiveness, freedom and blood-bought redemption of Jesus! Our squandered years restored and articles of blessings returned! Refuse to go back to Babylon!
Let our hearts burn for our Great Redeemer and worship Him in spirit and in truth until the final stone in our temple is set in place. It is not by force nor strength but by my Spirit says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain will stand in your way; it will become a level plain before you and the people will shout; May God bless it! May God bless it! (Zechariah 4:6-7)