The House Of God
A daily devotion for August 22nd
34 "We—the priests, the Levites and the people—have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the Law.
35 "We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the LORD each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.
36 "As it is also written in the Law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests ministering there.
37 "Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and oil. And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work. 38 A priest descended from Aaron is to accompany the Levites when they receive the tithes, and the Levites are to bring a tenth of the tithes up to the house of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury. 39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay.
"We will not neglect the house of our God."
We will not neglect the house of our God. (Nehemiah 10:39b)
Throughout the history of Israel, the temple, or the tabernacle before that, was called
the house of God. God signified His presence there by the shekinah glory that was located in the Holy of Holies. Today, under the New Testament, no building is ever to be called
the house of God. This has been ignored by churches throughout the centuries, and temples, cathedrals, tabernacles, and church buildings have all been called
the house of God. If you look at the teaching of the New Testament, however, you will find that it is not a building but the people who are the house of God. At one point, we even changed the sign in front of our building to reflect this truth. Where it says
Peninsula Bible Church, we added the words
Meets Here. Thus, it is not the building that is the church--it is the people who gather here. They are
the house of God.
Notice the commitment of these people to attend faithfully the worship services of the temple. We all need the ministry of the saints. Paul prayed that the Ephesians
may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19). You cannot do that without the ministry of other people. Hebrews has a specific admonition to that end:
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). The writer is referring to the return of Jesus. As we see it nearing, we need all the more to gather together because we need each other's support.
Two men of widely different temperaments work together. Normally they would not get along very well, and they might not even like each other. But they work together, and both agree that having to work with someone with whom they do not particularly have an affinity has been a blessing to them. They have learned how to appreciate someone different from themselves. They have learned how to be tolerant and patient with one another. Though it has been a struggle and they have had their moments, they both agree that God has used this to teach them how to grow. So even those in
the house of God who irritate us can be of benefit to us.
Father, thank You for the house of God--for those men and women You have placed around me, who in one way or another I desperately need. May I learn to appreciate and love them.
Life Application: Have we learned patience and received blessing from believers who are different from us? Are we faithfully meeting and ministering with others in the body of Christ?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.