Before you begin, pray to God for wisdom to understand his Word. Pray that he uses this time to grow you.
Wednesday: “a ruin” charayv
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
The word translated as ruin by the NIV has a very basic meaning of “dry, desolate, withered.” When referring to a building, “ruin” is a good way to get the picture across. When a plant is dry and withered, it’s a “ruin” of a plant.
This picture goes a little deeper, though. We live in a fairly wet climate. Sure, it can get hot in the summer, but in this place and time, rarely are people dying of thirst because they can’t get access to water. That wasn’t the case in the ancient Middle East. It wasn’t a guarantee that you could get enough water to survive. Crops withered and died all the time. And if a city’s crop withered, even just once, there was a good chance that a city would soon be abandoned. People wouldn’t be able to make it, so they’d move on… if they had the ability. And if they didn’t move on, they would likely die. And just as the crops withered and dried up in the fields, an entire city would dry up.
And now, God wants to shower the land with his blessings. He longs to pour out all his love on his people. But what’s happened? The people have allowed the temple to “dry up!” A wise person once said that you can tell what a person thinks of God by how they treat God’s house. And here, we see a people who offer no respect, no priority to God’s house. It is a symptom of a deeper problem: They have become unattached to God.
Jesus calls himself a vine, and his people are branches. When someone becomes unattached to Jesus, they wither and dry up. And now here, the people have allowed the temple, where they go to hear God proclaimed, where they go to offer and see the sacrifices that point to Christ – they’ve allowed the temple to dry up. And if that’s dried up, what hope do they have?
The fact is that God has allowed everything else to become “dried up” in a drought to try to wake them up to the danger. He’s called for a drought on many of their blessings so they realize their greatest need – not food, not water, but the need for God’s Word and the forgiveness he declares there.
Are you feeling dried out? Do you feel withered? Consider that perhaps you need a special kind of water… a “living water” that only God provides. You need to be in touch with God’s Word. And I’ll even narrow it down further – you need to be in touch with the Gospel. You need to see what God has done for you. You need to be watered by his grace and love, which he gives freely. You can’t pay for it – he just gives it!
Read John 15:1-17, and note the relationship between Jesus and us, between the vine and the branches.
Is there a drought for God’s Word in your life? Obviously if you’re reading this, you’re taking in at least some of God’s Word! But now, is that “living water” reaching the rest of your life? Does the rest of your life reflect that living water, or do you find yourself parched before the end of the day? Consider “irrigating” your life and using the living water you take in to water the rest of your life, and not just the time you’re digging into God’s Word.
How do you treat God’s house? If someone were to evaluate your love of God based on how you treat God’s house, what would they find?