Where is God’s Sanctuary?
While I love reading Isaiah’s chapter six account of God enthroned among the seraphim, thresholds shaking and temple smoking at the sound of their worship, it is a bit otherworldly. It takes a great deal of focus to connect that reality with my pedestrian, somewhat mundane existence. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I realize we all want a temple experience. We want every sense thrilled.
Unfortunately, we have often made the incautious error of thinking the thrill of theatrics is comparable to the rush of the real event. We have embraced the credo of the tangible temple where we have enthroned ourselves, and thought it was the real thing. We have become devoted to thrilling ourselves with extreme sport, extreme fashion, extreme entertainment and extreme adventure. And those of us who have somehow missed out on those adventures look on a little enviously. Ever felt that way?
The Psalmist Asaph describes a similar experience (Psa.73). He admits, “I envied the arrogant”. Looking at the attractive lifestyles of the urban socialite of his day, Asaph admits yearning for the tangible temple experience too. “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure”, he bemoans. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me.” Sound familiar?
Just as we begin to feel, like him, that God’s calling on our lives is too mundane, Asaph reveals his ‘mono no aware’ moment. He suddenly becomes aware of the transience of things material; “til I entered the sanctuary of God: then I understood…” In the sanctuary of God, we finally understand. There, all that is real and true and timeless falls into place.
Where is this sanctuary? For now, it is found in none other than our own hearts. There we enthrone the King, the Almighty One, Lord of our lives. How do we worship at His throne? Through prayer.
Our perspective changes. Like Asaph, we begin to understand others better; we begin to understand ourselves better, and, by God’s grace, we begin to understand God better. We see the self-enthroned adventurers as transient. We see our envious selves as senseless, ignorant beasts. And only when we finally bow before the true King in the sanctuary of our souls do we begin to appreciate the Great Treasure that is willing to abide with us. We begin to understand that earth has nothing worth desiring besides Him.
Isn’t it time you met again with God in His sanctuary?
Sue seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker. She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God. Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh