I know it is the “boys of summer” in this October World Series time, and tickets are now at a premium. But I was at that SAME ballpark in the summertime and it was EMPTY… except ALL the employees and some vendors and some of the faithful were there (like 2 raincoat clad people behind home plate that never gave up)… and then others like us were actually there as “foodies”… yum crabfries… (This was NOT the house that Ruth built, but certainly the whole place was built really nice for the fans… fair-weather fans and all…)
So now there is EXCITEMENT, now eyes are FOCUSED and hearts are strung higher. The fair-weather fans now wear raincoats for a change and actually show up for thousands of dollars, whereas they could have seen the SAME team for a fraction of the price before they were winning it all. One nosebleed seat in summertime cost equal to a serving of crabfries, REALLY it did.
The sports radio commentators recently were mentioning the last World Series win, almost 15 years ago, and laughed again at the statement someone made back then, when a diehard fan said after the win: “now I can die in peace”… FUNNY… of course my ears picked up instantly on the scripture reminder of Simeon who was told by the Lord God that he would see the Savior, the Salvation of the nation and the world. Simeon WAS in the temple that day as God beckoned him to go and Simeon held baby Jesus in his arms, brought by Mary and Joseph for dedication, circumcision and prayer. “I can now die in peace.”
The Temple, that Simeon sought was not just the building but the Body, the Temple was Jesus in his arms and was Jesus the stone Rock under his feet and was Jesus born a perfect lamb as the sacrifice required of God. So much praise and tears were realized in that building – as the chosen people were building in anticipation – embracing building up FOCUS on Salvation – of Kingdom restoration. THIS WAS WHAT THEY WERE WAITING FOR. The tears were tears of realization, God DID deliver. God showed him, specifically him prophet Simeon and prophetess Anna, the PROMISE, for the RESTORATION of the Kingdom. Simeon said: “He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
In this physical temple, built and rebuilt, there was a history of crying and of sacrifice. Tears of joy and tears of sadness and tears of all emotions. This temple was built in the location where David made an altar sacrifice after he called for a census against God’s wishes and had to repent to stop a plague of an angel of death. Solomon built the actual temple, but we must see the pattern that the sacrifice came first, then the altar, then the foundation walls and roof. Worship first, woodwork after.
In the book of Ezra, that temple was described as being rebuilt after destruction. And the weeping of tears and shouts of joy were indistinguishable from each other and SO LOUD that all could hear. Those old souls saw restoration of HOPE. This rebuilding, re-laying of the foundation of the “second temple”, restored the first building by Solomon. The first temple was destroyed by Babylonians, sweeping Judah’s people of Jerusalem away to second exile (50-70 years). Cyrus of Persia defeated Babylon and allowed the exiled people to return, thousands trekked 4 months (see Ezra 2). The temple was rebuilt by the altar first, then the foundation poured underneath.
Praise then Prayers
We too must praise and worship first, our altar of sacrifice comes from acknowledging God’s Sovereignty and also His Goodness. First we must seek His Plan and not balk at its complexity or severity. David saw God’s Power, so can we. That existed first. We also must see God’s Sacrifice and realize it is so we can be with Him forever. Yes, He sacrificed FOR the benefit of us because He loves us.
Jesus as Alpha and Omega came to lay the bricks of Himself a Temple to be torn down and rebuilt. He is the Kingdom’s Prince of Peace, the Lamb Slain. May we all NOT be fair-weather fans of His flame, but blessed to stand (kneel) and cry weeping and restore SHOUTS OF JOY for our Temple HAS been rebuilt. WE HAVE SEEN THE SALVATION.
This IS the House that God Built.
There are no cheap seats but they all ARE paid for. He is good, for his mercy endureth forever! Jesus IS Alive.
We can now prepare for the Temple is coming again. Celebrate His Win, Praise His Name, then Worship and Work in sacrifice for more people need to come to Jesus still. He is still building His fan base, brick by brick. We are in the kingdom that God has built.
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
The Prophecy of Simeon
At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
The Prophecy of Anna
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.