For my devotional time with the Lord, I've been slowly reading through the book of John. I don't know about you but in the past I think I've tried to read too much of the Bible in one sitting (which really isn't that much if you're a s-l-o-w reader like me). Nonetheless, it kept me from thinking deeply about any one verse or passage. As a suggestion, when you read for your quiet time, try not to digest too big a chunk of scripture. Do not read merely for information sake. Focus on the Lord and what the passage may be revealing about Him; and what He's doing in your heart.
Yesterday I was reading from John 2:13-17 and verse 17 stood out to me. It says "His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'" This comes at the end of the account of Jesus going into the temple courts and finding merchants selling animals to the people who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. This was a problem for several reasons. First, these merchants were price gouging the people, especially those who had traveled a great distance and weren't able to bring their own animals for sacrifice to the Lord. Second, they were doing it in the temple courts making a mockery of God's house. And third, they were focused on money, not on the Lord. Upon seeing this, Jesus goes ballistic (does anyone use that term anymore?). I wouldn't say that He loses control but He is fired up! It says He took the time to make a whip out of cords and then used it to scatter the animals and overturn the merchant's tables. He shouted "stop turning my Father's house into a market" as he drove everyone out.
With words like zeal and consume, you cannot miss Jesus' intensity here. In particular, His passion about the house of God. He vehemently opposed the merchants and money changers who defiled the temple and commercialized the offering of sacrifices. Likewise, in other parts of scripture, we see Jesus react strongly to the Pharisees who misled the people about what it meant to honor and worship God. Because of His love and affection for the Father, Jesus was consumed with respect for God's house and worship of the Lord. We love our church property and building in West Covina. It is God's house. It is a sacred place where we worship and serve the Lord. That's what makes it so difficult not being able to gather together at 1100 E. Cameron Ave. However, we know that God inhabits His people: us (the church) wherever we are. And that means worship of the Lord can take place anywhere. Later in John 4:23-24, Jesus explains that "true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth."
What consumes you? I could write a lot longer about all the unimportant or even ungodly things that consume me at times. How easy it is to give ourselves to other things in this world. Does zeal for the worship of God consume you like it did Jesus? When He says "worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth," He's saying the essence of true worship is not external (not where) but first internal (how and why), engaging the Holy Spirit with your heart and head with the truth of the gospel. In his book Desiring God, John Piper says "worship must be vital and real in the heart, and worship must rest on a true perception of God." As we grow in the Lord and continue to worship Him in our homes, in front of our computers and devices, and with our families, let us worship in Spirit and in truth. God is great and worthy of our praise and offering! May zeal for Him consume you and me.
God bless you.