Generally it is said that where purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable. In the same vein, where the purpose of the house of God is not known, abuse is inevitable. So, the question is – what is the purpose of the house of God?
In John 2:13-17 (also Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-48; Matt 21:12-14), Jesus Christ acted in such an unconventional way. Here, his action was not just suitable for that time; it was an action with a lasting impression. This account took place around the time of Passover. The Passover Day was a memorial of the mighty way in which God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians.
Jesus Christ was going to die on the Passover Day, but before He died He needed to cleanse the temple. There were found in the temple those who sold animals and changed money. The merchants were there for a purpose as there were specifications for the animals to be sacrificed such as age, colour, quality, etc. The merchants supplied the animals for sacrifice but they did not have the spirit of the temple.
Lessons from John 2:13-17
The story challenges us to remember that it is not ‘if’ we’re doing God’s work, it is ‘how’ we are doing God’s work. The way we serve in God’s house must conform to God’s standard.
The house that Jesus meant here is the house of God, and we are the house of God which functions as a house of prayer.
The den of thieves is not a place where thieves buy and sell, but a place where thieves hide. When the church does not pray, the church becomes a hide-out for satan and his agents.
Our temple worship and sacrifice is defiled when the House of God is not the House of Prayer. Our worship would be done in the flesh and this would be unacceptable before God.
The cleansing of the temple was necessary so that God’s healing can be manifest. It was after the temple was cleansed that Jesus healed people that came to him in the temple. Matt 21:14.
Some points on prayers
With prayer, we preserve the earth. The reason Jesus Christ said that we are the salt of the earth is because we are able to stir the hand of God for a change on the earth.
We need to repair the altar of prayer, and pray so that God can come on the scene. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah first repaired the altar before he called on God and God answered him.
There is joy in the house of God when we pray. Isaiah 56:7; Joel 1:12.
There is power in the house of God when we do corporate prayer. Matt 18:19-20; Ecc 4:12.
What to do
Our lifestyle as Christians should be anchored on prayers. The reason the House of God is the House of Prayer is because that is the place where we can find grace and help.
Zechariah 4:6-7 records, Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
The merchants in the temple do not have God as their object of worship, and all their religious actions results in idolatry. The decay we have in the body of Christ today is because the church of God has strayed from her primary responsibility of prayer. However, if we are not a House of Prayer we cannot access the help of God. We may be able to do some few things on our own, but when we attract the hand of God through prayers we are able to do much more.
A message preached by Pastor Mrs Yinka Adeyemi on Sunday, 15th October 2017