Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, June 28, 2015
Based Upon Matthew 23:37-38
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37–38).
In a guttural discourse addressed to the “establishment” that was called Jerusalem; the city that was to represent holiness unto God to the masses much like a priest was set aside for that purpose, Jesus cried out to His people. While they were to have been awaiting His arrival upon the scene, because of His pronouncement of prophecy, which proclaimed His arrival and mission, His people were not ready. As if that were not bad enough, the same people who should have been purveyors of truth, and forerunners of the then coming King, actually rejected Him. They refused to believe that this humble Man, who wanted to establish the eternal Kingdom of God, which would actually transcend temporary earthly dominance over the Jews’ Roman oppressors, could be their Deliverer. Since He did not fit the description they contrived in their minds (they had not a love for the Truth Himself), they were ripe for being deceived and believing a lie—so much so that they ultimately crucified their King.
And so Jesus, recognizing their arrogance, setting themselves up as gods, undermining the God of the universe in His mission, had had enough. With tears of disappointment He expressed anguish over the fact that those who should have been first in receiving His message, and disseminating it to the world, were instead first to reject His message and kill Him and His faithful messengers. As a loving, protective hen gathers her chickens, our Master beckoned His people, but they flat out refused to hear and respond! Instead of welcoming the opportunity to join forces with Him and turn the enemy’s kingdom on its head, they dogged His steps at every chance they got.
Pardon me if this devotional is a bit more targeted toward those of us who profess to follow the King today, but this is necessary at times. Could it be, that at a time that we are to be preparing for the Lord to arrive again, and be poised to direct the minds and hearts of the masses to the soon coming King that we, too would rather kill the prophets? Could it be that some of us, instead of preparing the way of the Lord, being clothed in His holiness, that we would rather crucify unto ourselves the Lord afresh and put Him to an open shame through our lifestyles? Could it be that some of us put up our hands and attempt to strong-arm our King as He tenderly calls to us to be gathered together under His banner of love? Could it be that our King yet again weeps over Jerusalem, those who are supposed to be heirs according to the promise made to Abraham, the church? Could it be that while He awaits our acceptance of His glorious gift of power and salvation, we would rather take life into our own hands and formulate our own earthly kingdoms? To those who in times passed and we today who would rather press our own agendas, and supplant the mission of the King, He says, “Your house is left unto you desolate!”
Now, what is the contrast of this desolation? The Bible makes it abundantly clear that His house is to be a house of prayer for all people. This presupposes that those who have already claimed to accept the title and lifestyle of being God’s people are welcoming the lame, maim, blind, sick, addicted, murderous, and evil into the house of God to be delivered from all such things. This presupposes that we who say that we love God are willing to surrender our all in order to nurture others into the fold of God who is King of His house. When He is sincerely worshipped as the King of His house, deliverance from every binding weight and chain must be the reality. Why? Because where He is worshipped, He is also present to heal.
So, what then is the warning to people like me who profess to know the King of the house? God is a Gentleman. He is longsuffering and kind, and will not force Himself upon anybody. Therefore, if we embrace an attitude of, “we have a plan, and we are going to execute it our way” in the house of God, eventually He will no longer beg us to pay attention to Him. And in that case, He moves off the scene from among those who do not embrace Him, and surrenders the proverbial house to them—leaving it desolate of His power and presence.
It is our privilege, according to the mercies of God, and His calling upon our lives, to have Him ever near, let us welcome Him into our lives and worship Him in the church and experience the life changing power of His Spirit who is available to keep us until He comes. Let’s put away all malice, strife, contentions, selfishness, backbiting, fornication, murder, stealing, and pride, and get about the business of our soon coming King.