Kia ora Cambridge Baptist and friends, welcome to level three.
I am still working from home, as it will be likely a few more weeks before we can hold any form of service in the church building, but for those who are heading back to their workplaces today be safe.
I love the opening two verses of Psalm 20, “May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!”
What a wonderful idea that God will send help from the sanctuary when we are in trouble. The sanctuary in the Old Testament for the Jewish people was the temple. The place where they came to meet with God, to worship, to seek forgiveness, to hear the Word of God spoken through the prophets and priests to find guidance.
For example in Psalm 73 when the psalmist is deeply troubled by the fact that the ungodly seem to prosper while the righteous seem to be downtrodden, he couldn’t find peace for his troubled soul until he went to the sanctuary and there he perceived their ultimate end of the ungodly. He began to see the full picture, and his wrong thinking was corrected a sit was brough into line with God’s thinking. This is what a trip to the sanctuary does.
It is tempting to draw a parallel between the temple and the church, and see our sanctuary as being our church, but where does that leave us when the church is closed. Where do we go to meet God, to worship, to find forgiveness and have our thinking corrected? Thankfully for us since we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the sanctuary is not only when we meet together as God’s people, but also when we open the Scriptures and meet God in our study, at the dining room table or in our special quiet place and God through his Spirit speaks to us in his Word. There is where we get help. This is where our minds are illuminated, this is where wrong thinking can be righted and where we can start to make sense of a confusing and troubling world because at times God draws back the curtain and shows us the big picture - His story unfolding.
When you think of this COVID-19 situation does not your heart cry out for someone to explain what’s happening? To open our eyes to what is going on. That is what the Word does. And unless you are in the Scriptures, there is no help for troubled or confused minds and souls. “May you find help in the sanctuary and receive help from Zion,” is the psalmist's prayer, why? so, "your eyes might be enlightened, and you might understand.”
I have sometimes gone into my quite time confused and discouraged, but when I have mediated on God's word and prayed, I have not only felt my spirit lift but gained understanding. And I have come out calm, at rest, and at peace. Why? Because I have received help from Zion. My encouragement to you this morning is go to the sanctuary, go to your quiet place and ask God for peace and understanding.
Lord speak to us from the sanctuary this morning and send us help from Zion. In this time of questions show us the big picture and give our hearts and souls peace.