Year 2014 have finally came, and 14 days have passed since the new year day. So have we made our resolutions?

2 Chron 29:3-8 Records the things King Hezekiah did during his new year. Although the Jewish new year is of a different day than our calendar, but what he did is worthy of our consideration.

Then he opened the doors of the temple and to clean the temple. They took out the debris that are within the temple, and the process took around 16-17 days to complete. From here we can see that the Israelites had closed the temple for a long time, they have stopped offering sacrifices and they no longer served the LORD.

Hezekiah understood the reasons for all the trouble that Judah encountered was due to their disobedience with God, for the Jews no longer offered incense or burnt offerings to the God of Israel. In the end the Wrath of the Lord fell upon them.

Therefore King Hezekiah exhorted them saying

“ Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, 
yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His
  sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and
  serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His
  wrath may turn away from you. 

  For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and 
your children will be treated with compassion by those 
who lead them captive, so that they may come back to 
this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful,
and will not turn His face from you if you 
return to Him.” – King Hezekiah (2 Chon 30:8-9)

Sometimes, when we sin against God, we find it hard to face him. We often feel embarrassed to return, but King Hezekiah tells us that God is gracious and merciful.  He will never turn his back to whomever who comes to him for mercy.

Sometimes we feel that God doesn’t care about us and he said that he turned his back at us. But in fact, it is we who had turn our backs towards God. We cannot see him because our backs are facing him, if we turn around and look, we will always find God looking at our direction, waiting for his child to turn back.

Considering The Example Of Jacob and Hagar

Let us consider the story of Jacob, we knew that he used deception to trick Isaac to bless him. As the result , Esau wanted to kill him and he must flee from his house alone.

We can imagine how he felt as he lay down at Bethel, lonely, unsure of his future. He must have lots of thoughts and fears, he must have regretted much.

For he feels that he is no longer pleasing to God, and he would imagine God had ignored him. But yet God was there, telling him that HE is with Jacob, no matter where he goes. When Jacob woke up he exclaimed

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”  – Jacob (Gen 28:16)

Therefore, he made a vow to return to Bethel and worship the Lord if he returns safely. He wasn’t aware that God was taking care of him even as he escape.

Let us consider Hagar, when she angered Sarai her mistress. As the result of her pride, she was chased out of the house, and she was unsure of her future, as she had lost her only reliance. As she regretted and cried, God appeared to her, telling her to go home, be subjected to Sarai. Hagar exclaimed

“Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” – Hagar (Gen 16:13)

These two stories reminds us that our God is a God of grace, if we turn back to him, he will never ignore us. Very often it is we who turn our backs towards God. If we are willing to return to him, his grace will be with us.

The Need For Resolve To Return To The Lord

When Hezekiah led the people to return to God, he led them to make a resolve. I am sure we follow the yearly tradition to make resolutions to ourselves (though I seriously wonder if we ever achieved all of them)

I am sure everyone would have set targets with regards to career, life and ideals. But have we made a resolve to turn back and receive blessings from the Lord?

It would be sad if we do not, for our lives are constantly changing, and only the promise of the Lord is steadfast, if we are able to receive his blessing, we would be able to weather through all obstacles in life.

Perhaps we may have a easy year ahead, perhaps we may face tribulation. But with Gods guidance we could sail through the problems in life. We know the global outlook is usually bleak, and the divide between the rich and the poor gets larger and larger.

As life grows harder, we need God to be with us even more.

When Jacob is younger, he used all his means and deception to grab on to everything his hands could gather. But eventually he realized that only by holding on to God he could receive security.

Therefore as he wrestled with God , he held on to him shouting

“I will not let You go unless You bless me!” –Jacob (Gen 32:26)

As the result, God blessed him and change his name, he was no longer Jacob, but he became Israel. Likewise, this same change need to happen in our life, we need to change from being Jacob to Israel

Jacob mean “Supplanter”. Very often in life, we too supplanted and held on to many things in the world. But yet we must learn to hold on to God, for he is worthy of our grasp.

In life, we do encounter failures, we do have our fears and sometimes we murmur against God. But if we are able to hold on to him, we will have peace and hope in him.

When the peace of God rules in us, we can be like Hezekiah, so let us make a resolve to cleanse the temple. Only by so doing can we  receive the blessing of the Lord.

Where is the Temple of God today?

“Do you not know that you are the temple of
  God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will 
destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, 
which temple you are.” Paul (1 Cor 3:16-17)

Over here Paul tells us that our bodies is the temple of God. We are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit Of God dwells within us. If we regard our bodies as a temple, our attitude in life would be different.

We would not choose to destroy or defile it for we know it is a glorious temple. For we know that our God is holy and we are his temple. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this point, and the church of Corinth is one example.

The church in Corinth regarded their body as a tool to satisfy their lust and their heart desires. They take care of their bodies, simply because if it is not done, they will not be able to enjoy their lust. They do not regard their bodies and the temple of the Holy Spirit nor do they consider God who dwells together with the.

Indeed, the church in Corinth failed at that time, but what about us today? Do we still regard our bodies as the body of God? Do we still preserve our holiness and purity within us? Do we allow evil to exist in our hearts?

Since we have the understanding that our bodies is the temple of God, I would share with everyone how does one cleanse his own temple in the next post.