Summary: It is a sin to desecrate the Lord’s temple, and we must learn to everything possible to avoid desecrating his holy shrine.
Lessons in Temple Building
Lesson #5 - Avoiding Temple Desecration
Duct tape is an amazing creation of man. The armed forces created it, used for the waterproofing of equipment. They quickly learned the enormous amount of uses. Even today, a few people have created television shows to create new and interesting functions for the sticky substance. Although, the history of duct tape may be an interesting pursuit, but its history is not the function we would like to look at more closely. I hope that it does not disappoint someone that we will not talk a half an hour on the history of duct tape. This function is its sticky nature. A person learns quickly that the first application is the best it will ever have. After repeated use of the substance the stickiness quickly evaporates, which leaves the piece of tape useless. Our relationships are very similar. Whether it is a marriage, friendship, kinship, or an acquaintance when the tape is used indiscriminately our relationship is disconnected. How can we avoid such turmoil and horrible situations? Even further, how can we keep from transgressing against God? Therefore, how can we avoid desecrating the Lord’s temple? The Israelites after Solomon’s death begin to use God indiscriminately, and soon His patience would wear out.
A few years following the completion of the Solomon’s temple, Solomon dies and Rehoboam begins his reign as king over Israel. Israel speedily takes a nosedive in morality and unity. Jeroboam leads a rebellion dividing the kingdom. Unity Israel will never have again. The kingdom divides geographically between a northern kingdom (Israel) and a southern kingdom (Judah). All for reasons based upon greed, pride, and politics. When there is a divided nation, a divided temple follows. Jeroboam shortly after the revolt recognizes that Rehoboam has the great Solomon’s temple. He reasoned, if he did not create a solution to not having the temple, it would not be long before his people would desert him to return to Judah. His mind racing, he decides to establish idols in the northern kingdom. He sets up high places dedicated to gods like Baal and Asheroth. He exclaims these gods really brought the children of Israel from Egypt, and sadly, the people believe every word Jeroboam professes. (1 Kings 12:26-31)
More distressful is the response given by Rehoboam. Rehoboam could have explained that the true God is Jehovah, and has demonstrated that fact throughout their history. No, he could not do the faithful act and give God the glory. How could he give God the glory, he is in the middle of a political struggle. The people want to worship these other gods, and of course, they know best. Instead, he responds to the threats of Jeroboam by creating high places himself. (1 Kings 14:22-27) In just a few years after the dedication of the temple, it has lost its significance and the people have not held their commitment.
As history progresses, Asa uses the temple treasury to buy peace. (1 Kings 15) Ahaz, later, builds a new altar like the one in Damascus. Its purpose was to be a high place for another god. (2 Kings 16:10-12) Desecrating the Lord’s temple further, Manasseh puts an idol to Asheroth in the temple. (2 Kings 21:1-7) The Lord, assuredly, has had enough of this disgraceful attitude of the Israelites. He can no longer let these people bring disgrace to His name. Therefore, he then sends the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy concerning Israel’s coming Judgment.
Ezekiel 8:1-18 “In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah were sitting before me, the hand of the Sovereign LORD came upon me there. I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal. He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God; he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. And there before me was the glory of the God of Israel, as in the vision I had seen in the plain. Then he said to me, "Son of man, look toward the north." So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar I saw this idol of jealousy. And he said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing-- the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable." Then he brought me to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. He said to me, "Son of man, now dig into the wall." So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. And he said to me, "Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here." So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel ... Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them."