When I was really little (like 4 or 5 years old) my parents took my brother and I on a vacation to Galveston. We lived in Oklahoma at the time so it was the first time I had ever seen the beach. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember playing in the water right next to the beach. I also remember watching all the “big” kids playing out in the “big” waves. Like most kids, I wanted to be a “big” boy and play in the “big” waves too. I asked my dad to take me out there and I remember how he helped me get out to those waves. (The waves probably were just over my dad’s waist, but they were way over my head.) Anyway, I remember holding his hand and how the waves would knock my feet out from under me and throw me around, but that my dad would never let go of me. Even when I couldn’t hold on to him, he was still able to hold me.
This story is a picture of the verse in Ephesians 4:14 that says, When we become mature in Christ, “we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men.” I think about how God can hold me when things get out of control and that if I live my life with Him, it’s like having my dad right there next to me. When the “big waves” hit, He can keep me safe and with Him, I’m able to venture out into the deep waters of life. With Him I can even look at the waves coming toward me and not feel scared, but even a little “playful” as I enjoy the ride with Him.
I always wondered about the time when Jesus got mad and threw the money changers out of the temple. (Matthew 21, Luke 19, Mark 11) I wondered why everybody thought it was ok in the first place – it seems to me like common sense that you shouldn’t sell stuff in church. Anyway, here’s what I learned – they weren’t actually in the temple, but in an area outside the temple. There was the temple, and outside it was the temple court, and then outside that was a wall called the “Soreq.” This wall was the closest that a gentile could get to the temple court and it was just outside this wall where the moneychangers were. The wall was about 5 feet and was basically designed to keep the “unacceptable” non-Jewish people out of the temple court. Jesus was mad that they were selling stuff in church, but He was even more mad that they had such disreguard for the (non-Jewish) gentiles who were there to worship. When He got mad He quoted a verse from Isaiah 56:7 which called the temple “a house of prayer for all the nations.” Notice the “all the nations” phrase. I always saw the “house of prayer” part, but. . . Anyway, He was mad that they were treating this particular group of people as outsiders when all along God had included them. Check out the verse before that one – Isaiah 56:6-7 “Foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, to love the name of the Lord. . . .these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” Anyway, I just thought that explained the verse a bit more to me.
Here’s a bit more about the “Soreq.” In Acts 21:27-32 Paul is accused of bringing a non-Jew past the Soreq and into the temple court. They’re actually so mad that they tried to kill him. Later on, in Ephesians 2:14 Paul is talking about gentiles and Jews being “one” in Christ and he says that Christ has “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Could it be that he was refering to this literal wall??
Cool stuff! I love finding things like this ’cause it helps me read the scriptures more like I think the Jewish people would have back when they were written.