Sanctuaries of Worship

Preface: This week’s lesson is about worship and the wilderness sanctuary of the Israelites. It also discusses another sanctuary that is available to everyone today. Hopefully you will decide to worship there.

Most people would love to own a house. Even God wanted to own one. In fact, He instructed the Israelites to build Him a “mobile” home that when they rested on their way to the Promised Land would be set in the middle of their camp (Exod. 25:8). God’s house, the sanctuary, would help them understand His great desire to be a part of their lives. It would also help them understand His plan of salvation. Every part of the sanctuary—its furnishings, the colors used, the sacrifices, even the priests’ clothing—pointed to Christ and His work of redemption. Today, our churches serve a similar purpose. Every element of Sabbath School and the church service should draw our hearts to Christ—the love He has for us and the work He longs to do for us, in us, and through us.

There is yet another place where Christ longs to reside. “Do you not know that your bodies are a temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:19, NIV). Before Jesus finished His earthly ministry, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to His followers. As God’s representative, the Holy Spirit lives in us to guide us, to help us grow in knowledge and in faith, and to help us develop in our lives the characteristics of Christ (Gal. 5:22‒26).

That God should live in us through the Holy Spirit is no burden. Rather, it gives us freedom. Based on his personal experience of being forgiven, David could well advise future generations of God’s people to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Ps. 34:8, NIV). David knew that the center of all life is Christ in us. Apart from Him none of us can do anything and our worship is nothing but mere form. The power of Christianity is God’s presence in us. When we allow the Spirit to cultivate His fruit in us, the world will know that God has found sanctuary in us as we travel to the Promised Land that is heaven. They will see that for us every day is a day of worship.