Have you ever wanted to explore the ruins of an ancient temple? That would be a unique experience wouldn’t it? If you had asked me what comes to my mind when I hear the word temple, I would think of King Solomon’s Temple. I have been a bible reader all my life so I obviously have given much thought to the ancient Israelite Temple and its significance in God’s Kingdom. God used the Temple to try and convey the nature of himself to mankind just as he had done with Moses and the Tabernacle. God was trying to reveal His Holiness to them: His righteous. He is still trying to do so to us today. By the way, the following passage popped out at me as I was reading the bible just recently.
“This is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness!” Ezekiel 43:12
The Mayans had temples, the Greeks and Romans had temples. There are temples all over Asia. There are many to visit, but just for the sake of imagination, would it not be an interesting adventure to explore a temple all to yourself, especially an abandoned temple. A temple no one else has explored, just waiting for you. But, unfortunately, what are the chances of finding an abandoned temple? You may be surprised you don’t have to travel to a distant or remote location.
In the New Testament, many times Jesus tried to teach his followers that God does not dwell in Temples or buildings but within peoples’ hearts. I think this was a challenging concept to his Jewish disciples. During the time of Moses while the Israelites were in the wilderness God would enter the Tabernacle. After King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem for God, scripture teaches that God chose to indwell there. But why would the Creator want to enter the hearts of people? After all, it is not always a safe place to enter. Greed, envy, anger, lust, deceit: you name it and where does it start? In the heart. Unfortunately, to some degree all of us carry some of this dirty baggage. And yet, amazingly, that is where God chooses to live. The Kingdom of God dwells in our hearts. That is where His Temple is. It is something I think most of us know intuitively, yet something I personally struggle with.
I want God to walk with me on my daily journey but I am hesitant to invite the Lord into my temple: my heart. There are too many distractions. When I sit still and try to pray, my mind wanders; the day’s schedule, bills to be paid, the upcoming football game and so forth. On a more sobering note, I’m not sure God wants to come into my heart when I have anger issues, some degree of unforgiveness towards those who have wronged me in the past, anxiety over finances, and so forth. I have shared these thoughts with my wife. She responded:
“You may need to relax more before the Lord and accept his graciousness. You may not believe you are worthy enough to invite God, but that is a lie from Satan. God is always more than willing to engage you when you genuinely seek him, even if you don’t feel up to it at that moment. Remember , you don’t always have to pray,” she adds.
“What do you mean I don’t have to pray? I thought that is what I was supposed to be doing during intimate time with the Lord?” I add, “As a matter of fact I often pace back and forth in the backyard very early in the morning underneath the canopy of the stars in order to reveal the passion of my prayer petitions to the Almighty.” However, I admit to her, “I have wondered if I am working at it more than just, ‘letting it flow,’ so to speak. I’m a disciplined hard worker, so it just seemed natural I would pray that way.”
“But that is just it,” she says. “Sit still, try to clear out the distractions in your mind, and rest. Rest in the Lord.” She goes on to say, “As I said, you don’t even have to pray. If you are inviting the Lord into your heart he will know your prayers. Through Christ we are made righteous. Because of Christ we have the holiness that God wants and therefore He can enter. Some days you will feel the presence of the Lord more than others: some days when you are tired you may even fall asleep. But enjoy it. The more often you relax and enjoy his presence, it will be that much easier for him to indwell within you. It will not be long before you earnestly seek to return to this place of rest and the easier it will be. It won’t have to be in the backyard or in the study, much less a certain time. It will be a state of mind that is abandoning itself to the Lord. That is not to say you do not need to engage in prayer, just don’t feel guilty if some days it does not seem to come naturally. The Holy Spirit will guide you. There will be days when you are drawn to your knees. Other times you may want to ‘just sit,’ and peacefully reflect: yet you are still praying even if you are not directly articulating the words in your mind.”
My wife calls it, “Abandonment to God.” She explains, “We all have experienced the feeling of being abandoned to God. Yet it is those times that provide an opportunity for God to reveal himself or his nature to us: His mysterious ways. You and I grew up with the word ‘surrender,’ but I like the feeling of being abandoned to God’s providence. Each of us has a choice to feel abandoned by God or to abandon ourselves to him.”
As each of us journeys through life we will realize more and more our human limitations physically and emotionally coupled with a spiritual neediness. I think God encourages each of us to invite him into our hearts as we become Temples of Abandonment. Our exploration is probably the most important search of our life. Life’s treasures await us all in these temples…..these abandoned temples………God’s Temples.
The fabled wealth of King Solomon is legendary. He is thought to have been one of the richest men to have ever lived and many believe he was perhaps the wealthiest of all time. If what he possessed in his time was compared to today’s prices, his net worth would easily outpace the richest people living in modern times. He would have been richer than the oil baron John Rockefeller at the turn of the 20th century or the computer billionaires of the early 21st century.
His kingdom is written about in the Old Testament books of 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles. The vastness of his wealth and how he managed the Israelite Empire he ruled over is quite detailed in these accounts. He lived almost three thousand years ago. He oversaw the building of the Temple in Jerusalem for the Israelites to honor and worship God. It was probably one of the most expensive architectural accomplishments ever completed. Rulers from distant places, such as the Queen of Sheba, traveled to visit him and marveled at his great wealth. It has been recorded that the utensils and drinking cups of his palaces were only of gold. It was plentiful enough in his household that silver was not considered of much value. (1st Kings, chapter 10, verse 21)
Hundreds of years after King Solomon lived, the Babylonian Empire(located in present day Iraq)destroyed the Temple and looted the treasures. Archeologists discovered Babylon in the mid 19th century but no treasures of King Solomon. Yet his greatest treasure remains with us to this day: his wisdom. He is regarded as the wisest man who ever lived. The recorded writings of his wisdom are in the book of Proverbs of the Old Testament. The following is a sample of his inspired words:
“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver and her wages better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.”
When players compete in TreasureTrove, they are trying to collect as many treasures as they can as quickly as they can. Included in the playing of the game are situation cards that by chance allow players different options. Some of the cards allow players to acquire more treasure, some cause a lose a turn, while some send players to different places on the game board. There are also some cards that offer a quote of wisdom to remind of us life’s true treasures. A sample of one of such card reads as follows:
A card such as this one is not going to help one win the game but reminds us hopefully that treasure is held in our hearts not just in our hands.
To learn more about the game go to www.TreasureTroveGame.com