Last week, in Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 2, we discovered that the uniform shape of the described temple teaches us to live in harmony with God’s Spirit. We must allow God to be both Savior and Lord of our lives. Only then can we be effective witnesses! Today’s lesson takes a look at the importance of measurement:
“In the man’s hand was a measuring rod … and he measured the width of the wall structure, one rod … and measured the threshold of the gateway…” (Ezek 40:5,6 NKJV)
As you continue to read through the next five chapters, you will note that literally everything was measured and the measurement was recorded.
It could be said that God wanted to ensure that the people knew the exact measurements of the temple to be built. It could also be said that Ezekiel himself was conscientiously ensuring that those who reconstructed the temple would have an exact blueprint. Both of these ideas are likely true.
But we aren’t planning on building a physical building. We have no use for the exactness of these measurements, so why do we need to be aware of them?
The concept of a measuring line or a measuring rod is found in several places in the Bible, and each time, it seems to signify one of two important meanings. The first is that of judgment:
“The Lord determined to tear down the wall around the Daughter of Zion. He stretched out a measuring line and did not withhold his hand from destroying.” (Lam 2:8 NIV).
The idea is also found in Zech 5:5-6, where God is setting the measuring line against His people, and in 2 Kings 21:13-14, where God is setting the measuring line against Samaria and the house of Ahab.
The second Biblical use of the measuring line speaks of setting apart for sacred purposes:
“Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Zech 1:16 NIV).
We can also look at Zech 2:1-5, which speaks of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, describing it as a city that will be without walls because God will become its walls. This would indicate that the city is set apart for sacred purposes. Then, there is also Rev. 11:1-2, where John is told to measure the temple of God, but not its outer courts, because the temple is for the Jews and the outer court is for the gentiles. This implies that the parts measured would be set apart for God’s sacred purposes.
When we look closely at these two different ideas, it becomes clear that they really mean one and the same thing. The concept is this: The measuring line sets things apart for sacred purposes, but it is also a way to identify if what is set apart measures up. If it doesn’t, judgment is pending!
So what does the fact that Ezekiel’s temple was measured to its minutest detail have to do with us, today?
Let’s remember 1 Cor. 3:15: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
As living temples of God’s Spirit, God is calling us to be set apart for sacred purposes: “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:19-20 NIV).
In other words, He is asking us to live apart from the world we live in.
This idea is seen throughout the New Testament:
“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Cor 6:17 NIV)
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV) (See also John 17:14-16, James 4:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22, etc.)
The idea is this, friends! We are temples of God’s Spirit, and though we live in the world, we need to be separate from the world, set apart for Holy purposes. Because of this, we need to attempt to live holy lives, lives that reflect that we are set apart: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV)
Remember, living this way gives us protection: “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1 Cor 3:16-17 NIV).
But just as the measuring line was brought against Jerusalem and Samaria, living unholy lives will only bring about judgment and destruction.
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: As temples of the living God, we are not our own. We have been bought with a price and are set apart for sacred purposes. Let’s start living our lives with this is mind. Let’s live holy lives, lives that honor the God who desires to dwell in our temples. In so doing, we bring about blessing to ourselves, but in not doing so, we bring the measuring line of judgment upon ourselves.
Join us next week for Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 4: Palm Trees and Cherubim
God bless each of you as you seek to draw closer to Him!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .
(To access the entire “Lessons From Ezekiel’s Temple” mini-series, please click here.)