Last week, in Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 7, we discovered that the walls of Ezekiel’s temple serve to remind us that as Christians, we are separate from the world, we are protected by God, and we are being formed into something beautiful.
Today’s lesson takes a look at the meaning and importance of the temple guard:
“The alcoves for the guards were one rod long and one rod wide, and the projecting walls between the alcoves were five cubits thick.” (Ezek 40:7 NIV)
And this is the only mention of the temple guard in Ezekiel.
We know from elsewhere in the Bible, that there were men whose specific job was to guard the temple. “Guard was alongside of guard: There were six Levites a day on the east, four a day on the north, four a day on the south and two at a time at the storehouse. As for the court to the west, there were four at the road and two at the court itself. These were the divisions of the gatekeepers who were descendants of Korah and Merari.” (1 Chron 26:16-19 NIV). These were the temple guard.
Because the temple guard dated back to the days of David and Solomon, it is only reasonable to understand why a guard, as well as a guard house, would be built into Ezekiel’s temple.
What does this mean for us today?
Just this! Our temple hearts need guarding as much, if not more, than the physical temple of old! Why? It’s summed up pretty well by Paul in Eph. 6: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 6:12-13 NIV)
In other words, our enemy is unseen and silent. He attempts to creep in, to get a foothold in our lives, to put us in bondage, to enslave us: Our enemy “…prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 8:7 NIV)
How can we stand up against this enemy?
The Bible tells us to set up a temple guard: “Above all else, guard your heart…” (Prov 4:23).
And this is the message of the guard in Ezekiel’s temple.
So how do we go about setting up the guard house in our spiritual temples?
The Bible is very clear:
“In your anger do not sin: ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.'” (Eph 4:26-28 NIV)
“Resist [the devil] standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from our mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Prov 4:23-27 NIV)
And this is just a few references, but to summarize, all of these texts warn us that we are to guard our heart-temples by putting away sin!
How can we do this?
Again, the Bible is very clear:
First, we must take up our armor: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:13-17 NIV)
Secondly, we must pray: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph 6:18 NIV)
Thirdly, we must remember that our weapons are divine and not earthly: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:4,5).
Finally, we need to take every thought captive: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:6 NIV)
Enough to ponder, but do ponder this: The temple guard of Ezekiel’s temple reminds us of the necessity of guarding our hearts against the devil by taking up our divine weapons and armor, by praying continually, and by taking every thought captive in obedience to Jesus!
Join us next week for another important lesson from Ezekiel’s temple: Lessons from Ezekiel’s Temple, Part 9: The Temple Steps.
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.)