Country Boys’ Bling

Matthew 24:2 “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Observation: Four verses earlier Jesus had mourned over Jerusalem’s coming destruction, saying He had longed to protect her “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”. Then He had said, “Look, your house is left to you desolate”. (Verse 23:38) As if to punctuate the point He then left the temple for the last time, leaving it desolate indeed.

Application: Could anything be more desolate than the thing Christ has left? Hosea 9:12 says, “Woe to them when I depart,” and depart He had.

The disciples, naturally, still didn’t get it. Like me, they still too often viewed things through fleshly prisms. They were impressed by the beauty of the building itself (v. 1), and it was indeed magnificent, built with gleaming white stones and adorned with artwork and fancy bling unequalled anywhere. Like country boys come to the big city, the disciples’ focus was outward.

Jesus, though, never valued external edifices. When He wept, it was for lost souls. His grieving was always for the human heart bereft of relationship with its creator. The temple structure, sumptuous as it was, had been sullied by prostitutes and money changers; it held no attraction for Him.

As if to emphasize the point, He said that every stone would be thrown down. He wasn’t foretelling the temple’s eventual rot; the passing centuries would not merely cause decay; that would be far too passive an end. No, this particular building had a laser-guided weapon aimed at its heart. He had in mind a proactive, aggressive, intentional destruction, one that would be accomplished by God Himself, just as it would be God who three days later would grasp the thick temple veil in His mighty hands and rip it from top to bottom.

With God’s language being crystal clear, why am I so like the disciples, enamored of outward things? Why do flashy cars and big houses capture my attention? More to the point, why do I hope others might be similarly impressed with my holdings? I must confess how easily captured I am by such foolishness. Like a child building a high tower with blocks, all will come crashing down when the younger sibling approaches to purposely smash it. The issue isn’t simply that those things won’t survive into eternity, but that God hates my focus on them even now. Seeing my wrong priorities, He promises to intentionally throw all those things down ‘til nothing remains save my utter reliance upon Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in Your pursuit of a voluntary lover You find it necessary to lay siege to every system, every thing, that I have lifted above You. The very thought of that takes my breath away, yet I want more than anything to cooperate with You. Make me like You, Lord.

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