The Lord Is In His Holy Temple—A Reprise

Habakkuk had it right when he wrote, “The Lord is in His holy temple.” That statement stood in contrast to the idols of wood, overlaid with silver and gold that the people of Israel were guilty of worshiping.

What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it,
Or an image, a teacher of falsehood?
For its maker trusts in his own handiwork
When he fashions speechless idols. (Hab. 2:18)

I find it interesting that the idol is without profit, yet it is the teacher of falsehood. In other words, it cannot answer prayer; it cannot save, but it is fully capable of deceiving. The idol, a product of a craftsman’s talent and skill, induces him to believe in himself.

“Believe in yourself” is the current mantra of Western civilization. It’s an acceptable theme in children’s literature, one that is sure to garner little opposition. Who would tell someone else to doubt himself?

Well, essentially God does.

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9)

If the heart is more deceitful than all else, why would a person want to look within for his source of strength, why would he trust in himself rather than in God? He wouldn’t. So trusting himself over God is tantamount to calling God a liar.

To get to that point, of course, a person also must put himself up as God’s judge. This person, in his vast wisdom and knowledge, can make the determination whether or not God is right to say the heart is more deceitful than all else. How ironic! A deceitful heart, deciding whether or not hearts are deceitful.

Sadly, our culture is training us to abandon reason, abandon authoritative truth and moral absolutes in order to believe whatever we wish to believe.

Enter God’s word.

But the LORD is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him. (Hab. 2:20)

A person who believes in himself will still one day meet his Maker face to face, and what is he going to say? I did it my way? I followed my dream?

Yes, God will say, you believed in the wooden idol you carved out for yourself, your own speechless handiwork. And how is that working out for you?

This post is repeat of one that appeared here in May, 2012.

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Published in: on May 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. “why would a person want to look within for his source of strength, why would he trust in himself rather than in God? He wouldn’t. So trusting himself over God is tantamount to calling God a liar.”

    Maybe to get things done when I need to do them, that is why I look within myself for strength and confidence (believing in myself) to undertake the job. Why would I not trust my mind telling me what to do and ultimately my skilled judgements?

    You do exactly the same thing as I have described but you just think it is God talking to you and I know it is an operation of my brain, so not much difference at all really.

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  2. Hi, Steve, good to hear from you. The thing that you don’t take into account is that I and other believers like me know the difference between trusting in our own understanding, our own strength and in trusting in God. There is a difference. But since you don’t have God to trust in, you really can only assume you and we do the same thing.

    God does work through the gifts He’s given us—our own intellect, abilities, proclivities, talents—but He also supplies what we lack when we ask Him. He makes it all come together or reminds us of something we hadn’t thought about or helps us connect dots we hadn’t realized belong together.

    I just heard a preacher on the radio say today that when He’s studying God’s word it’s like a conversation. He reads, asks questions of the text, prays, learns, asks, and on it goes. He said he doesn’t really know where his time in the Bible ends and prayer begins. God really can and does speak and answer questions and strengthen and help, when we call upon Him. The thing we Christians need to learn is to call upon Him more and not lean on our own understanding. Thus, the purpose of this post. 😉

    Becky

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    • Hi Becky, good to hear from you as well, I think realistically that you are imagining that God guides you. It is very real to you, but you are simply a victim of an indoctrination and a very normal human phenomenon.

      “believers like me know the difference between trusting in our own understanding, our own strength and is trusting in God.”

      Non-believers like myself also understand how to trust our understanding and what our strengths are without a god. You cannot tell me that everything you do is always successful because God guided you and that he answers every one of your prayer requests, this much I do know from Christian blogs. However, I also understand from being human that often things work out very well and often better than would be expected or without any prior knowledge of something and you may be the recipient of what you would call a miracle on the odd occasion.

      Are these prayers sometimes being answered by God or are these random and natural events regardless of whatever god you worship or no god at all?

      It would be nice, and I am sure it is reassuring to have a friendly God to assist you with much of life’s pressures, however the same sensations happen to every human on our planet, only with either different gods or none at all. It is called inner speech, and it can be heard during thinking or silently reading and when inner speech is occurring, your larynx is actually making tiny muscular movements.

      It may be thought that if you hear voices they may be associated with traumatic experiences and with dissociative disorders or you would have a mental illness such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression, however research has shown that many people hear voices, and most are not mentally unwell.

      According to Peter Mosely, a psychologist with Durham University in the UK, understanding where inner monologues come from and how they work in healthy people could help us treat those who hear imaginary voices in harmful ways.

      The preacher you quote will have certain knowledge stored within his subconscious and he has a good ability at recall and will attribute it to God. We are not all able to use our brains at the same levels of efficiency considering some people can memorise massive books of information and recall whatever they want when they want.

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      • Steve, I want to say this as respectfully as I can because I know you believe what you’re saying, but you simply are talking about what you don’t know. It’s apparent you haven’t heard the voice of God, you don’t sense the presence of the Holy Spirit, that He hasn’t comforted you or guided you or convicted you of sin. So, pardon me for sounding exclusivist here, but I can’t communicate this any other way—you can’t say anything about what the Christian experiences are in relationship to God because you have not experienced them. They are nothing like you think, nothing like self-talk, nothing like mental illness. You have nothing with which to compare them because this is not your experience. It’s like trying to explain to a Martian how to play baseball when you’ve never see a game or played one yourself, only heard about it. You may have a general idea what it’s like, may even know some statistics, but you can’t know the game and can’t properly describe it as someone completely uninvolved.

        Becky

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        • Becky, you definitely are not exclusive, the many ex-Christians, some being pastors and ministers, some for over 20 years have been there and done that, and of course Muslims and many other religious believers and fanatics claim exactly as you do about their gods and believe the rest of us would not know anything about it.

          So, answer these questions: Why is it, only Christians, not Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews who will have the same sensations with their gods as you have, and were all the ex-Christians real Christians or had they faked it?

          And what evidence can you provide that your God gives you an advantage through life over other worshippers and their gods and the lives of atheists?

          You can only be very naive to agree with the top paragraph and you will not be able to answer the other one. It will also mean you are shackled within your mind restricting ideology, probably for your entire life.

          Again, I will emphasise that gods exist within the mind, you are God, you are your own god.

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          • Steve, I hate to state this so categorically, but you have been misinformed. No “former Christians” know what it means to hold fast to God and His love. There are numerous verses in Scripture that make it clear that one of the signs of a true Christian is continuing, not quitting. It’s kind of like someone saying, well I’m a major league baseball player–it’s just that I quit playing when I was in Little League. In reality, you’re NOT a major league baseball player, and you never were. Same exact thing with someone who says they once were a Christian. No! If you were ever a Christian, you’d still be a Christian. It’s not like a club you quit. It’s a new birth, a new life. Do you ever say, well, I think I’ll be un-born today and return to being a fetus. Of course not. Same with being a Christian and obtaining new life.

            As far as the difference between Christians and those of other religious beliefs, I’d say there are two: one is the grace of God through the work of Jesus Christ. All those other religions teach a “do this to win god’s favor” system. Christianity teaches, “there’s nothing you can do; just accept God’s free gift of His unlimited grace through His Son Jesus” system.

            The second thing is the Holy Spirit. I don’t think any of the other religious systems even mention a Holy Spirit or hold to the idea that their god (or gods) live inside them. That’s a huge difference, because the transforming power in the life of the Christian comes from the Holy Spirit.

            I don’t think I ever said God provides a Christian with an advantage through life, Steve. The real advantage is knowing Him. Christians still suffer and we die. But we don’t do any of it alone. When we go through hard times, we call out to God. He hears and answers, but that doesn’t mean He always puts a hedge of protection around us. He might. But sometimes His answer comes simply in His presence. He lets us know that even though the worst happens, He’ll see us through it. He won’t abandon us or kick us to the curb. In fact He actually has called other Christians to come along side those in need and, as has become common of late to word it this way, they become the hands and feet of Jesus. So that’s a two-fer. God comforts and God sends others in His family to provide physical, tangible help.

            Do other communities experience that same kind of help and support? I imagine they do. But none of them has God’s Spirit the way the believing Church does.

            I’m not shackled, Steve. Actually one of the things that Jesus Christ came to do was to set us free. It’s actually those who obey sin who are slaves of sin. They’re slaves to their own appetite, to their own imaginings, to their own opinions, to their own desire to be in control. But when Christ sets a person free, he’s free indeed.

            Becky

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          • Well Becky, thanks for you take on this, but I think I would rather believe people who are ex-pastors such as Bruce Gerencser. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. There are also many ex Christians on the many blogs in the world of conflicting ideas.

            These former Christians used to treat other Christians who left also with a wave of the dismissive hand, but they also eventually discovered when they left the ministry they were set free, enlightened and became rational, however had to suffer the painful attitudes from so called Christian people who were former friends and colleagues.

            Whatever the benefits you believe you have from Christianity it is all still only inside your heads, it cannot be identified as physically advantageous but can be beneficial due simply to the phycological effects only.

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