Both the Old and New Testaments speak of the hope that God will rebuild a dwelling place for His Spirit and a way of forgiveness for His people.
Ezekiel 40:1, 2 says that at an exact moment in time, “… 25 years, at the beginning of the month, on the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was captured, on that very same day…” Ezekiel was taken to a high mountain to look out and there was given a vision of the new temple. The description of the new temple, drawn by the Lord, Himself, represented the new law and re-established sacrifices so that the people could be forgiven. Ezekiel would never forget what a beautiful way God revealed His plan of redemption.
How could I forget this day? I remember in detail that moment I stood before a young pastor in the early years of my church barely hoping that I would receive a word from God. Then God revealed Himself through a personal and wonderful vision given to the pastor, and a housewife seeking after her God experienced the power of His healing love through these words, “I am your Father; I will never leave you nor abandon you.” That vision and those words have reminded me time after time that I do not walk alone in any circumstance – God the Father is always with me; He is for me.
Yet sometimes I have grown tired and just wished that Christ would return to end difficult days of suffering. In truth, there have been times when I wished He would take me home to be with Him just so I would not have to experience the emotional pain of those dark days. So it has been easy to embrace the expectation of Christ’s return. 2 Peter 3:9 asserts that Christ is returning regardless of what appears to be delay, and I cry out with others, “Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!” In fact, this past weekend I was with my aunt whose only child died of cancer 12 years ago, and we shared this same sentiment. We wrestled with the rationale for God’s delay.
The answer is not what one might expect. As the Apostle Peter indicates, God is not slow as some have said, but He has an attitude of longsuffering toward His people that no one should perish. What?! Do you mean that His delay is not so that He can exact justice on the wicked or destroy the evil in our generation? No, God suffers a lot longer than any of us and specifically just for each one of us.
If God is longsuffering, then why aren’t we? Is it my desire that others will turn to Him and away from their unprofitable lives, or am I so self-absorbed that I would rob others of the opportunity to change and therefore perish without God?
The message is that God rebuilds what has been destroyed so that all may be forgiven and dwell with Him. He is building His temple in each of us, not to hide His Spirit behind the closed doors of a Christian’s heart. Rather, He calls us to be diligent to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” so that we can be instruments of His plan played out for others who may experience, in an exact moment of time, their own salvation.