Merciful Lord, Build Your Sanctuary

Artist: CONNIE CHRISTENSEN

1 When Israel went out of Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became His sanctuary,
And Israel His dominion.
3 The sea saw it and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
The little hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you fled?
O Jordan, that you turned back?
6 O mountains, that you skipped like rams?
O little hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain of waters.
Psalm 114

O that we are living sanctuaries that are under God’s dominion. What a great picture of His love. What a great picture of the omnipotent God whose very presence causes mountains to fall. What a great picture that the strongest stalwarts of  protest and the frolicking, frivolity of the apathetic  prance away in His presence…

We are a living sanctuary. Our bodies are temples. These are vessels where the Holy Spirit has residence. So many pictures as God teaches us through stories and metaphor, pictures and symbols. He is almighty.

We speak not the language of this world. We were captive but destined for release at His will. The language the world speaks is drowned in our own Red Sea as the suffocating waters overtake the foolish ramblings of the world. As in the Exodus, we were neither cast off nor did we steal off in secret night, but walked to God in His glory: all witnessed. We walked in desperation, in weakness, in humble seeking, but we did so on our two feet to His open arms. Free will.

The strength of mountain and the lesser hills…How they protest. With every debate, with every apathetic casting of stones, God shows his strength and power over His domain. For every strong ram and frivolous lamb, shall skip away in His presence for apathy is foolish and strong-willed disagreement are worthless from the perspective of being within God’s dominion.

We see His face and all others are separated because where we go, the sea closes back up, the river runs again after us. Waiting, ever-waiting for another soul to cry for mercy. At this cry, a single ram, a little lamb, leave their once safe stronghold and wonder, “Why is there emptiness?”. These are the ones who will see light in darkness. There is hope for the wicked. Most will flee in His presence, some will reconcile reason with action. The fool’s reason produces foolish action. Soon some will see.

… and a new sanctuary is born from stone. A heart immovable becomes malleable in His hands for there is no alternative as Man ever seeks inside. Deeper and deeper. It is certain the mind is complex and will accommodate the insatiable searchers of solution for their malady. But there is an end to each mind. Complexity of our thought is mere frivolity over time. The debate: “There is no God!” flees as the ram. The fleeting attitude of frivolity as a lamb, soon tires. The grass dries.

But then there is God’s mercy.  The sea opens, the river dries and the ram and the lamb walk together: the strongholds of objection and the frivolity of apathy. They walk together through these dry places. For as His presence causes those to flee, His mercy ever-beckons.

They shall flee but some will come. Our Lord is a merciful Lord. His omnipotent presence, but His gentle touch. Shall the ram skip away with the lamb? Mostly yes. But a few will look back and see that a once powerful stronghold-a powerful debate and the apathy, are meaningless in the perspective of time. Time itself becomes meaningless. God dries the waters for the crumbled mountains, for the rolling hills. For therein lies a picture of the how the strength of a strong tongue of objection, of human rationale, or the voice of the apathetic who really care not for all will turn to dust, won’t it? The picture shows that the end of human wisdom doesn’t approach the wisdom of God.

We have crossed our wilderness, our river, our sea. Soon others will as well. For the mere strength of the Lord turns heads and they will skip off or kneel and pray: “O, Father, I am at my end. Build Your sanctuary within my heart”

Rick Stassi

March 9, 2012

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The Red Sea Place

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where, in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back, 
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene 
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind, He will heap the floods, 
When He says to your soul, “Go on.”

And His hand will lead you through – clear through –
Ere the watery walls roll down,
No foe can reach you, no wave can touch, 
No mightiest sea can drown;
The tossing billows may rear their crests, 
Their foam at your feet may break, 
But over their bed you shall walk dry shod 
In the path that your Lord will make.

In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you on from the place of the sea 
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed, 
You shall be no more afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place, 
A place that His hand has made.

Annie Johnson Flint

We have all been at this place. We wish not to go forward for fear of unknown. We cannot retreat because our past experience has been loathsome. Solutions evade our limited thinking, for there are obstacles planted in our minds, distractions in our thoughts.

We must seek God for help or bury our burden deep into the darker places of our hearts where they revisit us in the future.

We trust He will walk us through our troubles and we will fear no evil. We want an optimism that the new land ahead will be better than where we come from. We are at the precipice.

Life’s burden come at us on chariots – bearing down upon us. Hearts beating faster and air is growing thinner. Breathe.

So then what must we do at the precipice? No option for return and fear of the unknown ahead. God said:

“Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:12

 Blessed are we who trust God. If we have faith in the unseen God, we then shall have trust in the very same. We are committed to the wisdom that Jesus walked this earth as God and Man. We believe and have enough conviction in this fact that as He laid His life down for us, we will lay ours down for Him.

God’s pleasure, the unbelieving world’s dilemma.

Trust is our vehicle to the unknown ahead. “We fear no evil” written in Psalm 23, and yes, we fear no evil. For our ‘fear’ is in our Lord. The difference is a fear of the unknown darkness and a fear that is reverence for the known God. We are freely offered grace and Light from this darkness. Step forward in trust.

We are at a Red Sea place often. It is life full of good and bad. There is no scale of severity that will test our trust. The are levels of consequence, but our trust is unwavering and level. Trust in the Lord is a steadfast trust. His love and mercy in return is also steadfast. So, at the precipice, forge onward. Ride the winds of trust in our Lord. He would never bring you to the precipice in the first place just to leave you at your own wit. He will remain with you: Always has, Is now, and always shall be. Trust Him for the sea will part and we shall walk on dry land.

Rick Stassi

rev1: 2/9/12

rev2: 1/6/13