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A Resource by Mark D. Roberts

Inspiration, Volume 3

April 1, 2007 through . . . .

by Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts

Copyright © 2007 by Mark D. Roberts

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mark 11:17

He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”


Jewish people believed that the temple was their guarantee of Your blessing and protection. After all, You had chosen to make Your presence known in the temple in a truly unique way. So the people figured that this was their insurance policy. They would be safe from their enemies and even from Your judgment on their sin. So, with this presumption of immunity, then they disobeyed You, failing to do works of justice and even chasing after other gods.

Through Jeremiah, You confronted Your people with the truth of their ways. You accused them of turning Your holy temple into a "den of robbers," a hideout from the implications of their sin. You called Your people to repent and act justly, or else You would destroy both their nationa and the temple. Sadly, they failed to heed Your warning, and the temple was destroyed when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem.

Six centuries later, Jesus echoed the words of Jeremiah. And, once again, Your people failed to hear Your words. And, once again, the temple was destroyed, this time by the Romans. The "we have the temple" safety net of Your people failed once and for all.

So I wonder, Lord, do I have a "den of robbers"? Where do I hide from accountability for my actions? What in my life keeps me from a transformational encounter with You? Could it be my tendency to embrace "cheap grace" rather than true discipleship? Could my "den of robbers" be my reliance upon the promise of forgiveness when I choose to sin? Do I hide in my version of comfortable Christianity rather than taking up my cross to follow You?

Lord Jesus, even as You once entered the temple in order to cleanse it, so I invite You to enter my life. Show me my sin. Reveal the ways I have created a "den of robbers" to keep me from dealing with You. Help me to be a pure temple for Your Holy Spirit.

For Your sake and in Your name, Amen.


A model of the temple in Jerusalem. This model has been located at the Holyland Hotel in Jerusalem, but is being moved to a museum.

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah, you that enter these gates to worship the LORD. 3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell with you in this place. 4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.”

5 For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, 7 then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever.

8 Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, “We are safe!”—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the LORD. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, says the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.

Jeremiah 7:1-15

12   “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.  13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power.  15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  16 Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.”  17 But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  18 Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.  19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20


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Pray the Gospels

Pray the Gospels is one of my devotional websites. Each day I put up a portion of a gospel, a prayer based on that text, and some additional input, like a brief commentary or a quotation. I use material from Pray the Gospels on for Sunday inspiration.