Oh Lord Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary
John D. Telgren


One of the most solemn days on the Hebrew calendar was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This was the day that the High Priest made atonement for the sins of all the people. There are a couple of curious statements about what is atoned for. In addition to atonement for the people, the text says,

"He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities (Lev 16:16)."

Similar statements are made in Leviticus 16:18 and 16:33. Not only did sin defile the people, it defiled the sanctuary. It defiled the place where Godís presence symbolically dwelt. It defiled their meeting place with God. So not only did the people need to be cleansed and consecrated by blood, the sanctuary needed to be cleansed as well.

This says something about the effect our daily lives has on our worship to God. Our daily lives can void our worship to God. For instance,

"If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless (Jas 1:26)."

This is an echo of Amos 5:21-24, which demonstrates that mistreating others can render a personís worship unacceptable and cause God to reject our worship. One cannot live wrong and worship right. That is why Peter wrote these words to husbands,

"Ö show her [your wife] honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered (1 Pet 3:7)."

Dishonoring your wife can have serious consequences on your prayers. This is an echo of Isaiah 1:15 where God said he would hide his eyes from his people when they pray to him because of their blatant sinful lifestyle.

That is why God has called us not merely to be saved, but to be holy. "...For this is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thess 4:3)."

God calls us not merely to give a holy sacrifice, but to be a holy sacrifice (Rom 12:1). We are now Godís sanctuary (1 Cor 6:19), and that calls for daily purity in thought, speech, and actions.