“True Zeal for the Lord’s House”

Psalms 69

5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.

9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

David is the author of this psalm and he spoke these words about his own life. But it is also a prophesy of Jesus’ life and it can also apply to other godly people in the Bible.

However, before David comes to these profound words, we find in v. 5 that he is busy with his sin. He says, “you know my foolishness, and my sins are not hidden from You”. We too cannot reach v. 9, where the zeal of God’s house consumes us, unless we’ve dealt with our sin. It is part of man’s nature to hide his sin.

David also kept the other believers in mind, “Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me”. Yes, it is true that we are individuals before God and each one will have to give account to God individually, but the zeal of God’s house always goes hand in hand with a right relationship to the other believers – where we have a zeal for the church to be healthy and pure.

David loved God’s house. He loved and longed for God’s presence. After David became king he longed that the ark of God be brought to Jerusalem. At first it wasn’t successful and a man even died, because he didn’t do it in God’s way, and David feared God. But a few months later he went about bringing God’s ark to Jerusalem in God’s way. David rejoiced greatly that day and danced for joy, but not everybody rejoiced with him. Even his own wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, resisted him and mocked him. But he strengthened himself in the Lord.

Later he sought to build a house for the ark of God, because God’s ark stayed in a tent while he stayed in a palace. However, the Lord didn’t allow David to build Him a house, but told him that his son will do it. David didn’t become sour because of that. He did what he could and what he was allowed to do. He made preparations in abundance and also drew up the plan as God had revealed it to him. Because he had this zeal in his heart he couldn’t become negative because God has chosen his son to do it. He supported the one God has chosen with all his heart.

Are we in a palace while the Lord is in a tent in our lives? How much of our time, effort and finances goes into God’s work and how much is spent on our own interests?

Our fallen nature naturally has a zeal for ourselves. Paul writes:

Philippians 2

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Let’s look at other holy people in the Bible who had this godly zeal in their lives. Anna the prophetess had this zeal. In Luke 2 we read how Joseph and Mary met her in the temple when they brought the child Jesus to the temple. She never left the temple day or night, but served the Lord with fastings and prayer. She remained in God’s presence. We must never leave God’s presence, whether we work, drive on the road, eat or drink or play. God calls us to this life. Firstly we must fast from sin – that we put a guard before our lips and heart. May we guard our thoughts, feelings and emotions and abstain from sin. That’s how we bring glory to Him. May we walk with God in His fear. Our country cannot stay the same if this becomes true in our lives.

Jesus saw a certain poor widow who put in 2 coins into the treasury in the temple – it was her whole livelihood. Jesus said that she had put in more than all the others because they’ve put in from their abundance. If God’s zeal burns in our hearts we won’t keep one thing back, but will put all on God’s altar. Then no sin can bind us, because we are in His hands that He might do with us as He pleases.

This zeal for the Lord and His house burned in Paul’s life. He had a zeal which never stopped and it drove him on and on. He had a zeal for God’s people that they would walk in God’s way. He would return time and again to strengthen and help them. He would even appoint co-workers to stay with some congregations to help them grow.

Paul went through much hardship and sacrificed much to establish the church in many areas through the preaching of the Gospel.

He writes:

2 Corinthians 11

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

Lastly let’s look at the Lord Jesus in whose life this verse is fully fulfilled. At the age of 12, when his parents sought Him they found Him in the temple busy with God’s work and learning about God’s ways. When His mother couldn’t understand it He replied, “did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”. May our children also be busy with God’s work from an early age. During His ministry He cleansed the temple. In John we find it at the beginning of His ministry while in the other gospels at the end of His ministry. It’s as if He had to do it twice. He knew they would hate Him for cleansing the temple and touching their business, yet He wasn’t afraid, for the zeal of God’s house consumed Him. And this was just the beginning, for He followed His Father’s will till the cross where He spent His life and last drop of Blood so His church and bride can be cleansed.

Are you part of His pure bride who has come out of the world and has been washed in His precious Blood? Is your body His temple or filthy and a den for demons?

Are you part of His bride together with the other believers?

Others may have a zeal for many things – sin, material things, fame, etc. Many die in our country because they have another zeal and are consumed by lust. But God cares for His children, and if we seek His Kingdom first, the other things will be added.

Let us pray for one another that this verse may be true in our lives, that the zeal for God’s house consume us.