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The Way of the Sanctuary

July 16th, 2013

Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary [in holiness, away from sin and guilt]. Who is a great God like our God?

Psalm 77:13 (Amplified Bible)

Do you have a home?

There is not another word dearer to the human ear than “home,” a place where we can be ourselves, where we find love, acceptance, and peace, a place that affirms our true identity. Even animals have their homes, a place to lay their heads, where solace, safety, and community is protected.

Does God have a home? Although the universe is His, and all that is within it, the Bible describes God as having a certain place that is His home as well, a sanctuary where sin does not enter in, where rebellion is cast out, where only purity and holiness can survive.

The modern translations all tend to translate this verse “Your way is holy,” and there is certainly nothing theologically wrong in this translation, but they do slight damage to the entire verse by translating it like this. The original does say, “Your way is in the sanctuary” – the word is “sanctuary,” bakkodesh in Hebrew – and though holiness is implied, there is something else meant here as well. God has a home, a place where sin cannot come, a place where holiness is all that is known, and from this place, God’s ways are established. Which means that His ways of living, of thinking, of seeing everything, are perfectly pure and holy.

Our ways are mixed with evil, for the finest human home, the finest Christian home, still has an element of sin present. But if we will follow Christ, if we will know His way, we must rise above the ways of the world. God did not look at fallen humanity and decided that He had to compromise His ways of acting . He has maintained His ways and His purposes. God’s home has not been polluted by the world, and our hearts should also seek after His purity and holiness.

God’s ways are not fully explained to us, for here we see and hear and know in part (1 Cor. 13:9-12), and often our fallen imaginations will fill in the gaps of our knowledge incorrectly. If we would know His ways, we must by His Spirit rise above the world in which we live. This is one reason why praise is so important to us, that we stop and consider who God is, meditate not only on what we should do (as good as that is!), but that we consider who it is that calls out to us. Praising God in His holiness helps to prepare us to learn His ways, for His holiness lifts us up value what He values, that His ways become our ways.


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