Thursday, June 9, 2022

Zeal for the Church (Psalm 69)

"Zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me" (Psalm 69:9).

One of the most passionate scenes in Christ’s life is recorded in John 2 when Jesus cleared the temple courts. He visited Jerusalem with His disciples and found men selling goods and exchanging money in the sacred temple. The scene struck deep into the pure heart of Christ who grieved at the way these men were profaning His Father’s name. So, He made a whip and drove all the people from the area, scattering the coins of the money changers, overturning their bargaining tables, and declaring, “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” As His disciples witnessed the scene, they remembered a line from Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Like David, who penned Psalm 69, Christ became grieved when men profaned the things of God. He thought more of God’s holiness than His own reputation and safety as He opposed the salesmen and money changers who had turned the temple into a marketplace instead of a house of prayer.

In the manner of Christ, believers should burn with a holy zeal for the purity of the church of God because they love the glory of God. When men profane the church, they show no reverence for the glory of God. Whenever people err in doctrine or obedience, they mock God and oppose His ways. Our concern for the purity of the church should stem from an intense zeal for God Himself. We do not transfer to the church what is proper to God alone, but our opposition against the wickedness of reproachful men should show that they reject God’s holy ways.

In Psalm 69, David becomes greatly distressed when he sees the error and disobedience that plague the church. When he opposed this error, men attacked him; but David was more concerned with the honor due God than his own reputation. “Until we have learned to set very little value upon our own reputation, we will never be inflamed with true zeal in contending for the preservation and advancement of the interest of Divine glory,” Calvin wrote. As Paul exhorts us in Romans 15, we must devote ourselves wholly and zealously to the purity of God in His church. We must guard against error in our beliefs, worship, and every aspect of our lives that we might not bring reproach on the glory of God.

Does zeal for the purity of God’s ways in His church consume you? Do you become distressed when you see error in the church’s teaching or sins among the members? While we cannot make whips to drive out modern versions of money changers from the church, ask God for a zeal that can confront abuse in the church.