…“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Donkeys braying, birds chirping, people rushing about, voices crying, “Best deals here! Change your money at my booth! Finest animals for sacrifice!” Activity everywhere, all focused on commerce, on making a buck. Perhaps there was a contest among the moneychangers that day – who can squeeze the most money from the pilgrims today? Who’s the best swindler? They were a den of robbers.
Our Lord’s words were not soft, nor was his response gentle. With a whip he drove them out. He cried against them, “This is a house of prayer! You have made it a place of desecration, a den of robbers!”
What about today’s house of prayer, what is its condition? People sometimes are too quick to make the leap from temple to church, calling the church a house of prayer. But consider what the New Testament has told us in passages like 1 Corinthians 3:16, Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? From the day of Pentecost onward, the temple is found in the people of God. You and I are the house of prayer.
What are you doing to drive the robbers out of the house of prayer? How are you keeping it pure and holy and focused on its true business, leading people in the worship and exaltation of God? We know that God is at work to purify his people. What will Jesus be driving out of your life to make you a holy house of prayer? Is your life so filled with noise – traffic, television, work, school, games – that you bear little resemblance to a house of prayer?
Follow the Psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 in praying for God to reveal to you your faults. Ask him to show you what needs to be driven out. Then pray along with Psalm 51:10-12:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.