Missions and Zeal for the Father’s House

In a day when we are pressured to be uncontroversial, we must remember that missions depends on a consuming zeal for God.

“I have become a stranger to my brothers and a foreigner to my mother’s sons because zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult You have fallen on me.” (Ps. 69:8-9 CSB)

When reading these words of David concerning the Lord’s house, I immediately think of this psalm’s ultimate fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

David sought to build a beautiful temple to worship the Lord, so he stockpiled all the materials that Solomon would later use to build the most amazing temple in the world. Then, while Jesus lived on earth, his life was marked by a respect for the temple and dedication to its purity.

In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. (Jn. 2:14-17 CSB)

How does David and Jesus’ zeal serve as an example for us today? Are we zealous like David and Jesus were? Are we willing to take insults and sacrifice relationship for God’s cause?

Foundationally, we know that the temple was a symbol of God’s presence (Hab. 2:20) and an aspect of the shadow of Christ’s role as mediator between God and man (Heb. 9:24). In John’s vision of the new Jerusalem there was no temple in it because God himself and the Lamb are its sanctuary (Rev. 21:22).

Following in David and Jesus’ example, we must be zealous about God’s presence and plan on earth, which is manifested in Jesus’ life, work, and holiness. Today we must be zealous for the cause of Christ on earth. We must be dedicated to respecting his holiness. That dedication cannot help but impact the way in which we serve him in our homes, in our churches, and on the mission field.

Editor’s Note: This article is sixth in a series journeying through the psalms. Read the previous installment here.