Strangers in the Sanctuary
“In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations.”
One of the great sins of Israel in Ezekiel’s day was that they allowed strangers in the sanctuary. These “strangers” were commonly known as foreigners who had immigrated to their country and were not circumcised as the law of Moses had commanded. The lack of following Moses’ law in the flesh caused these same people not to follow the law of God in their heart. They were not only “strangers” on the outside, but also on the inside.
Furthermore, these “strangers” had no business doing the work of the tabernacle because they were not of the tribe of Levi. God specifically specified to Moses that only the tribe of Levi was to carry out the activities in the temple. Instead, Israel thought they could let these “strangers” into the sanctuary to do the service of God’s ordinances, which was nothing short of rebellion. It was the act of allowing these “strangers” to offer the holy sacrifices that became an abomination to God.
Though we are no longer under the law of Moses, the message in this verse is very clear to the believer today. The believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 6:19 makes this clear when it says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” In other words, your heart and life is the sanctuary that the Holy Ghost lives within, and you are to be careful not to allow strangers into the sanctuary of your life and heart.
Let me ask you; have you allowed the stranger of unconfessed sin into the sanctuary of your heart? Are you harboring these unconfessed sins thinking that God doesn’t care? Sin is always a stranger in the believer’s heart. You belong to God, and no sin is to be allowed into your life.
Moreover, have you allowed the wrong attitudes in the sanctuary of your heart? Do you harbor bitterness, anger, jealousy or ill feelings towards others in your heart? God reminds the believer in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” These attitudes have no place in the sanctuary of the heart of the believer.
Furthermore, have you allowed carnality and worldliness to fill the sanctuary of your heart? Matthew 6:24 reminds the believer, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” You cannot allow the world’s influences in your life and still keep God first in your heart. Worldly and carnal influences quickly push out the spiritual influences that should inhabit the sanctuary of the believer’s heart.
My friend, the worst thing about allowing strangers in the sanctuary of your heart is that it grieves the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 commands the believer, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Are there strangers in the sanctuary of your heart that are grieving the Holy Spirit? Let me encourage you to clear the sanctuary of your heart of any stranger so that the Holy Spirit of God feels at home in your life.