How (and why) God wants you to care for your body – Ezekiel 40-44, Part 4

I love watching videos of chiropractors giving people adjustments, hearing the loud cracks. I don’t quite know why, but something in me finds it fascinating. After watching a variety of chiropractors use similar techniques, I asked my wife if I could give her an adjustment. She said, “No way!” I was kidding, kinda. I have in the past given her a back massage, and without trying it, some of her vertebrae made that cracking noise. She said it scared her, but she also admitted that it brought some relief. I have heard some people swear to the efficacy of chiropractic adjustments, and I’ve heard some people claim that chiropractics is a hoax. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is a good thing to take care of our bodies. Why?

“Your body is a temple.”

Do you look at your body that way? What does it mean that “your body is a temple?” That phrase is common in our culture, a reason for people to exercise, eat healthy, get good sleep, take vitamins, and so on. Those are all important parts of caring for our bodies, but as we will see in this post, there are other ways that God wants us to think about our bodies as a temple.

Remember Ezekiel’s vision of the bronze man who measured the temple so Ezekiel had blueprints to share with his fellow Jews living in Babylon? After taking a break for God’s glory to burst into the temple, the measurements start up again.  In Ezekiel chapter 43, verses 13-26, we read the measurements of the altar, after which God describes the process for offering sacrifices to cleanse the altar and make atonement for sins.  Look at chapter 43, verse 27.  God says that at the end of a week of making cleansing sacrifices, the priests will dedicate the new altar.  From that day forward the priests will perform their normal daily ritual sacrifices, and God will accept the nation.  What God describes in these verses is a ritual of repentance and cleansing, the beginning of a new relationship between God and his people. 

Finally in chapter 44, the bronze man brings Ezekiel to the temple, where in verse 4 we read that Ezekiel again sees God’s glory fill the temple, and Ezekiel falls face-down.  There in the presence of the glory of God, God speaks to Ezekiel, another amazingly powerful experience.  Listen to what God says to Ezekiel in chapter 44, verses 4-7.

God says he is concerned for the holiness of his people.  He says, “Enough!  Enough of your detestable practices.”  The people went astray from God, allowing detestable practices to occur inside God’s temple.  Now this new temple symbolizes the holiness God desires for his people.  God says in verses 8-31 that he wants the priests and Levites to practice a holy life too.  Previously some of the priests had not followed God’s ways.  Now he calls them, too, to a holy life.  He reminds them of their duties, but it is holiness that is most important to God.  Last week we saw in chapters 38 & 39 how God is passionate about his holiness.  We learned that holiness is best defined as “set apart”.  God is set apart.  God is utterly different from all else.  But how can people be holy?  What do you and I do with this vision of a new temple?  Does it have anything to do with Christians in 2022?  It does. 

We have seen two major principles.  First of all, God desires to be among his people.  And second, he desires that his people live according to his way of holiness so that nothing gets between him and us.  He cannot have his home with us if we are living in persistent lifestyle sin. 

It is precisely these two principles that the Apostle Paul taught to the Christians in the city of Corinth in 1st Corinthians 6:19, which is the familiar passage “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. Therefore honor God with your body.”  Paul wrote this, because he was saddened that the Christians in Corinth were behaving in inappropriate ways.  They were using their bodies in was that did not honor the fact that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Just as Israel defamed the original temple, and God now gives Ezekiel a plan for a new holy temple, Paul tells the Corinthian Christians that they they were defaming the temple of God.  What about us?  Are we defaming God’s temple, our bodies?

That defamation can happen in all sorts of ways.  Could be sexually.  Could be addictions.  Could be gluttony.  Could be the music we listen to or the TV or film we watch.  Could be pornography.  Could be indulging in luxury purchases and experiences.  Could be hoarding money and other possessions. 

If we see these kinds of things flowing out of our lives, they are almost certainly symptoms of a heart and mind which is not in line with God’s desire for our bodies to be his temple.  If we see bitterness, anger, self-righteousness, selfishness, greed, rudeness and unkindness flowing out of our lives, we have work to do.  It is important that we regularly examine our lives and hearts, to see if we are truly a body fit for the Spirit.

When we see those outward and inward symptoms, we see the condition of our hearts. 

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

For more on your body as a temple, check out this previous post.

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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