Thus said the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east shall be shut the six working days…
God has mercifully imparted to human life a pleasant variety. It might have been, especially as the result of transgression, a dull monotony. It might have been day without night; a continuous season, neither summer nor winter; working days in perpetual succession. But as in nature he has given to us the delightfu1 spectacle of mountain and valley, land and. water; as in the circumstance and experience of life we have youth, manhood and. old age; so also we have secular days and sacred.
I. NATURAL OBJECTS ARE APPOINTED AS LESSON-BOOKS IN RELIGION. Sun and moon and stare not only serve as luminaries of our earth, they are appointed as signs. They signify unseen and spiritual realities. The sun speaks to us of another Fount of light - the Sun of Righteousness, who illuminates man's soul. The moon, with her many phases, serves as an emblem of the Church, receiving her light and. heat from the Sun. Every mountain appeals to us to rise above the common level of a mortars life. Every flower points to spiritual beauty and. usefulness, while it preaches likewise a lesson of man's brief opportunity. So when the gate that looked towards the east was opened, it was that the worshippers might be moved and lifted heavenward, by the sight of the rising sun. This privilege was repeated on the day when the new moon appeared. Incarnate as we are in flesh and blood, we need to learn from every quarter lessons of spiritual moment. God deigns to instruct us by the service of a thousand, teachers. If our eyes are open wide we may learn gospel lessons on every side.
II. GOD IS SPECIALLY ACCESSIBLE TO MEN AT SPECIAL SEASONS. He came near to Jacob in a special manner by the vision at Bethel. He came down on Horeb, and. talked, with Moses as a man talketh with his friend. Especially he has ordained the sabbath as a time when he will commune with men. Even ignorant men have discovered that rest of body and. intellect one day in seven is a benefit to the man and. to the nation. But without doubt God sees a deeper reason for the institution of the sabbath than do we. Certain it is that in the olden time he regarded the observance of the sabbath as emphatically the maintenance of men's covenant with him. The violation of the sabbath obtained his withering frown. And the intrinsic value of the day is as great now, although its violation be not followed by the summary punishment of God. The sabbath day is peculiarly a day "in which he may be found." Having spread the banquet for human souls, the King comes near to see his guests.
III. FOR THE HIGH ENJOYMENT OF GOD'S PRESENCE THE INNER DOOR OF THE HEART MUST BE OPENED. The hindrance to intimate intercourse with God is on our side. On God's side there is eager willingness. "We are not straitened in him." He is prepared to make his presence a joyous reality as much as ever he did to saints in the olden time. We may walk with him as Enoch did, if we will. We may have communications with him as Abraham did, if we will. The hindrance is in our own will. If only the door of the heart be unbarred, if only our strongest affections wait on the threshold to give him welcome, he will meet with us, and give us all the comforts of his friendship. Other guests are often entertained, such as vain ambitions, animal inclinations, worldly cares, evil companionships, and we are ashamed to bring in the heavenly King. Alas! too often the door is locked on the inside.
IV. IN RELIGION ONE CAN BE HELPFUL TO MANY. The prince exerts an influence either for evil or for good over multitudes. His example is especially contagious. If he is sincerely pious, he can induce many to serve the Lord. But even the prince may not bring the sacrifice near to God. His rank and office are limited by Divine authority. In the service of the sanctuary he may not be supreme. Even the king must draw nigh to God through the offices of the priest. The priest likewise renders useful service to multitudes. He speaks for them to God. He conveys substantial good from God to them. So every man, in proportion to his faith and piety and prayerfulness, may win over others to the side of virtue - to the side of God. Each of us occupies a center, and by a holy character we can draw, by the magnetic power of love Godward, men and women from a wide circumference. As "one sinner destroyeth much good," so one saint may save alive a myriad of his fellow-men.
V. OUR HOLIEST WORSHIP ON EARTH IS ONLY ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE TRUE TEMPLE. So encompassed are we with a material nature, that we can get no further than the margin of the eternal kingdom. We can see the great realities "only through a glass darkly." Yet we make them more obscure by our spiritual indolence and our undue attachment to earthly pursuits. Above everything, candor and openness of soul are needed to allow the light of truth to stream in. We can make earthly and carnal all the sensibilities of our souls by the habitual neglect of God's presence. But if we wish honestly and earnestly to know God more, and to have friendly intercourse with him, we can. The open door of the heart will be a welcome to God well understood. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
WEB: Thus says the Lord Yahweh: The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened.