Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in verses nineteen through twenty-four of the forty-sixth chapter. In these six verses, we find another specific place within the Temple of the Lord mentioned—a place known as “the boiling places.” “Then He brought me through the entrance, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers for the priests, which faced north; and behold, there was a place at the extreme rear toward the west. He said to me, THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE THE PRIESTS SHALL BOIL THE GUILT OFFERING AND THE SIN OFFERING AND WHERE THEY SHALL BAKE THE GRAIN OFFERING, IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY NOT BRING THEM OUT INTO THE OUTER COURT TO TRANSMIT HOLINESS TO THE PEOPLE. Then He brought me out into the outer court and led me across to the four corners of the court; and behold, in every corner of the court there was a small court. In the four corners of the court there were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty wide; these four in the corers were the same size. There was a row of masonry round about in them, around the four of them, and boiling places were made under the rows round about. Then He said to me, THESE ARE THE BOILING PLACES WHERE THE MINISTERS OF THE HOUSE SHALL BOIL THE SACRIFICES OF THE PEOPLE” (Ezekiel 46:19-24).
What is so incredibly unique about this particular set of verses, is that when leading the prophet Ezekiel to the inner places of the Temple, He spoke of them as “the holy chambers for the priests.” There were designated and specific places within the Temple—designated chambers that were consecrated and set apart by the Lord as chambers that were to be used specifically by the priests of the Lord. There were within the Temple structure specific chambers where the priests of the Lord would engage in practices that could not be committed in the outer court. There was a work that could only be performed in the secret chambers—in the secret chambers that were hidden and concealed from the eyes of the people. There was a work that was designated to be performed in specific places that were removed from the outer court of the people, in order that neither the priests of the Lord, nor the offerings and sacrifices be polluted and defiled by the people. When I read the words that are found in this passage of Scripture, I can’t help but see a powerful prophetic picture of a deep work connected with sacrifice that can’t be done in the presence of others. There was a place in the outer court where the ministers of the house would boil the sacrifices of the people, but there was another place—a secret place—where the priests of the Lord would perform an additional practice connected with sacrifice. Oh, I can’t help but get the strong sense within my spirit that there is a work that can only be accomplished in our hearts and lives in the secret place. There are specific consecrated chambers within our lives where the process of boiling the sacrifices and offerings takes place. Oh, there is a place where we can engage in sacrifice and offerings before the Lord, but there is another place—one that is hidden and concealed from the eyes of man—where a different, a deep, a more intricate process of sacrifice takes place.
There were specific holy chambers for the priests of the Lord—chambers that were consecrated and reserved for specific works of sacrifice and offerings. I am completely captivated by the final words which are found in the nineteenth verse of this chapter—“and behold, there was a place at the extreme rear toward the west.” BEHOLD, THERE WAS A PLACE! Please don’t quickly gloss over those words, for I am convinced that there is contained within them a strong picture for us as the people of God. There is a powerful call in the Spirit for there to be a place within our lives that is reserved for a very particular place of sacrifice before the Lord. There is a sacrifice that is done before the Lord in the presence and company of others in the outer court—the sanctuary of the Lord which we enter into week after week—but there is a deeper, a more intricate, a more intimate, a more personal work that is done, and can only be done in that “place at the extreme rear toward the west.” Does such a place exist within your life? Is there such a place where you can go in order to perform the work of sacrifice before the Lord within your life? Is there a holy and consecrated place within your life where you can engage in the private practice of sacrifice before the Lord? There were holy chambers found within the Temple of the Lord that were reserved for a work that others could not witness, nor could they themselves partake in. These chambers were reserved for the priests of the Lord, in order that they might perform a greater work regarding the sacrifices of the people.
If there is one thing we must understand, it’s that although these sacrifices and offerings were the sacrifices and offerings of the people, they were the sacrifices of the Lord. The sacrifices which the priests of the Lord worked with did not belong to the people of Israel themselves, but belonged to the Lord. They were indeed the Lord’s sacrifices, and dared not be trifled with by human hands, nor could they be contaminated, polluted, defiled, or profaned. These places were places of extreme holiness before the Lord, for if you read the twentieth verse, you will find that these places were designated for the priests in order that they might not bring the offerings of the Lord into the outer court to transmit holiness to the people. Both the chambers and the offerings themselves were holy and consecrated before the Lord, and therefore, the two were intrinsically connected. I am convinced that the same reality holds true within our own lives, as both the chamber—the inner chamber that has been consecrated and set apart unto the Lord—and the offerings themselves are holy unto the Lord. I can’t help but find within this passage a powerful picture of chambers that should be present within our lives where we enter in order that we might engage in a more personal, a more intimate, and a more private work of sacrifice. The altar of the Lord at the front of the sanctuary is great, yet I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we began designating specific chambers within the house of the Lord as holy and consecrated where we can engage in personal and private works of sacrifice before the Lord. There is a place for coming together with others in the presence of the Lord in order to worship Him with our offerings and sacrifices, but there is something else entirely different about entering into those secret chambers—those holy and consecrated chambers that are set apart unto the Lord—where we engage in the private matters of sacrifice before the Lord.
The question that must be asked is whether or not we are willing to enter into those secret chambers where it is only us and the Lord. Are we willing to leave the outer courts of comfort and convenience where sacrifice can appear holy and righteous before others, in order that we might enter into the secret and inner chambers where we are naked and exposed before the Lord? I would dare say that it is easy to offer our sacrifices unto the Lord in the outer courts of the sanctuary, but it is something altogether different and perhaps even difficult to enter into the secret chambers where we sacrifice before the eyes of the Lord alone. There is a sacrifice that is visible to the eyes of those around us in the outer court of the sanctuary, but there is another sacrifice that is visible only to the eyes of the Lord. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. BUT WHEN YOU PRAY, GO INTO YOUR ROOM AND SHUT THE DOOR AND PRAY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET. AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU” (Mathew 6:5-6). GO IN! SHUT! PRAY!
Oh that we would take the time to go in to our room—our inner chamber which is consecrated and holy unto the Lord—where we might appear before prayer. It is incredibly interesting that when you read these words of Jesus, when speaking of the hypocrites, He described the places they prayed as places where they could be seen [and I would dare say be heard] by others. There is a worship, there is a sacrifice, there is a praise, there is prayer, there is an intercession that is visible and heard by others, but there is a sacrifice and praise that is seen and heard only by the Lord. Tell me dear brother and sister—when you pray, do you pray to be seen and heard by others, or do you pray to be seen and heard by your Father in heaven. Do you pray in order that you might be seen and heard in public, or do you pray in order that you might be seen and heard in the secret, for it is in the secret where your Father is, and where He both sees and hears. Oh that there would be a people in the earth today who would go in, shut the door, and pray to their Father who is in the secret. Oh that there would be a people who would not only go in, not only go in and shut the door, and not only pray, but enter would enter into the secret place where the noise, the commotion, the distraction, the burdens, the cares, the anxieties, the drama, and the sounds of the world around us are silenced. When Daniel prayed to the Lord his God in the midst of the Persian empire, he went into his room, shut the door behind him, knelt before his God in heaven, and faced Jerusalem in order that he might humble himself in prayer and sacrifice. This was his practice not once, not twice, but three times a day without fail. Daniel entered into the secret place to seek the face of his God, and what is so incredibly interesting about this passage, is that his secret place was discovered by those who sought to accuse him. Let us recognize and understand that the enemy knows our secret place of prayer and intercession before the Lord.
The devil and adversary knew where Daniel’s secret place of prayer was in his room, and eventually, he invaded it with those who sought to accuse him. The devil and adversary knew where Jesus’ secret place of prayer and intercession was, for Judas led a group of Roman guards and centurions into the garden of Gethsemane where he betrayed the Son of man with a kiss. Let us recognize and understand that if we are diligent and faithful with our secret chamber and secret room of prayer before the Lord, it will only be a matter of time before the enemy takes notice, and it becomes a threat to his agenda and plans. Daniel’s secret chamber was invaded by those who sought to accuse him, and Jesus’ secret place within the garden was invaded by one who sought to betray Him, and others who sought to arrest and silence Him. This is in no way meant to dissuade or discourage us from entering into our secret chamber of prayer and sacrifice before the Lord, but to bring us to the understanding that it is that place which can and will become a danger and threat to the adversary. Consider the words of the psalmist in the ninety-first chapter of the book of the Psalms: “He who dwells IN THE SHELTER OF THE MOST HIGH will abide IN THE SHADOW of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent” (Psalm 91:1-10).
Such a place is recorded and found in the thirty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, and is found within the life of Moses, the servant of God. “Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses. And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man would not depart from the tent” (Exodus 33:7-11). The tent of meeting was such a place for Moses—a place outside the camp of the children of Israel, and a place where he could seek the Lord completely free from the commotion, the noise, the distraction, and the cares that were found within the camp. It’s worth noting that all those who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp, and even when Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant, Joshua the son of Nun, a young man would not depart from the tent. Oh that we would have such a place within our lives—a tent of meeting where we can go out and where we can enter into and seek the Lord. Oh that we would have such a place within our homes—a secret place, a holy place, a consecrated place where we can seek the Lord completely free from all the chaos, all the commotion, all the distractions, all the noise, and all the cares of the world.
Moses pitched his tent outside the camp, and the priests went into their chambers within the Temple of the Lord, and there is a mandate that we as the people of God would do the same. Oh Lord, would you grant us the discipline, the focus, and the willingness to enter into such a place within our lives—a place where we leave the cares, the concerns, the anxieties, the distractions and the burdens of the world outside. Oh that we would enter into such a place, and that we would leave all distractions outside, and not bring them in with us. Let us leave our cell phones outside the secret place. Let us leave anything that would distract us outside the secret place. Let us not bring anything into the secret place that would hinder our fellowship, our intimacy, our communion with the Lord our God. Let us go into our inner room—our tent of meeting and our inner chambers—shut the door behind us, and pray to our Father in secret. Let us hear and heed the call of the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord in these Last Days, and that we would not neglect the secret place of prayer and intercession, sacrifice and offering, worship and praise before the Lord in the secret. You would not shower in public before the eyes of others to see and be aware of what you were doing. You would not dress yourself in public before the eyes of others to see and know what you were doing. There are certain things that are left for those secret and private places within our lives, and we must recognize and understand that the same goes for prayer and intercession. There is a warring and battling that takes place in the public realm and arena, but there is another form that takes place in the secret place of prayer before the Lord. There is a place in our lives—a quiet, intimate, personal, secret place—where we do the type of sacrifice that is truly necessary before the Lord. There are certain things that simply cannot be accomplished in the presence of others, but must be accomplished in the secret place. Let us as the people of God be conscious and aware of such a place within our hearts, within our homes, within our lives—a place where we can go and truly handle our business with and before the Lord.
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