Modern Day Den of Thieves…

are we guilty?

In Matthew 12:13, our Lord was very strong in his rebuke and subsequent cleansing of the temple by casting out all of them that sold and bought and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves (poor man’s sacrifice).  And He said unto them, It is written, My House shall be called The House of Prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

So, what was wrong with what they were doing in the temple? Was it the commerce? Was it the selling of items and the exchange of money that was the problem? We like to take it there but let’s consider that maybe this was a spiritual problem and those things were only the outward display of the problem. Notice that Jesus commands them with few words, but those words are a quote from scripture found in  Isaiah 56:7.  He doesn’t just tell them that it is wrong for them to buy and sell in the temple. He instead goes directly to the real problem which is that the temple is no longer a true house of prayer. The blessing that the temple should be to the people has been “stolen” and it is now a weight upon the shoulders of the poor, lost souls.

As a testament to answered prayer and when the churches were truly Houses of Prayer, we can trace back to instances where the church engaged in intense prayer…back to the Upper Room, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the New York Prayer Revival just prior to the Civil War, the Welsh Revivals and others and see how God moved in miraculous ways.  I can personally attest to the fact that when the church which I belong to prayed many years ago….suddenly a “spirit of prayer” swept over the entire congregation and God shook that place and they went out and turned their world upside down for Christ.  As a result, a dozen or so young men were called into the ministry, cottage prayer meetings were organized throughout the surrounding  mill villages, four or five sister churches were established and are still vibrant even today and a dynamic prayer group was organized and still petitioning God on behalf of the needs of others some 60 plus years later.

Even though prayer is a popular subject in the Christian Book Stores and we have continuous seminars and conferences on the subject, we still read of statistics that the church prays less now than any time in the last 60 years.  Further, the alarming polls which indicate that both clergy and laity pray only a few minutes a day is an indication of the Prayer Condition of our churches.  Most of us including the clergy most often rely upon our own abilities, training and know-how to operate from week to week. And we normally only go to our knees and pray when we hit a hard place in the road.

So, how is that scenario in the early Temple any different than what is so evident in the modern-day, Western Evangelical Church.  Who suffers or who loses out or in theory robbed when the church does not pray or how could the Modern Day Church also be accused of the same charges placed upon the early church some 2,000 years ago.  Consider the 60 million babies that have been aborted, because the church did not pray. Our children face danger every day in the schools and are no longer allowed to read the Bible or pray, because the church did not pray.  America’s pornography, alcohol and drug epidemic continues to rise, because the church did not pray.  Untold millions are perhaps lost and suffering in hell today, because the church did not pray. And we could go on and on and identify other social ills and those who have lost out because many of our churches have not been a true House of Prayer as intended by our Lord. This was and is real crime; the theft that God will not allow to continue. 

If our Lord were to visit our church and each of us individually today, what would He find displeasing to Him and what would He in turn throw out as He’s done previously in the Temple. Perhaps, He would find an overemphasis of music, entertainment and non-essential programs and meetings and make the plea that His House once again becomes a House of Prayer. And in His personal visit, what would be the outcome. Out of 168 hours God gives us each week, how much time do we  spend in prayer versus time spent on watching the T.V., the computer, the IPhone, movies, entertainment or even time spent following our favorite team or favorite celebrities.

The big issue remains that after evaluating the above, do we continue business as usual or do we turn to God for such a time as this.  In 11 Chronicles 7:14 and Revelations 3:19, we are given the road map to Revival and the elements necessary for revival, namely humility, repentance and prayer. God help us all to Pray earnestly for Revival for the sake of our children and grandchildren!   True Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin, and a hunger for His Word. – Fehsenfeld.

 Time is running out and Jesus is Coming Soon!

Don Harkins
Shadow of Steeple Ministries







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