There are certain verses in the Bible that I find uncomfortable. Revelation 11:1 is one of those verses. “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.” “Rise, and measure the temple of God”, that is a strange statement, because the temple dimensions would have been known by many. However perhaps this was not referring to the literal temple, but rather the spiritual temple, the believers, the church. It is this spiritual temple that is considered to be the dwelling place of God on the earth. (1 Cor. 3:16,17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16) It is not just that there is to be the measuring of the temple, but also to “measure” those who were engaged in worship. Again, I don’t think this means to measure the height or the waist line of the worshipers. The more obvious meaning is, that he was to take a correct estimate of their character; of what they professed; and of the reality of their worship.
Real worship was not seen by how loud they sang, if they raised or clapped their hands, or shouted Hallelujah. Worship was seen as the extent to which the lives were dedicated to The Lord, and then how consistently that was lived out.
I realize that through the work of Jesus, I am justified and made righteous, this means that when I stand before the Almighty God, He sees me as being sinless and therefore able to approach Him. This is because of my response to the work of Jesus. This is such a relief for even in my actual sinfulness, there is a constant preparing of a way for me to approach and commune with God, through the help of Jesus.
So why is this verse uncomfortable? Well, it shows that though righteous before God, I will still be measured according to the desires and motives of the heart. Herein is the challenge. In reality, I know that often my heart is selfish, I think more about myself then I do about others, the kingdom of God or the purposes or God. I know that I often rehearse conversations that I have had, instead of rehearsing what God has said. I know that I am often more affected by what others think of me, then what God thinks. When I review my life and heart, and then measure it according to the life of Jesus, the reality of what I see is not pleasant, I don’t measure up to the nature and likeness of Jesus.
All of this drives me closer to My Lord, for it focuses me upon the reality that without Him I can do nothing (John 15:5), and that without Him, I am nothing. One wise person said, “When God measures a man, he puts the tape around his heart, not his head.”
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