“Stormy with a chance of Temple – Limited Visibility” —a temple fund perspective

If the Israelites hadn’t ever arrived at the shores of the Red Sea, it would have been completely unnecessary for the Lord to open a pathway through it. —  It’s not like it’s  a scheduled event and Lord just opens it up on Thursdays at three and if there is someone there to go through then they don’t need a boat. —  Even once there, as soon as the Israelites saw the Egyptians approaching and realized they were pinned against the water, they panicked – saying to Moses – “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?  What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?  Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”  (NIV Exodus 14:11-12)

The implication is that as soon as the Israelites didn’t understand something or see clearly the divine plan, they were quick and perfectly willing to throw Moses, and God, by extension of guilt by association, under the proverbial bus.  In other words, their faith only had about a two-and-a-half minute shelf life once things weren’t going as they envisioned.  Not only that, but they had taken the long road, wandering in the desert a bit (see Exodus 13:17) to even arrive at the shores of the sea.  To them, it was as if Moses, or the cloud/pillar of fire he was following, didn’t really know where he was going.  I imagine there were a few more choice words among themselves regarding Moses before the sea opened up – things like – “I knew this guy didn’t really have a plan,”or “Moses is totally friggin wingin it.”   Anyway, as I’m sure you recall, at kinda the last possible moment before the Egyptian army overtook them, the Lord intervened making a way for their escape. I’m thinking that as they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and realized the Egyptians didn’t have it so good at the back of the pack (i.e. drowning), they had to think to themselves – “Hey, this is pretty cool, can you believe what the Lord, and now Moses by extension, have done for us – unbelievable!” Yet, on the other side of that experience they still grumbled, bitched and moaned enough that the Lord had to essentially abandon His work with them for 40 years and wait for other generations to continue His effort.  How sad for them. Now we have the ability to look back with 20/20 or 20/30 vision and say or think to ourselves — “heck even if you were considered legally blind you should have been able to see what the Lord was up to — Israelites –I’m not that bright and even I can see that — Idiots!!” 

Now, we have nearly the same view of the saints when Joseph spoke to them in July of 1840 knowing a command was coming to build a temple.  And then in January of 1841 it went from a – temple in the forecast– to a command to build a temple and they still failed.  Again as we look back with our 20/20 vision we can almost say the exact same thing of them that we did of the Israelites –  “you dang guys, you had a prophet who spoke/speaks directly with the Lord right in front of you telling you what the Lord needed you to do and still you diverted resources the Lord needed to build the temple to your own Babylonian pursuits as a priority. Heck, even if you were considered legally blind you should have been able to see what the Lord was up to — –I’m not that bright and even I can see that — Idiots!!”   Speaking of forecast, you can always tell how serious one takes a forecast by the degree of their preparation.  And, it’s easier to prepare when the approaching event is still a forecast than when it is upon you.  When the coach calls you into the game, the time for lacing up your shoes has already passed.  And so as He did with the Israelites, the Lord once again had to sort of shelve His plans and wait generations to continue His efforts with others to bring His people into His presence.

We are the others.

Now we’re kind of marching toward our own sort of metaphoric Red Sea experience – the funding and building of a temple.  —   It’s still in the forecast stage and we’re thinking about it but we’re not quite sure exactly how all of it’s going to come together.  Some people think we should do this, other people think we should do that and so in our uncertainty we potentially take kind of a “wait and see” approach because the Lord hasn’t really made it clear what He expects us to do or what He is specifically planning on doing Himself.  We really only know two things.  One – He has once again forecasted a temple through a servant.  Two – He has directed some sisters to develop a way to collect some initial funding.  Since we all know that the Lord can work miracles, perhaps a “wait and see” approach seems reasonable.  No?  We certainly wish the path were laid out a little clearer before us–but it’s not.  Not knowing exactly what to do actually feels a little bit like wandering in the desert and we, like the Israelites, not taking the most direct path to the sea or temple in our case. Not being really sure how much to give and the best way to give it, what the Lord expects, where He’s taking us, etc. sort of hampers our tidy little world view which has as its baseline all things Babylon.  We envision all sorts of tax consequences, ownership problems, location issues, who gets the money, who gets to know about stuff, etc. etc. etc. all while the Lord watches to see how serious we take the forecast.  Most of that stuff He doesn’t really care about, He’s watching to see what you’ll do and hoping you are at least willing to ask Him and then respond.

One thing is for sure, we recognize, that in todays world, like the experience of the Israelites, it’s probably going to take some intervention by the Lord for it to all come together.  And, like the Israelites, there’s no reason for the Lord to open up the path until we arrive at the shore.   Here’s the catch – even now, as we speak, there are individuals arriving at the shore and the Lord is opening a path before them.  This time we’re not all arriving as a group like the Israelites did; it’s an individual thing.  That makes it a bit messy for us because we are so accustomed to groupthink and having the ability to look around at others to see how we measure up and how well we’re rolling with the crowd.  Not this time. Those invited to the wedding feast, or Zion, or whatever it is, are getting individual invitations the Lord is sending via angels.  I’m quite sure the gathering is now taking place, if not yet physically, spiritually.

The challenge for us — “Stormy with a chance of Temple – Limited Visibility” — is the forecast.


John Webster



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