Psalm 69:9a “For zeal for your house has consumed me…”
People’s passions vary in interest and intensity. It may be the love of going on hikes or biking, skiing, cooking, fishing, NASCAR, music, coffee, football, baseball, or soccer. The list of interests and activities that can energize our heart is almost limitless. Moreover, the fixations of other people are not hard to discover. When they promote conversation, or when their favorite topic comes up, their eyes widen. You can tell their pulse is elevated. They speak about their particular interest with enthusiasm, and they want others to share their excitement as well.
In Psalm 69, David shares that even though he is afflicted with many challenges and failings, he is passionate about worshiping God. He doesn’t want anything or anyone to distract his or other’s attention from the inspiring encounters that accompany wholeheartedly praising and honoring God.
With similar passion, Jesus clears the courts of the temple of God during His earthly ministry. A marketplace atmosphere became commonplace around the house of God. Buying and selling animals and items for worship are taking people’s attention. These activities are wrong because of their distracting influence. Worshippers are to come to the temple with their hearts steadfastly fixed on honoring and exalting God. Jesus refuses to tolerate the interference. He purges the area, declaring these pursuits a disruption to worshipping God. When His disciples see this happen, their hearts recall the verse in the song from Psalm 69, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Cf. John 2:17) They see Jesus actively protecting and promoting the truth of this verse.
Among all the passions we have in life, the personal and corporate worship of God is to be chief among them. May we desire to fix our attention, and help others set their focus, on the priority of bringing glory and honor to God. There will invariably be things we must prayerfully drive from our hearts. However, the wholehearted delight of glorifying God with the people of God is worth it!