The prophet says that there is coming a time when there will no longer be a distinction drawn between the secular and the sacred. This was a startling statement for this certainly was not the case in His day. During the Jewish dispensation it was forbidden for men to worship God “each one from his place” – from the spot on which he was standing. In fact, there was only one place where everyone was commanded to worship – Jerusalem. This was the place where the tribes were told to go up. It was from within her gates that the smoke of the incense was to rise. But Zephaniah says that there is a new day dawning, one in which every man will have within his own gates a temple to worship God. There is coming a day, Zephaniah explains, when there will be no need of things or beasts that will carry us from things that are temporal to things that are eternal. It will be done simply by the breath of the Spirit – by a simple movement of the heart.
“In that day,” Zechariah declares, “I won’t need to leave where I am to go where I must. I will worship from my place – no matter where “my place” may be. It will become my temple.” In that day every service to man will be considered a service to God. No longer will it be said, “Go up to the House of the Lord,” because we will worship from our place. The mother will worship from her place – her altar of sacrifice will be the nursery. The daughter will worship from her place – her offering to God will be her obedience and devotion to her family. The common laborer will worship from his or her place – the simple, menial tasks being viewed as sacrificial service to God. The businessman will worship from his place – his profits will be a gathering for his God. Every song will be a sacred song – all music will have a miraculous melody. Every gift will be garland for Him. My praises will reverberate with His name. My hand will serve in His sanctuary. My feet will follow in His steps. My special grace will minister to His superlative glory. I won’t need to stand beside the cross, for I will bear in my own body the dying of the Lord Jesus.
The tremendous thing about this prophetic statement given so long ago by Zephaniah is that the day he saw coming is today! We no longer have to go to Jerusalem, or some other “holy place,” to worship God. We can worship, we can serve Him from wherever we are.
To be sure, there are not normally as many witnesses of our worship in our private places. But neither were there many witnesses when Abraham climbed Mt. Moriah to offer everything that He had in obedience to the command of his God. No doubt, Mt. Moriah was a lonely as any hospital room. It was a solitary battle with the thoughts of his own mind and the desires of his own will. No doubt, he thought that he was being passed over, forgotten, when in actuality he was making history. He was laying the foundation stone for the coming Kingdom of God.
The same is true for you. God’s place for you has been Mt. Moriah. It has been a place of solitary sacrifice. He may have called you, just like He did Abraham, to climb the mountain “early in the morning.” He may have come over you while you were still in the Spring of life. Will you then say, “What’s the purpose behind all of this? This is nothing but a waste.” Is God’s shadow a “waste?” When the Spirit hovers over the face of the waters and blocks out the sun, is that a waste? What I am hid in the secret of God’s holy place, is that a waste? Is not one hour in God’s private classroom worth a whole day in His public school? How glorious His eclipse. How marvelous His hiding. How splendid His obscurity. His shadow proclaims His light and we dare not ask earth’s broken ones to find a better place than in Him.