“When he arrived at the treasury with his bodyguard, the Lord of Spirits and all authority was already present. He caused such a great manifestation that all who dared to accompany him were panic-stricken at God’s power…For a certain horse appeared to them, having a fearful rider. It was arrayed with a very beautiful pack saddle, and it rushed furiously at Heliodorus and struck at him with its front hooves. He who sat thereon was seen wearing a full armour of gold. Two other young men also appeared to him, remarkable in bodily strength, very beautiful in grandeur, and illustrious in dress…so they came to know, and it was clearly proven to be the power of Almighty God...the people blessed the Lord, who acted marvellously for His own place. The temple, which a little while earlier had been full of fear and trouble, was now filled with joy and gladness, because the Almighty Lord had appeared.” 2 Maccabees 3:22-31
The Lord acted marvellously for His own place.
Throughout the Old Testament we witness God’s amazing protection of His people, His temple, and His chosen city – Jerusalem. Today, we are extraordinarily blessed to live in a time when we can worship in Spirit and truth, without being restricted to a specific location, for the Spirit of God dwells inside of each of us (John 4:24, 1 Cor. 6:19). Now we are His temple.
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)
If God acted so marvellously for a temple of stone, how much more wonderfully will He act on behalf of His human dwelling places – His creation made in His own image? We often lack faith and trust in our Father’s love, mercy, compassion, and goodness towards us. We struggle with disbelief that the Lord of Spirits and all authority could ever truly be on our side, come to our aid.
“For He does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.” (Lamentations 33:3)
Like the Jews in this period of the Maccabees, who could not imagine that God would help them after everything they had been through and all of their sins against Him, we are also “full of fear and trouble” when we surrender to unbelief. This is where prayer comes in. Prayer is the means to access such a divine visitation because it unifies us with God who is inside of us.
“Prayer unites the soul with its creator and reconciles the two.” Saint John of Damascus
Through prayer we come before the powerful and Fearful Rider and plead our case; the defender of our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls rushes to comfort us. Through prayer the Almighty Lord’s presence is strengthened within us and our fear and trouble is turned into joy and gladness just like in 2 Maccabees 3:22-31.
For wherever the Divine Visitation (our Lord Jesus Christ) appears, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17). We are free from the bonds of fear, the chains of anxiety, and the blindfold of doubt when we unite with Jesus and experience His glory in prayer. Knowing thus that the Lord will never cease to act marvellously for His place, and being confident of His place in us, “let us come boldly before the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).