Advent 4, 2018: A Human Point of View

Zechariah’s mind was full of thoughts of faith and family, doubt and duty, as he approached Jerusalem.  Looking up toward the Temple Mount, he marveled, as any traveler would. 

What an impressive wall of massive stones, and Herod’s Temple, a comparatively small but beautifully ornate structure facing east at the end of the courtyard.  The walls, stone upon stone.  The whole complex was an architectural wonder.  A modern feat of engineering and the stone gleamed white in the mid-day sun.  He never tired of seeing it. 

Pilgrimages afforded him an opportunity to enjoy the Temple’s beauty.  

Never mind that it wasn’t Solomon’s Temple which would have had the authenticity of God’s direction before the siege destroyed it, or Zerubbabel’s Temple which was put in place after the Exile. 

Huh” he muttered aloud, unable to keep his thoughts resident in his heart. 

He had read, oh how many times, the disappointment of those who remembered what Solomon had built upon seeing the work of their own hands at what Zerubbabel had managed to get constructed under King Cyrus of Persia. 

Herod’s improvements, while he wasn’t doing it for strictly religious reasons—more political, really—did make the Second Temple far more magnificent, fancy enough to be called Herod’s Temple. 

Herod.  Zechariah sighed the deep sigh of one who loved Adonai and was well-versed in Scripture and knew what he thought of a king such as Herod when the Davidic King foretold was yet to come and take His place on the forever-throne. 

Yet he could not deny Herod’s taste:  the lavish double cloisters, the expansive colonnades, the columns—each made from a single stone carved and polished to a sheen—it was certainly something to behold.  From a human point of view, that is.


His Story, Your Story: 

  1. In what way is it okay with God for us to express appreciation at human achievements? 
  2. How does the credit—even for human accomplishments—belong with God? 
  3. Can people who don’t know or love God still pursue and complete things by His will?  How is this possible?  (See Ezra 1:1-2)
  4. Is there a reason why God wouldn’t want us to shift our awe from Him to being more impressed with His Temple?

Self-Reflection topic: Appreciation for beauty

Prayer:  Father God, thank You for the many gifts You give to people to do Your will.  Thank You that one part of our Image-bearing is an outpouring of creativity, ingenuity, and organization displayed first in Yourself.  Yet, because of Your love and grace, there is beauty reflected in our actions, even before we knew You.  Help us never to confuse the gift with the Giver and to keep our awe and our eyes on You.  Amen.


By way of reminder, if you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these Storyteller devotional studies in your email throughout Advent 2018 by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.  If you like these devotionals, I’d really appreciate your letting others know so I can continue to spread the Good News far and wide.  Blessings to you, in Christ always, Barbara <><


Acknowledging inquiries about the entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows:  

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series (2017), Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 5, 2018

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