Ta Prohm is the modern name of the temple in Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara. It is one of the more popular Buddhist temples to visit in Siem Reap because it has giant trees that have grown over and around the stone walls and buildings.
This was our last stop yesterday afternoon before dinner and it was a fascinating site to behold. Apparently, since last year, a number of sections of the temple and its walls have collapsed and there are large signs displaying the restoration process. Not a bad run considering the stones were put in place over 700 years ago. However, it was thrilling reminder to me that the Word of the Lord remains true.
Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Acts 17: 24-27, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
All of creation was made to reflect the character of the Creator. This is what it means to worship God with our lives. And out of all the things that God created, humans have done the worst job of consistently worshiping Him. We have gone astray and sought to worship other things; other gods, even building places for the them to live and for us to go in order to worship them. It was with misguided but well-intentioned plans that these temples were built. But, praise God that when humanity has gone wrong, the rest of creation reflects his glory.
The reason this temple site is such a big attraction is not the temple. It is the trees! It is the beauty and magnificence of God’s character-reflecting creation that is on display and literally overwhelming the place that was built to worship something other than Him. It is tearing down the walls of stone that were assembled and dedicated to another. God is actively taking back what has always belonged to Him.
Pray that this reality would not only be true of this physical structure, but of the thousands of people that walk through it each day; that in the shadow of the trees people would realize that the God that created them is not far from each one of us and that they would seek Him as Lord of their lives.
This is what God is doing in Cambodia. As we have spent the past two and a half days with our college kids, we have not just been tourists. We have seen a glimpse of how God is taking back this country for Himself. He is growing these kids, like trees, that will be firmly planted in business and tourism and architecture and government and the marketplace, and because they know Him, they will reflect the character of God in those places.
It has been good to be with them; sharing time and smiles and stories and experiences and encouragement. It has been better to be reminded of the purposes of God and that He will prevail in this place and in the place we will return to in a few days. Praise be to God!
P.S. Dinosaurs were real!
(Stegosaurus carved into the temple wall)