We Must Build the Church with Purpose and Persistence
INTERESTING FACTS : Samuel Huntington, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS; JUDGE; GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT
"It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
DAILY READING : 2 CHRONICLES 2 - 5
TEXT : 2Ch 2:1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
THEME : PURPOSE AND PERSISTENCE
Solomon begins building the Temple of Jehovah [LORD] and does so with a singular purpose of heart. Originally the idea of David, Solomon takes up his father's ambition with determination. He employed tens of thousands of men to do the work, much like the building of the great pyramids of Egypt. It was a massive undertaking that took 3,600 men to oversee. It is quite a picture as Israel goes about building the Temple of God. With such a lavish and beautiful edifice as the Temple adorning their kingdom and the city of Jerusalem, one would think Israel would have done everything to keep their relationship with God intact. Yet, they did not. More surprising still is how the defection and apostasy begins with Solomon. The human heart, throughly corrupted, debased, and defiled by sin, is an unfathomable mystery. None can know it.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have included an artist's rendition of the Temple from Word Press. It will give you a visual to accompany your reading. It will also show you how the Temple was more ornate and intricate than the Tabernacle. Keep in mind - God Himself gave the details of the Temple to David. "And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern." 1st Chronicles 28:12; 19
TRUTH FOR TODAY : WE MUST BUILD THE CHURCH WITH PURPOSE AND PERSISTENCE!
We learn in 1st Chronicles that Solomon was charged by his father David to be certain he built the house of the LORD.
"And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD." 1st Chronicles 28:20.
We also understand there were many men prepared to follow his orders in undertaking this project.
"And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment." 1st Chronicles 28:21
Thus, we read of the start and finish of Solomon's work on the Temple in 2nd Chronicles. Then, Solomon offers a prayer to the LORD for Israel that includes forgiveness for their sins, even if they are in a foreign land. After the prayer, the Glory of the LORD fills the Temple so completely; no one can stand under the powerful anointing.
"It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God." 2 Chronicles 5:13 – 14
This anointing was known as "Shekinah," a word that does not appear in the Bible, and was the cloud of Glory that dwelt in the seat of the Ark. It was a "cloud" the covered the Ark inside the Holy of Holies whenever Jehovah appeared.
Shekinah shḗ-kı̄´na (שׁכינה, shekhı̄nah, "that which dwells," from the verb שׁכן, shākhēn, or שׁכן, shākhan, "to dwell," "reside"): This word is not found in the Bible, but there are allusions to it in Isa_60:2; Mat_17:5; Luk_2:9; Rom_9:4. It is first found in the Targums. [International Standard Encyclopedia]
Shekinah - The visible sign of God's presence on the ark of testimony in the holy of holies. Exo_25:22; Lev_16:2; 2Sa_6:2; 2Ki_19:14-15; Psa_80:1; Isa_37:16; Eze_9:3; Eze_10:18; Heb_9:5 [Naves Topical Bible]
We are called by God to build His Church with Him. This, unlike the Temple, is an undertaking that will never know destruction, decay, or damage. It is an eternal work. Like the men prepared by David for his son Solomon that were prepared to build, God has His workers for the building of the Church as well. We, all of us, are the stones that make up God's dwelling place. Therefore, we are all prepared by God to build His Body – the Church, since we are recreated in the new birth for this purpose. We, those who are born of His Spirit, are the dwelling place of the living God. Therefore, we are all called to be ministers of the New Covenant and use our gifts and talents for His purposes as the men of Israel did when they built the Temple under Solomon's orders and instructions.
It is a serious matter when you do not use the gifts and talents God gave you. That is, those talents placed in every one of us for the sole purpose of building His Kingdom. Our gifts and talents are not made simply for our own pleasure or entertainment as Matthew Henry observes.
"Solomon's wisdom was given him, not merely for speculation, to entertain himself (though it is indeed a princely entertainment), nor merely for conversation, to entertain his friends, but for action; and therefore to action he immediately applies himself."
Thus, we are also given gifts and talents, not merely to make money or entertain ourselves, but to build the Church. Please note the sobering tone in Jesus parable in His explanation of the last days – specifically the days preceding His arrival on earth, and the man who did nothing for God with the talent that belonged to Christ.
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." [Matthew 25:14 – 19; 24 – 30]
Let us build the Church – that is, each other, and evangelize the unsaved, as we approach "The Day." When Christ returns, let Him find us working with Him and for Him as Solomon's men did. Thus, when He comes He will say to you – "Well done, thou good and faithful servant;" as opposed to – "Thou wicked and slothful servant." This will take purpose and persistence. However, let us do it joyfully. Christ's Kingdom will have no end.