Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that he had been anointed king in his father's place, for Hiram had always been friends with David.  Solomon sent [this message] to Hiram: ‘You know my father David was not able to build a temple for the name of Yahweh his God. This was because of the warfare all around him until the Lord put his enemies under his feet.  The Lord my God has now given me rest all around; there is no enemy or crisis.  So I plan to build a temple for the name of Yahweh my God, according to what the Lord promised my father David: “I will put your son on your throne in your place, and he will build the temple for My name.”’” (1 Kings 5:1-5 HCSB)

In AD70, Titus and his Roman legions conquered Judea.  The city of Jerusalem was razed, the Temple was destroyed—not one stone remaining atop the other.  Jesus had predicted this doom in Matthew 24:1-2.  That house of worship which had become a den of thieves was gone.  This was the second time it had been obliterated.  Solomon’s Temple, and its construction we read about in 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles, had been overthrown by the Babylonians centuries before.  Now, if you take a trip to Israel, you can see the Temple Mount, but there is no Temple.  Instead, the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic mosque, glitters under the Palestinian sun.  One day, a third Temple will be built during the Tribulation Period, and defiled by the Antichrist.  Ultimately, the Millennial Temple will supplant all in its glory, as Christ returns to earth and establishes His Kingdom.  Two have passed into the dust of history and two are yet to rise from the mist of prophecy.  But for now, there is no Temple. Or is there?

The New Testament gives a resounding, “Yes!”  There is a temple, even now.  So where is this temple of God? Paul said that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Ephesians 2:20-21).  God indwells the believer. Scripture tells us that we are being built up into a glorious temple.

So, in a real sense, we are under construction.   The church is always in a building program.  We would be more patient with one another, if we would pause and realize that none of us are the finished product. That will happen when we see Jesus. Until then we are a work in progress.

There are some interesting parallels we can see in our text between the construction of Solomon’s temple and what God is building in the believer.

Chapter five of 1 Kings presents THE FOUNDING OF THE HOUSE OF GOD (5:1-18). 

"The king commanded them to quarry large, costly stones to lay the foundation of the temple with dressed stones." (5:17)

The foundation of a building is most important.   You will recall the story Jesus related of a wise man who built his house on rock contrasted with a foolish man who constructed on sand (Matthew 7:24-27).   When the storms came to both, only the one built on rock stood. 

The rock is Jesus, and the foundation of faith in Him.  Paul said there could be no other foundation.  Everything else is sand.   Jesus promised, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18), referring to Himself as the foundation. 

I want to ask you, what have you founded your life upon?   What do your hopes for eternity rest upon? The individual’s life must be grounded on Christ to survive the storm of judgment to come.

Following this principle, our earthly home must be founded on Christ, also.   There are certainly devastating storms assailing the family today.  Do we want our homes to stand? Many are not. Build on Christ and follow His blueprint, the Bible. Jesus said the wise man heard and obeyed the Word.

Likewise, the church’s ministries must rest on Him.  If the church is built on man’s effort and for man’s exaltation, it doesn’t deserve to stand.   The foundation of the church is Christ, the specifications for construction are spelled out in God’s Word, with the result being a gathering place for His worship and the experience of His glory.  From such a temple, the testimony of His salvation sounds to the ends of the earth.

With this in mind, we next consider THE FRAMING OF THE HOUSE OF GOD (6:1-38). 

The word of the Lord came to Solomon: ‘As for this temple you are building-if you walk in My statutes, observe My ordinances, and keep all My commands by walking in them, I will fulfill My promise to you, which I made to your father David.   I will live among the Israelites and not abandon My people Israel.’

The foundation of the Lord's temple was laid in [Solomon's] fourth year in the month of Ziv.  In [his] eleventh year in the eighth month, in the month of Bul, the temple was completed in every detail and according to every specification. So he built it in seven years.” (6:11-13, 37-38)

On the solid foundation, Solomon frames a building of great beauty and value. Paul told us that if our foundation was one of stability, our building needs to be of quality.  Look at these verses:

According to God's grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it.  For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one's work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one's work.  If anyone's work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward.  If anyone's work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.  Don't you yourselves know that you are God's sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:10-16 HCSB)

I heard the story of a man of great prominence and possessions who died and was taken to heaven.   He was a believer, and had been a respected leader in his church and community.  So, when he saw a beautiful mansion, upon entering the Pearly Gates, he supposed it might by his.  He inquired of Peter, as to who that mansion belonged to and was surprised to find out it belonged to his maid!  “This is wonderful,” he thought.  If his maid lived in such a splendid place, then how incredible would his home be!  Peter continued to walk down golden streets, further and further away from the Throne of God.  He escorted the man to the outskirts of heaven and showed him—a shack!   The Apostle said, “We did the best we could with the materials you sent up.”   Paul underscores the importance of choosing the right building materials.  Our salvation rests on the foundation of Christ—faith in Him alone saves us.  Our reward, however, is determined by the quality of our service for Him.  What kind of building material are you sending up?

There are many codes you have to meet to build today.  An inspector is going to have to sign off before you can occupy the structure.  Solomon had his building code.  Reading 1 Kings 6, we discover the specifications, standard and scope of the structure. 

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew slammed into Florida with incredible force.  Some buildings stood up to the fury, but it was also revealed that a lot of construction didn’t meet code for withstanding hurricane winds. Solomon had a God-given vision of what the temple was to be. Are you building your Christian life according to code, or using substandard material?  What would the Great Inspector say about it?

Many churches are being built with shabby stuff.  They are outwardly impressive, but they are being built by man’s activity for man’s applause, with carnal tools and by worldly means.  Crowds gather each Sunday, but the critical question is, “Where is God, and His glory?”

Lest we be tempted to point fingers at the mega-church down the road or question the little chapel across the street, it would be more important for us to examine our church.  We can do little about the quality of another ministry.  We are accountable for this one.  If we are not insistent on building with material of eternal worth, then one day it will all go up in smoke!  What will the Day reveal?

No comments: