Saturday, June 15, 2013
The Foundation Was Laid
1Kings 5:17 - And the king commanded them to quarry large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones, to lay the foundation of the temple.
King David had died. His son, Solomon, was the new king of Israel. David wanted to build a house for God but God told him it was not to be his task, that his son Solomon would do it. The reason? I believe there are two. One was that David was a warrior. It was his duty to secure the land of Israel against her enemies; therefore, it was his duty to kill. The second was his adulterous affair with one of his officers' wife Bathsheba, for which he killed him. Well, God would not allow David to build a sanctuary, a house of God, for what he had done. But now the enemies were no longer a threat, there was great peace and the time to build was now. And David charged Solomon with the responsibility.
In reading the details of gathering the men, the skills and materials, and the tedious process of building, it dawned on me how enormous the task would have been back then. Laying the foundation of this plan alone was huge. Solomon knew who to solicit for the various jobs. The laborers alone numbered 30,000 men! These men worked 10,000 at a time for a month with two months back at home. Labor was non stop. In addition to these laborers, 70,000 were hired as load bearers; 80,000 quarried stone; 3,300 supervised the work. Imagine. What an enormous undertaking. Not like today. Real labor.
God works in us the same way...it's a lengthy, tedious process. It is never ending in our lifetime.
Detail of the process is outlined. Because I've read this before, I knew what was coming...the hewing of the quarried rock was done off site to keep the noise level down in and around the temple...then it was hauled to the site and positioned precisely where God intended it to go. I remember hearing one time about the noise level...the temple was to be the LORD's house. It is a sanctuary...the sanctity of quietness... (I can relate to this!)
As I thought about the labor involved and the very precise methods and placement of every piece of stone or log and considered the foundation of this work and the temple, I knew there had to be more of a story here. And the thoughts were racing. The foundation was laid...securing the workers, preparing the materials and the preciseness of placement.
When we come into relationship with Jesus Christ, He lays the foundation for us. He IS the Foundation. When we receive Christ, the temple of God then resides within us spiritually (1Corinthians 3:16). That sanctuary within...built to God's specifications. He begins a work within us that we would be more like Him. We are told: He who begins a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 4:6). And His plans are for good. And His plans are perfect. And each one of us is uniquely built. We are the workers He secures to spread the Gospel. He prepares us and He precisely places us in the world. And we realize we are are on a sure footing.
Our foundation is laid. This chorus to this old hymn came to mind:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
The sure Foundation...we are molded and shaped by Him. But there is a hewing that takes place in the process. He works His precise work in us. God's timing is always perfect. We know that the number seven biblically means perfection. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The temple Solomon built was finished in seven years. God's design implemented to a tee, exactly according to HIS plan.
We must remember, it is HE who does the work in us. We cannot make ourselves into the people God wants. He forms us. He has given us our talents and even our means. He does not look at our supposed goodness nor our works. They mean little to Him until He has begun that good work in us. And that means first starting by receiving Christ, being in relationship with Him, letting Him be the sure Foundation....building our lives on nothing less than Him.
I love what God told Solomon as the temple began to take shape. It is a word for all His followers. It is a word (though for Israel, we can look at ourselves as a type of Israel) worthy of heeding if we truly desire for Him to dwell with us.
1Kings 6:11-13 - Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: “Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”