1 Kings 6:7 (NIV) 7 In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
On verses 1-10: In verses 1 through 10 Solomon gets busy building the temple. Interestingly, according to verse 7, Solomon went to great lengths to make sure that the sound of construction tools could be not heard at the temple site. He did this by moulding, shaping and dressing all the building blocks for the temple off-site. Then he would bring them to the temple site where they could be quietly placed and displayed for everyone to see. To casual onlookers, it might seem like the temple quietly sprung up overnight, since they did not hear many construction sounds, when in fact much of the hard work had been done off-site.
To me this is a picture of how God grows and builds up a Christian. Some of the most important building God does in you is off-site, private, not in the public eye. Just as Solomon dressed stones off-site before bringing them to the temple site to display before people, God likes to develop your muscles in private so that you can use them and display them in public later on. So don’t despise those private spiritual disciplines that your church encourages you to practice, like:
– developing the habit of a daily time with God;
– practicing intimacy with God;
– meditating on and memorizing Scripture; and
– seeking to please God in the secret, private areas of your life (through things like tithing, serving others without expecting repayment, and loving people well).
It’s in these private, off-site places that some of your most important spiritual muscles are built. God often wants to form them off-site before He will put them on display for others to see.
1 Kings 6:11-13 (NIV) 11 The word of the LORD came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”
On verses 11-13: In the middle of Solomon’s temple building program, God speaks to Solomon. But what God talks to Solomon about is not the building of the temple but about the building of Solomon’s own life with God. God is effectively telling Solomon, “What matters to Me even more than whether or not you build this temple is whether you are living in accordance with My commands. It’s your personal intimacy with me and your obedience to me that is going to determine whether I fulfill My promise to always keep a descendant of David on the throne.”
What can we learn from this? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your public ministry can compensate for a lack of a personal relationship with God. No matter how busy you get with activity, always protect and take good care of your relationship with God, for that is the power source of everything else you do.
1 Kings 6:14 (NIV) 14 So Solomon built the temple and completed it.
On verses 14-38: Having heard God’s encouragement in verses 11 to 13, Solomon completes the temple building project in verses 14 to 38. Solomon uses many of the best materials to build and decorate the temple. It took him 7 years from start to finish.
What can we learn from all this?
1. Don’t give God the scraps, but give your best toward the building of God’s house. The building of God’s house demands are very best — the best of our time, resources, creativity and energy. Let’s give our best toward building His church.
2. Just as Solomon began (v1) and completed (v14) this project, just as God is faithful to complete the good work He started in you (Philippians 1:6),may you too be a great finisher. May you not say yes to something only to stop and quit in the middle. Rather may you be known for fulfilling the commitments you make and who finishes what you start.
Heavenly Father, thank You that it is in private, off-site places that You are doing some of Your most important spiritual work in me. Just as You are always faithful to finish what You start, may I finish the commitments and projects that I say yes to in faith. May I always give my very best for the building of Your house, for You deserve my best. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!