The Bare Soul -
August 31, 2008
Temple-building, Part I
I Chronicles 22:19 - "Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD."
David's admonition to the people to help his son build the temple of the Lord did not come without a price. In the previous verses, King David reminds his son Solomon that he was a man of bloodshed and that the task of temple-building would be entrusted to David's offspring, namely Solomon. David would become known as a "blood warrior" that gave Israel the ability to become a land of peace during his son's reign. Oftentimes, the best defense is a strong offense which in this case ultimately allowed Solomon and the people of Israel times of security in order to build the temple of the Lord.
This scripture is a magnificent metaphor of the work of the Holy Spirit and how He sanctifies the life of those who surrender all to Him. In this passage as well as in much of scripture, David is symbolic of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this instance, David typifies Jesus Christ as having vanquished all his foes by the blood of their sacrifices and the blood of the Lamb of God, respectively. They have both defeated their enemies and have held them up for public display (I Chronicles 18; Colossians 2:15). Solomon is suggestive of the Holy Spirit as he eventually leads the people in the work of temple-building. It is a glorious union of what David (Jesus Christ) has commissioned Solomon (the Holy Spirit) to do through his people. Looking closer at this verse, we see some particular action verbs that are command-oriented yet sequential in their intended results. As in the days of David and Solomon, temple-building is still the order of the day and the Lord tells us exactly how to do it.
"Now set your heart and your soul ... -- How does one "set" their heart and their soul aright? Romans 12:1 tells us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we change our minds, in time our hearts will follow if we are set upon Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith. A man or a woman is always converted in their minds and in their thinking before a transformation takes place in their inner being. The tragedy is too often when some don't allow the transformation to happen, but they hold a form or concept in their intellect without humbly asking the Lord to make it real in their life. Head-knowledge alone will ultimately kill while heart-knowledge will inevitably heal and meld the two into one.
... to seek the LORD your God ... -- The phrase "to seek" has an open-ended and interminable meaning. It is of the same sense as in the Gospels when Jesus told his disciples in Luke 11:9 to ask, seek, and knock. The implication in the Hebrew in the I Chronicles' text and later in the Greek in the Luke passage is to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. We shall never truly find all of what God has in store for us but it is a perpetual quest of the highest order.
... ;arise, therefore -- To "arise" implies a change in position, a readiness to DO! Nothing will be done if we don't enter into partnership with the Holy Spirit to perform His will. It is time to take action!
... and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, -- It is now time to put into practice all that the Lord has shown a believer. Of paramount importance, is to heed all that the Holy Spirit prompts regarding obedience and holy living. The Lord will not tolerate "shoddy" construction where He will dwell. To put oneself in order for the Holy One to dwell within means a life committed to listening and heeding His voice. Maybe He is telling me I need to get a relationship right, or to make amends to one I have wronged. Maybe I am a glutton or a waster of time in front of the TV or my computer. Maybe I am a gossip and I have murdered someone with my words. Whatever God shines the light on, make it right in that moment and your light will break forth like the new day!
... so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD." -- Not anyone could handle the ark of the covenant. Uzzah found out the hard way (see II Samuel 6:6-11). Only those of the tribe of Levi, the priesthood of God, were allowed to transport the ark of the covenant. For within the ark dwelt the Holy One in His most magnificent splendor. Peter declares that we are a royal priesthood in I Peter 2:9 -- that we only need to accept and sanctify within our hearts the Great Priest, Jesus Christ who gives us license to minister as priests before His Father. It is our responsibility and our privilege as sanctified believers to open the doors of our hearts and to bring in the holiness of God to dwell within our spirits.
Temple-building was not an easy task in Solomon's day nor is it today. It took a lifetime to build the temple in ancient Israel, and it is not any different today. Sanctification is an ongoing, never-ending process of giving body, soul, and spirit to the Lord for his choosing. It is a perpetual "setting, seeking, arising, building, and bringing" as a child of God and ultimately as a part of His most holy priesthood in these latter days. He is seeking true temple-builders even today. Do you hear His voice? Have you heeded His commands? Don't delay for there is much to be done and a lifetime of construction ahead!
Heavenly Father, we hear the call. We desire to be Your temple-builders. For those of us who have heeded your voice, we ask you for a clarity and new vision to serve as your priests, building and sanctifying Your temple within. For those who don't know you Lord, call them and convince them of this noble task at hand -- to allow a dwelling place for the Most High God in all His splendor. Empower us all to build with Your wisdom and to Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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