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BUILDING A TEMPLE
by Philip Owen

            King David had earnestly desired to build a temple for the Lord, but God had refused that desire, explaining to David, “You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood. . . .  Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts” (I Chron. 28:3, 6).  Without the least bit of petulance, but only rejoicing, David set about gathering the materials and preparing the people for the temple his son would build.  His enthusiastic devotion resulted from the significance of the work, for as David explained, “the work is great; for the temple is not for man, but for the Lord God” (I Chron. 29:1).   Although we are not called upon to build a temple of stone today, every New Testament believer is a temple indwelt by God, a temple that is not for us “but for the Lord God.”  Yet David’s approach to the task of building a stone temple offers a pattern for us to follow in building the New Testament church, particularly its individual members, especially ourselves.

            1.  “With all my ability.”  In a speech intended to prepare the leaders of God’s people to build the temple, David testified, “Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God” (29:2).  He then listed the various materials he had assembled, including gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, onyx, inlaid stones, antimony, many other precious stones, and alabaster.  The Hebrew word translated as ability means “strength, power, might.”  David employed all the skill and wisdom with which God had blessed him to gather the right kinds, quality, and number of resources needed to build a magnificent structure.  Whether or not he got his hands dirty in the actual acquisition of materials, he exhausted his energy just the same in order to provide the best that was possible for the house of his God.

            2.  “In my delight.”  “In my delight in the house of my God,” David continued, “the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple” (v. 3).  While it is theoretically possible to devote all one’s ability in a mechanical fashion, David clearly gave his whole heart to what God had called him to do.  The fact that God limited him from having the pleasure of building the structure himself and seeing it with his own eyes did nothing to diminish David’s enthusiasm for what God had called him to do.  He delighted to do God’s will.  Doing God’s will in this matter was the chief source of David’s pleasure; he loved doing what God had called him to do.

            3.  “Willing to consecrate.”  “Who then,” David asked, “is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord?” (v. 5).   The infinitive to consecrate might be translated literally as “to fill his hand.”  Just as David had fully given what he had (ability) and what he was (delight) to God’s work of preparing to build the temple, so he called upon those enlisted in the service to fill their hands with God’s work—a very picturesque way of describing dedication, since someone who has full hands has no capacity to do anything other than what he is doing.   David insisted upon single-minded devotion to God’s cause:  God and His work of building the temple must come first.

            The application is clear, is it not?  The bodies of believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing short of complete dedication to the Lord is satisfactory to God.   He calls upon us to serve Him completely with our hands (ability), our hearts (delight), and our volition (consecration).  Haphazard, half-hearted, casual, or careless Christianity dishonors the Lord.  “The temple [our bodies] . . . [are] not for man, but for the Lord God.”  Far too many believers seem willing to allow the God of heaven to dwell in a dilapidated shack, indifferent to the call of the Lord to honor Him in thought, word, and deed.  David, however, was a man after God’s own heart, not because he was flawless, but because he yielded all he had and was to accomplish God’s will.  May we learn from him and emulate his blessed example.   

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