Discover His heart: He fills our lives with His glorious presence to accomplish His will
“During the fourth year of Solomon’s reign he began to construct the Temple of the Lord…480 years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in the land of Egypt.” (6:1) The construction of the portable Tabernacle that we read about in Exodus was built to last for several lifetimes – 480 years! God was specific in His instructions for a reason.
Those of us who have been involved in temporary church sites in strip malls and rented spaces understand the cumbersome putting up and tearing down week after week of sound systems, chairs and all that goes with church. Compared to 480 years, our duration seems insignificant, but because these accounts in the Bible are given to us as lessons, we would do well to consider the reasons for the delay in the building the permanent temple.
During the 480 years, the Israelites were often disobedient and willful against the Lord and were ruled by many judges of like mind. The people wanted to be like other nations and demanded a king to rule over them because God was not quite enough in their thinking. King Saul was a major disappointment to everyone, including God, and David the warrior king had too much bloodshed on his hands for the building of God’s temple.
Finally, King Solomon was chosen for this task. In the building of almost everything, God uses people as his instruments to accomplish His will. When the building is taking longer than we desire, it never hurts to examine our hearts. Are we disobedient or willful in our labors? Is God’s plan enough in our thinking or are we compelled to help Him out, usurping His plan? No doubt this will slow down our progress.
A significant hindrance to the building of the temple was Israel’s enemies. From the moment they entered the Promised Land, nobody wanted them there. The Israelites fought to take possession, struggled through the judge era and then through the early kings, but they never gave up. We can be sure that anything we build for the glory of the Lord, be it family, career or church, will be met by resistance from our enemy. He will attempt to defeat us at every turn, but we can never give up! Every demon from hell in local governments will thwart our attempt to build a church or a business for the Lord, raising our costs and burying us in red tape. The enemy may bring out the big guns by attacking our families, but we can never give up!
How do we defeat our enemy and stay strong in our process of building the temple, our family or whatever it is? We do it the same way we maintain victory once we achieve it. At the completion of the temple, “When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple.”(8:10-11) I just love it when the presence of the Lord fills my space to the point where I can no longer perform (NIV) or continue my service, and it becomes all about Him. Willfulness and disobedience cannot exist there in His Presence, and governments and enemies must bow before Him. With tenacity to complete the task, I yield to His direction, His handiwork – He is more than enough.
Moving Forward: Submitted to His plan for my day, I call for His glorious presence to fill my space, to defeat my enemies and to complete the work He has begun.
Tomorrow @ Psalms 66-68