Further to my posting about Ezra, here is another example of the theme of God’s grace relating to Temple building that is found in the Old Testament. The context is that King David is praying for his son and heir Solomon about the building of the Temple and he prays this for the people of Israel and for Solomon :
‘LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.’
Firstly, David recognizes God in relation to the past – he addresses the LORD and identifies him with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. We need to do the same. If we don’t recognize that the character and nature and plan of God are found rooted in the promises given to the Patriarchs and to Israel, we have no basis on which to proceed and all we do will fall, hollow, unrooted and foundationless. But the next thing David does is acknowledge radical dependence on God. He asks God to keep the desires and thoughts (to gladly sacrifice for the building a place for God to dwell in) in the hearts of the people forever, and to keep their hearts loyal to God. It is the same with us. We need to ackowledge that we have no ability to keep our hearts and desires focused on building a place for God to dwell in our lives and churches – we do not keep ourselves loyal and faithful to God, we do not have that ability. Only God does. And true long-lasting loyalty to God only comes when our hearts and desires are kept on God and his presence and dwelling – that his Kingdom come and His will be done on earth and in our lives as it is in heaven.
And then David asks for God to give wholehearted devotion to Solomon. We need to ask the same thing for ourselves, for our families, our pastors and churches, our brothers and sisters. A God-given wholehearted devotion to God to keep his commands and thus to build a place for God to dwell in our lives. David provided for a palatial structure for God, and we need to do the same. Through Jesus God has provided a way for his Kingdom to come on earth – through the building of a Temple of souls devoted to him, a Temple rooted in the supremely sacrificial provision God made through Jesus on the cross.
The result of us doing this is found in the next couple of verses. All the glory and worship goes to God – David and all the people glorify God – so Jesus and we glorify the Father together (Jesus being the representative new humanity and we being found in him and under his rule). So we need to live passionately desiring God, willingly seeking souls by which to build his temple in and around our lives for God to get the praise that his due. He deserves a palatial structure – lots of room to move, and lots of souls to make the provision of Jesus on the cross worthwhile. Jesus has done his bit, the greatest and hardest part, just as David did for the Temple, now we need to be loyal and hard-working and strong and courageous like Solomon, to complete the work in a manner fitting and suitable for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to rule in and tabernacle with us.
Maranatha – come quickly Lord.