Can we build it? Yes we can. But Why?

Click here to read I Kings 6 on BibleGateway.com

I’ll be the first to admit that construction in any form is not my forte.  Most of my projects end up looking they were completed by a blind gibbon who used his favorite pages from four different sets of instructions rather than rely on the “suggested” directions of any one project.

So it probably comes as no surprise that sometimes when the Bible starts to talk about the specifics of constructing the tabernacle, or temple, or the exact dimensions of the gates of Jerusalem, my mind tends to wander a little.  However, if you are like me and prefer all your construction to be of the lego variety, all hope is not lost.  These chapters actually have some interesting points to make; we just have to look at them little harder.

SHHH…

So, in I Kings 6, we get some of the details of the construction of Solomon’s temple.  Notice first of all that it says in verse 7 that none of the shaping of stone was done at the building site itself.  All the stones were cut and dressed at the quarry, so that when they were actually brought to the building site, there was no sound of chipping the stone, or any of the mess.  There are obviously a lot of different proposed reasons for that, but it’s possible that this was done so that there was nothing to distract people from the worship of God.

Also, if you read the dimensions of the rooms in verse 6, you will notice that each floor is slightly larger than the one below it.  Again, there are some various guesses as to why, but most scholars believe this is so that the beams for each floor would not have to be cut into the wall.  They just rested on the ceiling of the floor below them, so there would again not be any noise of drilling, or damage done to the temple wall.

If we look at these two sections (and others) we can see that there was a sense of making the temple special not only in its use, but also its construction.  From Day One, people wanted to ensure that the worship of God was separate from every day living.  Special care was taken in every aspect of worship, so that they would never take it for granted. This is the same argument for the construction of beautiful cathedrals in the Middle Ages, or for caring for churches today.

NOT ONE STONE

Of course, being people that we are, we get things turned around.  The Israelites began to care more about the Temple itself than the God it was built for; they made elaborate rituals and rules that God never intended, and they began to trust that the Temple itself protected them.  It took the destruction of that Temple (multiple times) to remind them that it is God who is the focus, not the building.

Today, we sometimes forget that church buildings are simply the mechanism to worship God, not worship itself.  Or that our preferred style of music is essential to worship.  Or that a well-manicured lawn or matching carpet is necessary to enter into God’s presence.  These things are all fine if they are done to glorify God, but not if they are done to satisfy our sense of fashion or to impress others. We need to be careful that we don’t forget God and his people are the real focus, not building and protecting the tools we use to accomplish that mission.

If not one stone was left of your church building, would it impact your worship?

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