Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

God's Master Builder (2 Chronicles 2)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's turn our attention now to God's word in second chronicles, chapter two. Second Chronicles, Chapter Two, second chronicles, chapter two. Now Solomon purpose to build a temple for the name of Jehovah and a Royal Palace for himself. And Solomon assigned seventy thousand men to bear burdens and eighty thousand to quarry in the hill country and three thousand six hundred to oversee them. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, the king of Tire, as you dealt with David, my father, and send him Cedar, to build himself a house to dwell in. So deal with me. Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of Jehovah, my God, and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him and for the regular arrangements of the showbread and for burnt offerings morning and evening on the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of Jehovah, our God, as ordained forever for Israel. The House that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house? Since Heaven even highest heaven cannot contain him. Who Am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? So now send me a man skilled to work in gold, silver, bronze and iron and in purple, Crimson and blue fabrics, trained also in engraving, to be with the skilled workers who are with me in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David, my father, provided. Send me also Cedar Cyprus and Algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants know how to cut timber in Lebanon, and my servants will be your with your servants to prepare timber for me in abundance, for the House that I am to build will be great and wonderful. I will give for your servants, the Woodsman Who Cut Timbers, Twentyzero Corps of crushed wheat, Twentyzero corps of barley, twentyzero baths of wine and twentyzero baths of oil. Then Hiram, the king of tire, answered in a letter that he sent to Solomon. Because Jehovah loves his people, he has made you king over them. Hiram also said, blessed be Jehovah, God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, who has discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for Jehovah and a Royal Palace for himself. Now I have sent a skilled man who has understanding, who Ram Abi, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of tire. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron stone and wood, and in purple, blue and Crimson Fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him with your craftsman, the craftsman of my Lord David, your father. Now, therefore, the wheat and barley, oil and wine of which my Lord has spoken, let him send to his servants and we will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you and rafts by sea to Joppa so that you may take it up to Jerusalem. Then Solomon counted all the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel after the census of them that David, his father, had taken, and there were found a hundred and fifty three thousand six hundred Seventyzero of them. He assigned to bear burdens, eightyzero to corry in the hill country and three thousand six hundred as overseers to make the people work. You may be seated. I find it very easy to imagine myself in this kind of situation,...

...not me as any kind of particular character, but everything is so detailed here, the Inns, the letters between these two kings, of it all makes a lot of sense. You can imagine similar building projects being done various kinds of trap and Trans Actions. Even today we do these kinds of things. For example, if you were to go and and build a big house or a big project or even just a general remodel of your home, you might hire a general contractor, and it seems that that's something of what Solomon is asking for. He writes to hire them and he says I need someone who's skilled not in any one thing but in everything, and it's interesting too that he seeks this from him. We might come back to that later, but anyway, all of these details as we see them, as grand as they are, it's clear to us what's going on here. Solomon says it himself. He's purposed to build a temple and all these things. There's many different lessons and things we might see. We might consider God's keeping his promises. The promises he made David back in first chronicles seventeen are being fulfilled here in this very real way. We also see here in second chronicles to a great demonstration of the wisdom that God has blessed Solomon with as he organizes his resources, in the way that he writes his letter and deals with this foreign king, in the work correspondence that goes back and forth. We even read hire Ms Profession of God's blessing on Solomon and his wisdom. What I want to focus on particularly this evening, though, is worship, the worship that is being established here, because ultimately that's what the temple is about, that's what Solomon is after. He says he purposes to build a temple for the Lord, but he says, of course, I'm not doing this to contain God somehow, because God dwells outside of temples, above the highest heaven. He can even the highest heaven cannot contain him. He has in mind probably the stars. To speak of the heavens, is sort of the clouds and sky, the sort of area just most directly above the earth and then even above that, the scars, the Stars and the highest heavens. Solomon says, as far as you can see, even the greatest expanses that we know they can't contain God. So I'm not trying to build a house for that. I'm trying to build a house for him, he says, so that I can dedicate it to him, for the burning of offerings and incense, for the celebration of faces and festivals. He says. I build to him a house as a place to make offerings before him. It's a place for worship. When we considered in Romans, in our morning services, the worship of Israel, we talked about how worship was expressed in Israel in various ways, and we see some of that here. Explicit things I'm being mentioned, but one of the things to notice, I want to mention three this evening, is that worship was about devotion to God, first and foremost. I'm second, worship was central to all of life and third, worship in Israel was also for the world. And these three things come out in various ways in this chapter, ways in which we come to understand what it was God was...

...establishing in Israel. Under Solomon what kind of worship he was establishing in that place. The first thing is that it worship was about devotion and honor and fear of the Lord, to Yah Way, to God, the God of Israel. We see this in verse one. It was a temple, not in Solomon's name or the name of some moon God or something else. It is in the name of the Lord Jehovah or Yah Way. We also see that in verse four when he says I build a house in the name of the Lord, my God, and I'm going to dedicate it to him. That's what this is for. David had a house. Solomon will build a palace, but this one is for his God. Another way we see that worship is about devotion and honor to God is in its architecture. Notice what Solomon says in Verse Five. The House that I'm to billy build will be great. Then he gives a reason for our God is greater than all gods. Later on he also describes it as great and wonderful. We choose the architecture of various buildings to communicate particular things. Perhaps it's connection to the surrounding land, or perhaps it's connection to cultural history. Or perhaps the function and purpose of the building of skating rank is probably going to look a little different than a shopping mall or a house. Here Solomon Talks about the the reason why this building will be designed as it is so that offerings can be made and it is to be great, for God is greater than all gods. You see that worship is a Divo, about devotion to God and even the plans that are being made. Hiram also makes these points when he praises Yah, way, when he praises God. So, for example, and verse eleven, we read that when Hiram answers, when Hiram Answers Psalm, and he says because Jehovah loves his people, he has made you great. Blessed Be Jehovah, God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son and discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for Jehovah and a Royal Palace for Himself? Worship, as I'm pointing out, as second chronicles teaches us, is about devotion and honor to God. It's worth pausing and reflecting on that point and thinking about our own worship. Who is our worship for when we come to worship, why do we worship? What is it for? The things that we do, the things that we say? What is it all about? Is it for God or is it for some other reason? Some people come for other's sake, to impress family or appease family, for friends, for community, to prove something. Some people come and make a habit out of worship to do something for others. Other people come to worship to do something for themselves, perhaps to prove something to themselves, perhaps to show something to themselves. But ultimately our worship. But in some senses it's for others, in some senses as for ourselves. Ultimately our worship, real worship, is about devotion, not to ourselves, not to others, but to God. That's what worship was about here in the Old Testament. That's every aspect of the temple made that clear, and it should be the same for us. Our worship should reflect God,...

...the God of Israel. Our worship should respond to God and he should have our best. When we come in worship, we should be giving our best to God. That's what Solomon does here, and you see it in a few different ways. You see it it for example, and all the gold and silver and the precious metals. You see it in the woods that he chooses. He could have gathered woods from Israel, but he doesn't because he wants the best woods and he knows the best woods come from other places. The cedars of Lebanon, Algum timber that's mentioned here as well as was known for being something that could be highly polished, beautiful grain, some of the woods that are chosen in the temple, or also bug resistant, mild resistant. He's choosing the best. Sometimes, when we build projects, we don't choose the best. We need a cheap we want to get it done fast. That that's not what Solomon does. He makes a political arrangement with another king to transport would and all the rest, for these are very for this special purpose of giving all that he has, the greatest, the best that he has, to the worship of God. You see it in the these fabrics as well, purple, Crimson, blue, fine fabrics. Well, one of these dies, one of these dyes, was likely imported from Phoenicia. I was reading that one. In one commentary it said that a chemist had had studied this die and calculated that it would take about a quarter of a million of these snails that are used to make this die, to make about one ounce of pure die. It's a lot of work. These things are expensive, time consuming, labor intensive. You think about the stone cutting that was required for projects like this. There are various reliefs throughout the ancient near east of people doing this kind of work, texts that talk about sore backs and sore thighs. They would go into these quarries and pull out these large stones. Stones would ben be dressed in very careful ways, so carefully actually, that you wouldn't always have to use mortar to hold it all together. Solomon is giving his best because yahwaghs great and worship is ultimately about devotion to him. A second point we might learn about worship from this passage is that worship of God and among his people is central to life. It's a center point. It is of what the people are about. It organizes everything. In Romans twelve one, we read that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. When Paul says this, he has in mind that we are to take ourselves in every aspect of our lives and give ourselves, our bodies, over to God in obedience to him, and that is our spiritual worship, our sacrifice that is wholly and acceptable to God. God doesn't want part of us, he wants all of us, our heart, our mind, our strength. That's what Jesus says when he when someone asks him what the Greatest Commandments are, when he talks about devotion to the Lord, he talks about love. He means complete love in every sense. Hebrews Thirteen, fifteen and sixteen to expresses it similarly through Jesus. Then let us continually offer up,...

...continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God. That is the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. You See, the New Testament, when it describes our lives, when it describes our worship in these old testament terms, describes them in this continual way. We are to give ourselves fully and continually over to God. The continual aspect of this worship is symbolized and ritualized here in second chronicles too, in the temple, when Solomon Talks about what's going to be going on in the temple. He talks about the regular kind of life that would be going on in Israel. He mentions he mentions the incense. In Verse Four. He says he's building this House for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him. He also mentions for the regular arrangement of the showbread. These two things, the incense in the showbread, were two of three things, three pieces of furniture or artic temple articles that were in the holy place, that place right before or you entered into the holy of holies or the most holy place. The incense was a an altar. There was an altar similar to the altar that was in other altars in the temple, with polls of ACACIA and rings and those kinds of things, and on this altar incense would be offered to God. It would be a pleasing aroma, a sacrifice to God. In addition to this incense that would be offered regularly, there would be the showbread, where the bread of presence on the on the altar of the bread of presence, I'm twelve loaves representing the twelve tribes of Israel, would be placed each and every week and then on the Sabbath Aaron and his sons would eat of that bread. Regular things going on in the life of Israel. We also read of daily sacrifices, burnt offerings morning and the evening. Every single day in Israel there was a continual sacrifice to God. Now, these were probably one lamb in the morning and one lamb in the evening, offered corporately for all of Israel, representative for all of Israel, not each and every single person bringing one lamb in the morning in one lamb in the evening, but the priests would offer these on behalf of the people to God. A lamb, a male lamb, one year old, without blemish, was what was required. One in the morning and another at twilight. Every morning, every evening, every day, day after day after day after day, sacrifice is going up before the Lord. In addition to these daily burnt offerings, Paul, I'm sorry, the Chronicler also mentions the sabbaths. In addition to these daily sacrifices in Israel there were weekly a sacrifices on the Sabbath in addition to the daily offerings. That day two additional lambs would be offered and in addition to these weekly extra offerings, on each Sabbath, each seventh day, each new moon that would come along, there would be two more bowls and one ram and seven sheep, in addition to a goat offered as a sin offering. And in addition to these regular monthly offerings, at each new moon, there were regular feasts going on throughout the year. A each harvest there was...

...a separate feast, three three different feasts include and on top of that, the Feast of trumpets and the Day of Atonement. All of these taken together that he mentions here, the incense, the showbread, the morning and evening sacrifices, the Sabbaths, the new moons and all the appointed feasts of the Lord. This is what's going on in Israel. You see why I say worship was a continual part of life, a regular part of life. Israel, in the temple, was continually offering up sacrifices to God, and these were just the regular ones. They are all kinds of additional sacrifices that might be offered, offerings that would be given, some things that we'd be done unto the Lord. It was central to life and it still is. We no longer have the temple. And indeed, Paul says, and in Colossi in sixteen, let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to festivals or new moon or Sabbath. He gives a reason for that. He says this is why we no longer do those things. In verse seventeen. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ when Christ is come here. When Christ came, he fulfilled all of these things that were anticipated here, and so we don't go back to shadows and types anymore when we have the reality in Christ. Nevertheless, that same principle of continual worship, of continually giving ourselves over to God, is still true. The forms of these things have changed, but you know Jesus Christ does when he sits at the father's right hand. The Bible says he's continually offering intercession for us, pleading his own sacrifice, his own blood. We don't offer sacrifices again and again and again, day after day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, because Jesus is there. A sacrifice was final and complete for us. But in that our worship still remains a central part of our lives. It's not just a Sunday thing, though on Sundays we do do something special. We meet corporately and receive, we receive the Lord's means of grace. Nevertheless, throughout the week we continually offer ourselves, at least we try to offer ourselves, and we should offer ourselves as a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord, our God. The final thing to note about worship here is that worship in Israel was for the world. Various portions of scripture, and Jesus mentions this as well. The temple was intended to be a house of prayer for the nation's that's a remarkable thing, since this temple was promised to David and Solomon and Israel in particular. But we see something of that happening even here in the construction of the temple, in High Ram's confession, in the service of these foreign people, in the great this contractor, this general contractor that is hired to come and oversee and make sure that all these things are done well and done perfectly in the resident aliens and strangers that are living among Israel, these people that are signed to bear burdens, to quarry the hill country and even oversee the work and make sure it's done well. The worship of Israel was for the Lord, or, I'm sorry, well, was for the Lord, but it was also for the world. It was to benefit the world. The world was in some ways to participate in it and to enjoy in it. And again, as with these other two things, this also is true. But as with the first two things, all the things...

...change and worship tray changes in some significant ways. When Jesus comes to the first point, worship is still devotion to God, but now we realize and we understand that God. When we say that, we mean also Jesus, this one who came, who was born of Mary, who's born in a stable and died on a cross. We worship him. He wasn't just someone who came to do some good things. He came to save us and he saved us as God himself. Jesus is God himself and we worship him. As to the second point about the worship being central to life, we've already said and noted that worship in the temple changes. But if fit's fulfilled in him and continues in him today, we might say that worship, the ritualized worship, happens less often. We don't have a morning and evening sacrifices or monthly sacrifices, are really any sacrifices? But another way it happens constantly now, with Jesus constantly, continually interceding for us. Another way in which we see a change after Jesus is now the worship of God is spread high. Room isn't participating in worship from afar, but we see the temple being in God's people everywhere and in all places, and not just kings but people all over the world worshiping God. And that that. That brings us to that last point. Let me read again, as we've quoted various times. Second Peter, I'm sorry, Second Peter, I'm versus chapter one, of versus five and six. No, I am right, I am right, and wrong his first Peter, First Peter, the chapter one, chapter two, versus five through six. We read that you yourselves, like living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house. Here Peter Speaks to us as Christians. He speaks to us in terms of a temple. He says that we are to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For as it stands in scripture, behold, I'm laying in Zion a stone, a corner stone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. Do you remember why they wanted to put Jesus to death? Because he was saying things about the temple was one of the reasons, anyway. For example, in Matthew Twelve six, he says, I tell you something greater than the temple is here. That's a pretty remarkable statement in light of second chronicles, to thousands upon thousands, hundreds of thousands of people at work building this thing, international relationships being formed to build this structure, the worship of Yahway going on day in and day out here, all fulfillments as of God's promises to David. And yet Jesus comes and says of himself, I tell you something greater than the temple is here. In John to nineteen, he says destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again. There we read that Jesus is being somewhat coy and that he's in John tells us he's talking about his body and that when he did rise from the dead, the disciples believed the scripture...

...and Jesus's words. When Jesus speaks in this way, when he speaks about something being greater than the temple, when he speaks about his own body being that temple, he's telling US something. He's telling us that all of this greatness and all of this worship and all that is given to God here and second chronicles too, comes into an even greater form, a more majestic form, a more wonderful form, a more precious form in himself. When Jesus dies and rises from the dead, he raises a temple that will last forever. When Peter tells us that we are those stones that the Holy Spirit himself is quarrying out of the mess of the world and dressing and building up into this holy temple, he's telling US something very significant. When we see hierum worship being and praising God and blessing God and participating in this project, we are beginning to get just a foretaste of what we experience every day when people from all over the world come and worship and play it praise the God of Solomon, of David, of Abraham. This is a wonderful thing to which we belong. When John says that the disciples believed of the Scripture and Jesus's words, it's also is implicitly saying that we should too. When we read of the temple in the Old Testament, our minds should go to Jesus Christ and the and and his work as a priest, as a sacrifice, as a builder of a House that is better than the Salt House that Solomon built. When we read of this in the Old Testament, when we sing the psalms, when we consider who we are, we must think about ourselves as belonging to Jesus in this way, a great way, a glorious way, a wonderful way and a way that all fulfills God's promises and desires for worship, worshiping him. Let us pray.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (648)