Summary: As we’ll see this morning, even though God’s people faced the daunting task of building the Temple, it was a time of jubilant joy and unparalleled unity.
Celebrating God’s Provision
Almost every pastor I know either gets excited about a building program or dreads it like the plague. Some feel very inadequate to the task. Others complain that it takes too much extra work. Many don’t like the tensions that arise related to cost, size, and construction questions. A handful of pastors end up leaving a church before their project is completed.
While this is the first building campaign that I’ve been through, I’m extremely energized by the ministry and outreach potential of the Family Life Center! And, I don’t have any plans to leave. In fact, I can hardly wait for Phase 3 when we construct our new auditorium in a few years! The building of a facility for the work of God should not be a negative experience. As we’ll see this morning, even though God’s people faced the daunting task of building the Temple, it was a time of jubilant joy and unparalleled unity.
As you turn in your Bibles to 1 Chronicles 28, let me set the framework for our study of God’s Word. David is nearing the end of his reign and is realizing that he does not have much longer to live. King David would have loved to build the Temple but 1 Chronicles 28:3 tells us that because he was a warrior and had shed blood, God wanted Solomon, David’s son, to build it instead. Even though David was not allowed to construct God’s house, he accomplished two very important tasks.
1. He launched the project. David had made plans to construct the temple in verse 2 but he told Solomon in verse 10 to “be strong and complete the project.” These plans and specifications, according to verses 11-12, which were put into His mind by the Spirit of God, were handed to Solomon. David was given an extraordinary ability to read these divine blueprints in verse 19: “All this I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and He gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”
God is a God of planning. I’ve been impressed with the leaders of this church, working with Bob Russell, as they have spent hours planning the details of the Family Life Center. I continue to celebrate the vision that God gave to Pastor Frank Beatty and the leadership team several years ago when they decided to move the church facility out here to Route 116. While we might not have a divine blueprint like David had, we certainly have sensed God’s leading and direction as He reveals His plan to us.
2. He challenged the people to be fully committed to God. David recognized that while the Temple building was essential, if believers were not completely committed to God, their whole community would implode. The key in any building campaign must be spiritual growth, not just more bricks and mortar. David raises the spiritual bar for the people in 1 Chronicles 28:8: “…Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God…” He then charges Solomon in verse 9 to “acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind…”
In verse 20, David tells his son to be strong and courageous and to do the work. This word “work” can mean “to bring forth” or “to bruise,” and carries with it the idea of bringing something to completion. The work would not be easy but it needed to be done. Solomon would wear the scars that come from a building program. 1 Kings 6:38 tells us that it took seven years to finish. The last part of verse 20 provides Solomon with a promise: “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service for the temple of the Lord is finished.”
With that as background, turn now to 1 Chronicles 29. The outline that I’m going to use is not original with me. I’m borrowing it from Mike Andrus, pastor of the First Evangelical Free Church in St. Louis.
The Purpose of the House of God
The purpose of the building project is found in verse 1: “Then King David said to the whole assembly: ‘My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.’” Solomon is young and he’s green. The implication is that he’s not as strong as David was. But, since God had chosen him for the job, he could certainly do it. The task was great, which means that it was huge, or noble, because it was not being built for the people, but for God Himself.