“O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thy holy name cometh from Thy hand, and is all Thine own. I know also, my God, that Thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy Thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto Thee.”
Throughout all the ages the Temple of God is being built.
And the great question has ever been: Who builds this house of God?
The answer to that question is given in our text: sometimes it seems as though man is the builder. Listen: “According to the grace of God that is given unto me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” I Cor. 3:10. Also Stephen, Acts 7:47: “But Solomon built Him an house.”
Again we ask: “Who builds this House of God?
Well, let us look at the House of God.
God dwells. But there is a difference. God dwells essentially and spiritually.
Essentially God inhabits eternity, and as such, His Eternal Godhead touches and dwells also in every atom of creation. Literally He fills the Universe, but also exceeds it. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him.
But spiritually God only dwells with those who are akin to God. In that sense God is the Light and only dwells with the children of light. God only feels at home with virtuous. Attend to this: “With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful, and with an upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright. With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the forward Thou wilt show Thyself forward.”
So really God built the House where He may swell with His people.
Its beginning is a symbol in the garden of Eden.
Its type is the altar.
Later this altar became the tabernacle and the temple.
And there is continual development.
Its central fulfillment is Jesus Christ, the Lord.
Listen to the definition of the House of God: “I in them and Thou in Me.”
Subjectively this Temple came through the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ. So that Paul later could ask: “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God?” I Cor. 3:16.
But its final realization is in the day of Christ in eternity: “In My Father’s House are many mansions.” John 14:2.
Now let us look to the building of that House of God.
In the Old Testament there came a time when the building of the House of God came to its completion in the time of Solomon.
Externally and physically we read of the gathering of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, purple, crimson, fine linen, etc. All by the gift of God in the heart of the givers.
And all of this building was by the pattern given by God to Moses on the mount and later to David for Solomon’s building project.
But centrally the meaning of the building Solomon built must be sought and found in the blood of the innocents on the mercy seat.
And around about that mercy seat you found the adoration of God. Often your hear of that mercy and goodness and loving-kindness of God. Sometimes in period of great stress when the singers would precede the warriors in battle, and then they would repeat and repeat again: For His mercy endureth forever!
But in the New Testament everything is spiritualized.
It was the end of land, people, city, temple, the veil, the ark, the mercy seat, blood of innocent animals, and tables of stone.
In its stead you now find the worship of God through the Spirit of Christ and the Word of God.
There is really nothing left of the externals but the Book.
And the spiritual Temple of the Lord is the Church of the living God in Christ.
Now comes the question: Who builds this Temple, who builds this Church of the living God?
Well, look first at the shadow in the Old Testament.
It really began with the first sermon ever preached, and here is the text: Where art thou? (That question of God was addressed to Adam and Eve.)
And here is the explanation which God gave: Enmity between God’s people and the devil. The Seed would come. And victory for the Church.
And God gave a visible pledge: the skins of animals to clothe the church. Note the skinned, bloody spectacle of the animals. Look strongly at those bloody corpses. They are Christ.
And then let us look at Moses.
Here he comes down the mountain and his skin shines with heavenly glory. No wonder: he has seen the pattern of the temple of God.
And also listen to Solomon: O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand and is all Thine own . . .
Also listen to David: Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it . . .
Yes, beloved, God builds the House, and He builds it alone.
All through the weary ages, 4000 years, long, the Lord chose Israel, called Israel, drew Israel from Egypt and Chaldea and established Israel to be the House of the living God.
The ever recurring refrain of the song of the church is this: IT IS ALL THINE OWN!
In the New Testament?
Let us take our cue from Paul: “Was Paul crucified for you?” I Cor. 1:13.
Or listen to John: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Or you could listen to Isaiah: He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11. Or listen to Jesus Himself: “It is finished!” He began the building and He finished it, bleeding and dying on the accursed tree.
Except the Lord build the house.
God gave Jesus and He wrought.
Christ gave the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
And that Spirit? Listen: “For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of. His good pleasure.”
Listen to the conclusion of the whole matter: “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Him be glory for ever. Amen.”
But do we not build?
Look at the builders: Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and John. Later we see Augustine, Huss, Luther, Calvin, Dordrecht and the fathers. But—they proved by their work that the God of our salvation was working in them and through them.
And therefore we often read in the Bible: Salvation is of the Lord!
Now let us look at the builders, the humans who received the most wonderful blessing that they might lay their hands on the Lord’s work.
And let me assure you: they build this House of God with joy!
Look first at the Old Testament.
God tries the hearts.
All Israel lay open and naked before His all-seeing eye.
He knew the intent and motive why all this gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, purple, crimson and fine linen was given to Him.
And He also knew why Pharisee and publican and all between builded and drew near to Him for worship.
And God has established the norm and here it is: God has pleasure in uprightness.
See it in David, in Solomon and in the Israel of God.
Where the true Temple of God is built, there reigns uprightness of heart. We have the testimony of the Spirit. It is expressed in the text. Listen: “As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things.”
Does that mean that you do not sin? Of course not. But even with respect to your sin you are upright. You do not cover up those sins, but you pour out your heart like the publican. Or like David. Listen to him in Psalm 51.
In the New Testament we work out that which God works within us. That is eternal uprightness.
And the flower of uprightness is joy!
Listen to Solomon: “I have seen with joy Thy people!”
Let me ask you a question here: How do you feel when you enter the church on the Sabbath morning, and when you see and hear the singing of the sweet psalms of David?
Listen again to Paul: “God loveth the cheerful giver!”
It is ever the reward of God upon His own work in you.
When your work, action, operation, manifestation and revelation prove that God worketh within you, heavenly joy sings in your heart!
And it is especially this people who are first to acknowledge that Salvation is of the Lord!
Man, you know, is a very proud creature. Just listen to the whispering in your own heart. It is the result of the poison of the devil in Paradise: you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
That lie was spoken first by the devil, and wicked men have repeated this lie throughout all the ages.
And they also attached this lie to the Gospel of Christ.
But we will sing of the truth: God builds His everlasting House! Amen.