Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. (Psalm 127:1)
Relate: In some ways I might not fit into the traditional role of what a man should be able to know and do. Pop the hood of a car and have me look in: “Well, yes, that looks like an engine. It seems a bit dirty and, ouch, oh yes, that part is definitely hot.” I am not mechanically inclined and neither am I all that great at construction. My uncles can and have taken old houses, gutted them, and completely rebuilt it to sell for a decent profit. Me… there was this one time I put a bookshelf together with no instructions. For some reason they weren’t included when the thing arrived at my house. No worries, I had another shelf exactly like it. Part of why I bought a second one was how simple it had been the first time so even without something to look at, in about five or six hours, I had that thing all figured out and ready to add books. I didn’t even cheat and look it up on youtube.
React: In today’s reading, Solomon was about to put together one of the wonders of the ancient world. His Temple could be considered one of the most famous buildings in human history. Although there was nothing like it, you can’t really say it came without instructions. Solomon’s father David had spent most of his later life planning and preparing for this Temple to be built. Beyond that, Moses had built a Tabernacle under God’s specific instruction and in most ways, Solomon’s Temple was a grander, permanent version of that Tent. Far more than the physical layout, however, the spiritual truth found in the Psalms could be considered the most important of building instructions. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the work of the builders is wasted.”
Time and again, the nation of Judah was under the control of an evil king. Time and again judgement came to them and ultimately they went into exile while this Temple was torn down piece by magnificent piece. Having the Temple was not a fool proof defense against calamity any more than my having a bookshelf is a defense against stupidity. If I don’t fill that shelf with the right books, if I do not read those books and then try to let them shape my life, that bookshelf is just a pretty decoration filling up space in my apartment.
Other kings after Solomon filled the Temple with the wrong things. They put in altars and representations to false gods. Other kings did not go that far. They simple let it fall into disuse. Often one of the first things a godly king of Judah had to do was clean out and/or repair that Temple. Are there things on my bookshelf that need to be cleared out? Are there things there that would benefit me if I ever bothered to open them up? What about our homes and lives? Do we need to do some cleaning and/or repair? Unless the Lord builds our house, we are all wasting time.
God, I belong to You. I am Your house, Your temple. Build me. All too often, I am allowing other’s ideas or input, put me together. I am allowing my own messed up ideas and contributions mess up what You are trying to construct in my life. I’m no good at that. None of us are. Tear down those things that do not fit into Your Master plan and build anew. Let me be Your handiwork. No one else’s. Not even my own. Everything I say and do, everything I am, is Yours.