Back in Genesis 11 humanity sought to exceed God by building “a city and a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we make a name for ourselves.” (Gen 11:4). Now in 1 Kings 5, King Solomon declares that he intends “to build a house for the name of the Lord“.
This is not a building to make a name for Solomon (like so many other leaders have sought to do through expansive building programs), nor was it to promote the King or his kingdom in any way. This was to be a house worthy of the Lord’s name. A house that will bring him honour and glory!
Bec and I have visited what remains of this house worthy of the name of the Lord, and let me tell you it is HUGE! We could actually touch the “great costly stones” that at Solomon’s command were quarried out by the 80,000 stone cutters in the hill country.
This is Bec at one end of the Temple wall, looking toward the mount of Olives.
This is a friend right up against the wall, which gives you an understanding of the size of just one stone.
We later found out that this was only a small stone compared to some others. The largest measures some 13 feet high by 45 feet long by 14 feet deep, and weighs around 570 tons. That’s equivalent to 2, fully laden 747’s. 1 Kings 6:7 says that these stones were prepared at the quarry and then transported to the site. Each stone perfectly cut to fit in its place.
This was one serious church building program that took 180,000 people 7 years to complete. It is not wrong to put a lot of effort into a church building program, yet it is wrong if the purpose is to glorify our own ability or greatness.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the opening of our new church building, might we once again dedicate it to the glory of the Lord’s name and use it in a way worthy of Him. And let’s also remember that it is not the building that will bring people to God, but the proclamation of the saving news of Jesus. May Jesus name ring out from the people who gather in our building.