The Building Site of the Temple
The Scriptures refer to two types of temples: one made of stone, which was built in Israel, and the other made of flesh, which is the church. The first temple, Solomon's, was built at a predetermined site that God selected. Even as the Lord carefully chose the building site for the temple of stone, so He is looking at the landscape of our hearts, seeking to make us His temple of flesh.
Two important events were instrumental in designating the temple site. These events developed over many years but were nevertheless a composite of what we ourselves must become. The first is found in the life of Abraham.
The Lord brought Abraham to a place of spiritual fulfillment in his son Isaac. But a time came when it was required of Abraham to choose between his love for God and his love for what God had given him. The Lord commanded Abraham to take his son to the land of Moriah. There Abraham was told to offer Isaac on the mountain of God's choosing.
"On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. And Abraham said to his young men, 'Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you'" (Gen. 22:4-5). Please notice Abraham's last statement, "We will worship and return." We see here the perfection of faith in the atmosphere of worship. Abraham's faith told him they would both return, but it was his attitude of worship that enabled him to go up. The story is well known. The angel of the Lord stopped Abraham, knife in hand, from taking Isaac's life. Yet it was within the plan and purpose of God to require obedience of His servant. Abraham's love for God was tested and proven true.
Likewise, to qualify to be part of the house of the Lord, the first attitude we must possess is a worshiping heart; we must be willing to give to God what we love the most. For pastors, it may be surrendering personal dreams concerning their ministry or their churches. For intercessors, it may be giving up their role of leadership in a local prayer group in order that those praying might be integrated into a larger corporate body.
In death every man ultimately surrenders all he owns to God. Those who are called to build Christ's house do so by surrendering even their highest loves to the Almighty. Abraham offered to God his greatest love, Isaac, who was the embodiment of God’s promise. Yet Abraham laid all his dreams upon an altar he built with his own hands.
Abraham was willing to trust God to fulfill His promises, knowing that death is no barrier to the Almighty. So also those whom God will use in building His house will be people who willingly surrender their greatest loves to God. Within their yielding, worshiping hearts, He will build His house.
The Full Price
The next event that reveals the "DNA" of the spiritual temple is seen in the life of King David. He is standing upon a mountaintop overlooking Jerusalem; his sin has brought the Lord's displeasure upon the nation. In response to his repentance, David is told to build an altar to the Lord on Ornan's threshing floor. Although Ornan freely volunteered his oxen for the sacrifice and his ox yoke for the fire, David refused. Rather, He said,
"For the full price you shall give it to me, that the plague may be restrained from the people. . . . I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing" (1 Chron. 21:22-24).
David's attitude exemplifies the heart for which God seeks. Indeed, it is one thing to come to Christ "just as we are" and find salvation; quite another thing, once saved, to pay the price to unite with others as God’s temple. If we are going to serve God, then let us serve Him with a full heart and for the full price.
Let us also consider that Ornan was a Jebusite, not a Jew. Ornan's people had been routed from the region by David in an earlier war, although Ornan remained. The king could have taken Ornan's land as spoils, but again David pays the full price.
Beloved, David's attitude stands in stark contrast to typical American Christianity. Too many of us look for shortcuts or drift without vision or commitment. Let us not look for shortcuts to God nor offer the Lord that which is another's. Rather, let's pay the full price.
Time passed and finally, like all men, David died. It is Solomon, his son, who is completing David's vision of the temple. Listen to the sacred text describe the building site of the temple:
"Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (2 Chron. 3:1).
Remarkably, the very mountain upon which David stood, where he refused to offer a sacrifice that cost him nothing, is Mount Moriah, the same place where Abraham offered Isaac to God six centuries earlier.
Beloved, Scripture assures us that before the return of Christ, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be built and all the nations shall stream to it (Isa. 2:2). Let us embrace the call as worshipers, as those who put on the altar of God that which we love the most. Yes, let us pay the full price to see the house of the Lord rebuilt in our lives and in our times.
Lord Jesus, I desire to be fully given to You. Forgive me for offering costless sacrifices and borrowed gifts. Jesus, I want to pay the full price. Lord, I know the issue is not what I can do for You but what You can make of me. I surrender my all to You. May the quality of my life be suitable for Your house. And grant me a heart of faith and worship to bring my Isaac to the altar. In Jesus' name, amen.
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