Building Plans

In the Covenant Sunday school class this semester we are looking at the books of I and 2 Kings. While I want to encourage those in that class to continue to read on their own as we take a brief break to look at a few other things, I also wanted to write about an interesting issue from I Kings that I hope will be an encouragement to us all.

Have you ever built something technically difficult? A model car or plane as a child, patiently following the instructions, clipping each piece from the plastic, molded frame and dabbing glue to the end of each? Have you ever assembled a quilt, hand stitching each section with love?  Have you ever had to assemble a grill or lawnmower or even a shed? Hundreds of parts, countless screws and instructions that only a PhD candidate would write (or someone located in China) can be infuriating, tedious, and joy-filled all at the same time.

I can remember a time when my parents, upon my father’s retirement from the military, were finally able to build their retirement home on a piece of property they had in the Virginia mountains. Day-after-day, month-after-month of exacting attention was given by both of them, my father the general contractor on-site and my mother, the interior decorator. Weeks passed into months, referring to detailed plans as they gradually saw their dream home come to life right in front of their eyes; their anticipation grew as they dreamed of their life together in that home, enjoying a place of rest.

In a similar way King David dreamed of building a temple for the Lord. In the book of First Kings, Solomon was charged with the exalted privilege of building God’s house, the Temple. David, his father had asked for this right but God had told him that because he was a man “that has shed much blood”, that the responsibility would pass to his son, Solomon. Was this a slight on David, referring to his killing of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba? Or was this a condemnation of David’s military exploits? No, to either explanation. David was called by God to bring peace to the land and to God’s people by conquering those groups that inhabited the land, still in his day and those who would threaten it from outside. God was bringing to completion the giving and settling of the land to the Israelites, and David was His chosen instrument. Once the land was settled, there would be peace from war. With this task completed by David, his son Solomon would be used to usher in a time where God would rest among His people, symbolized by the building of God’s permanent dwelling, the Temple.  What a privilege it must have been for Solomon to labor, using the detailed instructions from the Lord and seeing the Temple being built, board by board and item by item. God would now settle and rest in a unique and wonderful way, right in the midst of His people. “Solomon’s compliance with the architectural details foreshadow the compliance of Jesus Christ, the one greater than Solomon, with all the moral requirements of the law necessary for our salvation.” (Dr. Mark Ross, ARP Quarterly curriculum).

Isn’t this an amazing series of events? First war and bloodshed, then peace and rest? This ought to remind us of God’s greater plan for His people, His spiritual Israel, the church. We too have endured warfare, a spiritual warfare against an unceasing enemy, the devil. He has sought to attack and destroy. Our King, Jesus Christ, has fought and shed His blood on the Cross that we might have peace with a righteous God. Now in Christ we can ultimately have rest:  rest from the righteous requirements of the law, requirements that we could never keep; rest from the wrath of God, rightly aimed at us but taken by Jesus on the Cross; rest from the dangers of the fiery darts of the evil one and rest one day for all of eternity, enjoying the close and personal presence of the Lord and the Father, in heaven, the eternal dwelling of God. We will reign in heaven with Christ, enjoying the intimate closeness of God for all time.  As Solomon labored diligently to build the Temple, so too does Jesus Christ labor to build for us an eternal dwelling! Good news and what a great plan!

While we can anticipate eternal rest to come, what about today? Is there any rest for the weary in the here and now? There indeed is. God offers rest as we walk in faith with Him, taking up the Word of God, prayer, fellowship with other believers and worship of the One True God. Are we taking full advantage of these God given forms of rest? Are you going to the Father, daily being renewed by time with Him, as we have seen Christ doing in places like Mark 1:35? Are we gathering weekly for corporate worship, not “forsaking the gathering” with other believers? Will we take the Lord’s Supper when offered, to be renewed in our faith? Are we gathering often with our families to open God’s Word? Each of these areas is given that we might find true rest in the Lord. Fellow weary traveler, rest easy in the Lord!