In Part 1 of this article, we read about the Queen of Sheba, whose wonder and awe changed a continent. And there were three things that she witnessed that drew her eyes to a higher purpose – and will do the same for us.
- The Wisdom of Solomon #TruthAndLove
As the Church (God’s people as the Bride of Christ) emanates His Wisdom, we’ll irresistibly attract the awe of the world. We taught a series on Wisdom in our Sunday School some years back which they still remember. “What is wisdom?” we’d ask, and they’d shout “knowing what is right, and doing it”. I want to add this proviso: true wisdom is doing what is right in love.Truth in love.
“...But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians chapter 4 verses 15-16)
Solomon himself tells us this in Proverbs chapter 3, verse 4: “Do not let love and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favour and good repute In the sight of God and man”.
- The Excellence of Solomon’s Temple #PriorityAndWorship
What Solomon had built for God, and what his father, David, had planned, sent shivers down the Queen’s spine. The majesty of this Temple pointed to a greater majesty in God. “The Church is God’s people wherever they are” is the cry of a generation of people who have failed to prioritise God. The Church IS organised. By definition. We’ve got to stop twisting theology to suit our lifestyles.
The Church is not a group of people. It is not a building. It is an assembly of Jesus’ witnesses, in one place, who execute the judgement of God [mercy and justice] in a world without a home. You better believe that we need a building – a place to call home. And it better be beautiful. Why? Because it houses God’s Royal Family, who house His Presence and it is consecrated for that purpose. It is a lighthouse, storehouse, rehab centre, and spiritual government seat for its community.
Why else would God’s unchanging, unfailing, and flawless Word spend so much time talking about the building of Temples, Churches and meeting places?
In Haggai 2, we read about the glory of the latter Temple (the Church). God challenged His people to stop building their own houses while His lay decrepit and in ruins. Before we build our professional profile, let’s build God’s Palace!
- The Difference in Solomon’s Palace #ExcellenceAndGenerosity
Once we’ve come to a place where our heart’s overflow is wisdom, and where our hand is turned to building God’s House first, we can then build our own house. Sheba’s Queen was struck by the beauty of Solomon’s Palace. Because he was rich?Yeah, probably.And because he was so famous? Yeah, I bet. He was wise and wealthy, yet humble and honouring. He was the perfect representative of the Bride for whom Christ is coming. But two things about Solomon’s Palace struck the Queen.
(a) It was excellent. What about your palace? When people look at your life, do they see someone who leads? Someone who takes authority? Someone who works hard but maintains wellbeing? As a professional, student, husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father... is your reputation and reality as someone who is excellent but still God-centred? With vision, not vain ambition?
(b) His people were well fed. Solomon shared his wealth. He was generous. Caring.Pastoring. His household had gold and silver cutlery; they wore fresh clothes; they smelt nice; they had all they needed. When people look at your life, do they see people in need, and whose need you could meet? Are your friends in need of accountability and counsel, or have you let them backslide? No matter how wise your counsel, how beautiful God’s Temple, how large your Palace... if your people are in need because of your failure to properly love, then it’s all futile. Service to others before self is a service to God above all else.
Right there, that’s what it means to Build the Kingdom. To Grow the Church. To let God Grow Us, to Grow His House, and to, in the overflow of all of that, Grow the Reach of the House of God in the World. That is the mystery of God – that we, being the lowest of this world might be welcome as sons and daughters in the King’s ownhouse.
So what is building the Kingdom? Growing the Church? It’s building a place where the heavenly blueprints and vision God is revealing in us (Daniel chapter 2 verses 21-22, Deuteronomy chapter 29verse29) extend out into the community we’re so desperate to save. In fact, “evangelist” literally means “extender of hope”. We are here for that one job: to love, cherish, and build up the Bride of Christ.
Ephesians chapter 4verse4 tells us that “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling”. That same Spirit inhabits God’s House and our hearts. It has breathed life into this gathering of His people – His Bride – and He will only lead us on one journey.
He only has one purpose. Not to build an abundant, rich, satisfying life for yourself. Or your family.Or your friends. It is to build the Bride of Christ and prize Her above all else. These other things will fall into place. Or as the Bridegroom put it Himself, “Seek FIRST after His Kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33).
So what does your HOUSE look like? Is it an extension of His, filled with His Royal Promise? Or is a makeshift, minimalist, mediocre attempt at what God longs for His children to receive?
What does your HAND spend its time doing? Is it washing the Bride in His Word through truth in love, generosity, and sole-focused worship? Or is it busy in desperation trying to scrub life’s mud from your sin-stained boots? “Blessed are the FEET of those who bring the Good News” (Romans 10:15).
And how is your HEART? Is it lathered, soaked, marinading in the Presence, Word, and Wisdom of God? Is it overflowing into your relationships and responsibilities? Or is it quick to anger, quick to speak, quick to gossip, quick to forget His benefits?
Jak Hardy is a Press Service International young writer from the Sunshine Coast