The Building Site of the Temple

By Francis Frangipane

The building of the house of the Lord involves more than finding help in our time of need. There are costs to attaining God's best. If we would have His greatest provisions, we must yield to Him our greatest loves.

Two Temples
The Scriptures refer to two types of temples: one 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 which 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 which 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 for 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 and their very desire of fulfillment to the Almighty.  It is a death not unlike the death of the flesh. Hope of human recovery is abandoned; the sense of trust abides alone in God. Abraham offered to God his greatest love, Isaac, who was the embodiment of his spiritual fulfillment. He 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 chooses as the building site of His house will give to God what they have loved the most.  Within their yielding, worshiping hearts, He will build His house.

The Full Price
In the next scene we find 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. The mountain upon which David is standing is Mount Moriah, the same place where, six centuries earlier, Abraham offered Isaac to God.

Although Ornan freely volunteered his oxen for the sacrifice and his ox yoke for the fire, David refused. 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" (I Chron 21:22-24).

In contrast to what has been typical of our American approach to God's call, here again we behold the nature of those in whom the house of the Lord is built.  They are not looking for shortcuts in their service to God; they refuse to give that which is another's. Rather, these yielded souls pay the full price; refusing to offer the Lord that which costs them nothing. 

Let me add this: On Mt. Moriah Abraham had a revelation of the nature of God.  He called this place, which would ultimately become the site of Solomon's temple, "Jehovah-Jirah": The Lord will provide.  From that time it was said, "In the mount of the Lord it will be provided" (Gen 22:14).

Many Christians wonder why, if "provider" is the nature of God, they receive so little response from Him? The answer is partly because the provisions of God are not given randomly or to support our selfish inclinations. Rather, "in the mount of the Lord it will be provided." In truth, the provisions of God are without limit to those who give their all to Him. For on the building site of the temple, where His house is built, there will be an abundance.

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.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The House of the Lord" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.