Introduction: This is the first of six chapters regarding the planning, building, and dedication of God’s Temple. This chapter explains how the Temple could not have been built without the help of tens of thousands of Jews and gentiles working together. Just as all had to work together then, God calls on every believer to be a co-builder of God’s Church (1 Cor. 3:9). Today, your body is the temple where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 6:19). Here, as directed by the Holy Spirit, God reveals seven lessons on how to fulfill your calling to be a co-builder of God’s Church.
First, Solomon wanted to build the Temple to honor God’s holy “name.” God would not physically dwell with His people as the pagans believed their gods did in their temples. Instead, the Temple would be a place where believers could both worship God and find fellowship through His holy presence. Today, God’s Church is again meant for believers to come together to both worship and fellowship with Him. Second, God chose Solomon to build the Temple because he was a man of peace. Solomon then sought out the strongest wood to ensure that it would be a strong refuge for all. Today, God’s Church is again meant to be a strong refuge of peace for all believers. Third, Solomon conceded that he was not worthy to build God’s Temple. He was only worthy to burn incense, a symbol for prayer. Today, God’s Church is also built through humble service and prayer. Fourth, the creation and transport of the materials needed for the Temple required that Jews and gentiles work together. From their example, God reveals that His Church is built through the united efforts of believers as directed by the Holy Spirit. Fifth, both King David and King Solomon witnessed to a gentile king from Tyre in Lebanon to obtain the materials needed to build God’s Temple. As a result, the two nations formed an alliance, and the gentile king became either a friend or believer in God. From the examples of David and Solomon, God reveals that His Church was meant to be a light to both believers and non-believers. Sixth, the gentile king from Tyre gave his people and his resources out of gratitude and without seeking a reward. Through his example, God reveals that His Church is built upon the voluntary gratitude of believers. Finally, Solomon enlisted tens of thousands of Jews and gentiles to work together to use their special gifts to build the Temple. Through their example, God reveals that His Church is built with each person using their gifts for Him.
Solomon seeks to honor Yahweh’s “name”. Endowed with his God-given wisdom, Solomon rallied the nation to build a Temple to honor Yahweh’s holy “name”: “1 Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the Lord and a royal palace for himself. 2 So Solomon assigned 70,000 men to carry loads and 80,000 men to quarry stone in the mountains and 3,600 to supervise them.” (2 Chr. 2:1-2). In the book of Kings, Yahweh revealed to David that Solomon would have the honor in building a Temple to honor his “name”: “5 Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’” (1 Kgs. 5:5). Chronicles omits the accounts of Solomon’s wise administration (1 Kgs. 3:16-4:34) and his massive palace (1 Kgs. 7:1-12). By placing this account immediately after Solomon’s blessing of wisdom, Chronicles reveals that Solomon’s building of the Temple was his most important act as king. This was meant to inspire the Jews who returned from exile to rebuild the Temple. God wanted to again dwell with His people. The Temple would allow the Jews to worship Him and have true fellowship with Him.
God’s Temple differed from pagan temples because He did not actually live there. Solomon understood that he was building a Temple to honor God’s holy presence and “name”. He was not building an actual dwelling place for God. This was contrary to the common belief held by pagans regarding their pagan temples. David tried and failed to build the Temple (1 Kgs. 5:5). Until God rebuked him, David incorrectly believed that God needed for David to build an actual living place for Him (2 Sam. 7:1-3; 1 Chr. 17:1-2). God, however, was not someone whom David needed to pity or take care of. God’s real throne is in heaven, not on Earth. Thus, He did not need for David to build Him a home. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?’” (Is. 66:1; Acts 7:48-49). God cared more about selecting David and his descendants to rule over Israel than building His Temple on Earth: ‘“Since the day that I brought My people Israel from Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, but I chose David to be over My people Israel.’” (1 Kgs. 8:16). Thus, God’s Temple was a place where His power and presence could be felt for believers to both worship Him and find fellowship with Him.
The Temple honored the power of the “name” of God. In the Bible, a name was not only a means of identification. It expressed a person’s identity as well. “A good name is to be more desired than great riches.” (Prov. 22:1). When Solomon said he wanted to build a house for God’s “name” (1 Kgs. 5:3), he was referring to God’s holy presence. We see many examples of this in the Old Testament. For example, in two places in the book of Genesis, Abraham called upon the “name of the Lord.” (Gen. 12:8; 13:4). In two other places, the term referred to an act of worship when someone called upon “the name” of the Lord (Gen. 21:33; 26:25). Likewise, on two occasions in the book of Exodus, God proclaimed His “name” to Moses (Ex. 33:19; 34:5). Three times in the book of Leviticus, He warned first the Jews and then the gentles not to profane “the name” of the Lord (Lev. 13:21; 22:2, 32). The Third Commandment also warns against taking “the name of the Lord in vain.” (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11). In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses also commanded the priests to minister in “the name” of the Lord (Dt. 18:5; 21:5). Joshua likewise called “the name” of God wonderful (Josh. 13:18). To fully know God’s “name” means that the person has put complete trust in all the Holy attributes of God to solve any problem or dilemma that the believer confronts: “The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Ps. 9:9-10). God will also protect His name: “For the sake of My name I delay My wrath.” (Is. 48:9). Thus, the Temple was the place where God’s people could come to know Him. Out of gratitude, the people could then worship Him in the Temple.
Solomon seeks to honor Yahweh for his peace with his gentile friend. After receiving the blessing of God’s peace and His wisdom, Solomon reached out to a gentile ally to build a Temple to honor Yahweh: “3 Then Solomon sent word to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, ‘As you dealt with David my father and sent him cedars to build him a house to dwell in, so do for me. 4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, dedicating it to Him, to burn fragrant incense before Him and to set out the showbread continually, and to offer burnt offerings morning and evening, on sabbaths and on new moons and on the appointed feasts of the Lord our God, this being required forever in Israel. 5 The house which I am about to build will be great, for greater is our God than all the gods.” (2 Chr. 2:3-5). The Phoenician King of Tyre in Southern Lebanon was David’s ally. His territory was part of the Promised Land. Yet, because he freely submitted to Yahweh’s rule under David, his country did not need to be conquered. Both countries then benefited from a shared peace. David also saw the King of Tyre as a friend of Yahweh and witnesses to him. As a gentile disciple of Yahweh, the King of Tyre previously gave David supplies to build David’s palace: “Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David with cedar trees and carpenters and stonemasons; and they built a house for David.” (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Chr. 14:1). In a parallel account, Huram / Hiram first sent his servant to honor Solomon (1 Kgs. 5:1). Solomon responded in his request for help by reporting that David had been unable to build the Temple because of his many wars (1 Kgs. 5:2). Solomon then credited God for blessing him with peace: “4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.” (1 Kgs. 5:4). Here, King Solomon sought to renew the alliance between their countries. Both David and Solomon witnessed to this gentile king about God’s holiness. Both fulfilled the calling that God placed in their hearts for believers to witness to non-believers. Believers today are called to follow their example.
The Temple symbolized God’s peace, and only Solomon, a man of peace, could build it. Although David wanted to honor God by building a Temple, God would not allow him to do so: “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in?”’’ (2 Sam. 7:5). As a man who constantly shed bloodshed through war, God determined that David was the wrong man to build the Temple of peace: “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.”’ (1 Chr. 28:3). “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me.”’ (1 Chr. 22:8). In contrast, Solomon was a man blessed with God’s peace and wisdom: “For he had dominion over everything west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had peace on all sides around about him.” (1 Kgs. 4:24). “Behold, a son will be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.” (1 Chr. 22:9). Thus, as a man filled with God’s peace and wisdom, God told David that Solomon would be allowed to build His Temple. “12 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). “He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him.”’ (1 Chr. 28:6). Jesus came to fulfill God’s covenant through both David and Solomon. He is also the Son of David (Matt. 1:1). He is also the Son of Man (Matt. 8:20). He is further the Star of Jacob (Nu. 24:17), the Seed (Gen. 3:15), and He is the King of Kings, the ruler over all creation (1 Tim. 6:15).
Jesus is the real Temple and He offers the peace that surpasses all understanding. Jesus is our Temple (Rev. 21:22). The Temple that Solomon built therefore was in honor of Jesus. God previously allowed for the Tabernacle to be built so that His Holy glory could be amongst God’s people: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Ex. 40:34; Lev. 16:2; Nu. 7:89; 9:15-16). His presence later filled the Temple: “so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kgs. 8:11). God’s holy presence later became flesh through Jesus (Jo. 1:1, 14). Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). He promises to leave believers with His true peace that surpasses all understanding: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (Jo. 14:27). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Col. 3:15). “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,” (Eph. 2:14). “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:17). If your life is in turmoil, are you looking to Jesus for peace?
Jesus’ Temple offers you peace because He is your refuge from conflict. To ensure that the Temple would be strong, Solomon asked for “cedar trees out of Lebanon”. (1 Kgs. 5:6). The cedar trees from Lebanon were renowned for their strong and durable wood. They also symbolized Jesus’ majesty and might (Ps. 92:12; Ezek. 31:3). Like the mighty walls of the Temple, you can call Jesus “my salvation” (Ps. 18:2); “my strength” (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19); “my shield” (Ps. 28:7; Gen. 15:1); “my deliverer . . . my merciful one, my fortress, my stronghold” (Ps. 144:2; Na. 1:7); the “strong tower” (Prov. 18:10); “fortress” (Jer. 16:19); “refuge” (Jer. 16:19); “our shade” (Ps. 121:5); “hiding place” (Ps. 32:7); “my savior,” (2 Sam. 22:3). Yet, He won’t impose His strength if you feel pride in your own strength. If you feel weary, humble yourself and let Jesus be your strength.
God will bless the peacemakers. Because Solomon and the King Tyre both acted in service to the Lord, God was faithful to bless them both: “12 The Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a covenant.” (1 Kgs. 5:12). The two were united as one as they jointly served God. As a result, God blessed the people in both nations. God previously commanded the Jews not to make any covenants or treaties with the people of Canaan (Ex. 23:32; Dt. 7:2). Yet, they could make treaties with foreign nations (Dt. 20:10-15). This included the people of Tyre. At a time when permitted, Abraham and the Canaanite Abimelech made a similar covenant of peace (Gen. 21:25-34). Like Solomon, Hiram, Abraham, and Abimelech, you are commanded to be at peace with others whenever possible. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Ro. 12:18). “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:50). If you stay at peace with others around you, Jesus promises to bless you: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9). Are you a peacemaker to those in conflict around you? If you quarrel and fight or cause conflict with others, what kind of witness for Christ are you?
Solomon recognized that he was unworthy to build God’s Temple. After sharing the right vision for the Temple, Solomon demonstrated wisdom in stating that he was unworthy to build God’s Temple. He was only worthy to burn incense: “6 But who is able to build a house for Him, for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain Him? So who am I, that I should build a house for Him, except to burn incense before Him?” (2 Chr. 2:6). Solomon later turned from God and worshiped pagan gods (1 Kgs. 11:5-7). Yet, at this point, he feared God and recognized that he was a sinner. Like Solomon, God does not want you to approach Him as a builder of His Church with pride. No one should think that the Creator of the universe needs them. God instead wants your humble service. This includes your prayers for His guidance.
Serve and worship God in humility. Humility is a theme that runs throughout the Bible. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Prov. 8:13). “Do not lift up your horn on high, do not speak with insolent pride.” (Ps. 75:5). “They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves.” (Ps. 94:4). “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (Ja. 2:5). Do you boast in your accomplishments? Or, do you give the glory to God and serve Him when He blesses you with success?
God desires your prayers. Solomon said that he was only worthy to burn incense (2 Chr. 2:6). Burning incense was an important form of worship that created a soothing aroma before God (e.g., Lev. 6:15; 2:2). Today, you can also create a “soothing aroma” for God through our prayers: “May my prayer be counted as incense before You . . . ” (Ps. 141:2). “each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Rev. 5:8). “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Rev. 8:4). Your prayers are an act of worship. They also allow the Holy Spirit to guide you (Jo. 16:13). Are you offering a daily prayers to God? If you are only complaining or boasting, your offerings are putrid.
Solomon petitions King Huram / Hiram for cedar wood to build the Temple for Yahweh. Solomon turned to his gentile friend to help build a Temple that would serve both Jews and gentiles: “7 Now send me a skilled man to work in gold, silver, brass and iron, and in purple, crimson and violet fabrics, and who knows how to make engravings, to work with the skilled men whom I have in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided. 8 Send me also cedar, cypress and algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants know how to cut timber of Lebanon; and indeed my servants will work with your servants, 9 to prepare timber in abundance for me, for the house which I am about to build will be great and wonderful. 10 Now behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 kors of crushed wheat and 20,000 kors of barley, and 20,000 baths of wine and 20,000 baths of oil.’” (2 Chr. 2:7-10). In the parallel account in the book of Kings, Solomon also promised to pay the workers fair wages: “6 Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”’ (1 Kgs. 5:5-6). There, Solomon is revealed to have asked for the same aid given to David so that he could complete the project (2 Chr. 2:3). Phoenicians from the city of Sidon, located approximately 22 miles north of Tyre along the Mediterranean, cut the cedar timber because of their special skills (1 Kgs. 5:5-6). Like the people of Sidon, believers are called upon to use God’s talents to build His Church.
Work together as one body for Jesus. Just as the Jews and gentiles had to work in unity to build God’s Temple, believers are called upon to act with one accord as the Spirit leads the body to help build the Church. “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9). “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Ro. 12:5). “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17). “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12). “But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Cor. 12:20-21). “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;” (Eph. 4:4). Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Col. 3:14). Are you preparing for service and then responding for duty when God calls you to serve?
Jews and gentile believers in Jesus will one day worship Him together. During the Millennial Reign when God’s perfect rule is restored, the Bible says that people will worship Jesus together in the restored Temple: “‘from Sabbath to Sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,’ says the Lord.” (Is. 66:22-23; Ez. 20:12-26). Thus, you should never look at a Jew as a rejected member of God’s people. He wants to save them all. Yet, many are waiting for someone like you to share the Gospel with them.
King Huram / Hiram shares his praise for Yahweh and the plans for the Temple. When given the chance to help build the Temple, King Huram / Hiram showed himself to be a friend of God when he rejoiced, blessed God’s holy name, and immediately offered help: “11 Then Huram, king of Tyre, answered in a letter sent to Solomon: ‘Because the Lord loves His people, He has made you king over them.’ 12 Then Huram continued, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a house for the Lord and a royal palace for himself.’” (2 Chr. 2:11-12). “7 When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.’” (1 Kgs. 5:7). God also wants you to witness to non-believers so that they can find the joy and salvation offered through Jesus.
Rejoice and bless God’s holy name. King Huram / Hiram showed himself to be either a believer or a friend of God. “7 When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord today,” (1 Kgs. 5:7). David also rejoiced and proclaimed: “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice.” (Ps. 34:1-2). Like Huram / Hiram, David, and Solomon, God wants you to rejoice and give thanks for the many times that He has delivered you from illness, sadness, defeat, fear, or an enemy: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Eph. 5:20). Have you thanked God by blessing Him and rejoicing for His mercy and grace?
Like David and Solomon, be a light to non-believers around you. Some mistakenly believe that the call to evangelism began in the New Testament. Yet, God originally called upon the Jews to be His light to the gentile nations around them: “He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”’ (Is. 49:6). “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the Earth.’” (Acts 13:47). David and Solomon fulfilled that calling by witnessing to the gentile King of Tyre. The King of Tyre showed that he was ready to accept God through his acts of tribute to build Yahweh’s Temple. Jesus is the “true light” (Jo. 1:9). He is also the Light of the World (Jo. 8:12). Like David and Solomon, are you sharing Jesus’ true light to non-believers around you? (Matt. 28:16-20).
King Huram / Hiram sends skilled laborers and supplies to build the Temple. After praising Yahweh, King Huram / Hiram showed himself to be a believer by gladly giving back from the people and resources that God had given to his kingdom: “13 ‘Now I am sending Huram-abi, a skilled man, endowed with understanding, 14 the son of a Danite woman and a Tyrian father, who knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood, and in purple, violet, linen and crimson fabrics, and who knows how to make all kinds of engravings and to execute any design which may be assigned to him, to work with your skilled men and with those of my lord David your father. 15 Now then, let my lord send to his servants wheat and barley, oil and wine, of which he has spoken. 16 We will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you on rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may carry it up to Jerusalem.’” (2 Chr. 2:13-16). In the parallel account in the book of Kings, Huram / Hiram proclaimed that he heard God’s call through Solomon (1 Kgs. 5:8-10). King Hiram offered the best of what he had and God rewarded his kingdom with abundant food and supplies (2 Chr. 2:10; 1 Kgs. 5:8-11).
Give gratefully from the things God has given you. After rejoicing, King Huram / Hiram offered the best that he had from his kingdom to aid in the building of the Temple. This included his God-given servants and wood (1 Kgs. 5:9-10). Every good and perfect thing in your life comes from above, even if someone in the world hands it to you: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (Jam. 1:17). God commands each believer to give back from the things that He has given. He in turn promises to bless you as a steward with more gifts (Mal. 3:8-10). Yet, He only wants you to give out of gratitude, not obligation (Ex. 36:2-7; 2 Cor. 9:6, 8-14). Are you giving to God from what He has given you?
God will also supply all that you need when you labor out of love for His Church. After giving his people and natural resources to help build the Temple, Solomon blessed the people of Tyre with abundant food and supplies (1 Kgs. 5:7-11; 2 Chr. 2:10). Because Solomon wanted to serve God, God also blessed him with all the cedar that he needed (1 Kgs. 5:10). When you serve God, He promises to provide for all that you need: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” (2 Cor. 9:8). “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19). “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” (Ps. 23:1). “O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.” (Ps. 34:9). If you are missing anything, are you seeking to use your talents for yourself or for Him?
God will give back in proportion to your giving to Him. To the extent you give to God in faith, He will give back proportionally to you: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Lk. 16:9-11). Are you giving to God faithfully from your time, talent, and treasure? Or, are you holding back?
When times are tough, test God by giving Him more than you can afford. Giving is the one area where God encourages you to test Him. If you give to Him in faith, He promises to bless you with even more (Mal. 3:8-10). Are you giving God the opportunity to bless you abundantly?
Solomon sends the laborers to bring the supplies for the Temple. Solomon divided the laborers with 70,000 to carry the wood and an additional 80,000 to cut the stones for the Temple: “17 Solomon numbered all the aliens who were in the land of Israel, following the census which his father David had taken; and 153,600 were found. 18 He appointed 70,000 of them to carry loads and 80,000 to quarry stones in the mountains and 3,600 supervisors to make the people work.” (2 Chr. 2:17-18). In the book of Kings, the Bible records that Solomon wisely divided the laborers into rotating teams (1 Kgs. 5:13-16). When the Jews demanded a king, Samuel warned that it was against God’s will and would result in people being conscripted into forced labor (1 Sam. 8:11-17). This practice would later become a source of conflict for the northern tribes (1 Kgs. 12:4). Yet, for now, the Jews did not complain because they labored together for God’s glory. Even though thousands of Jews were conscripted into service, Solomon wisely ensured that they were treated fairly. With his system of rotation, each group worked only four months per year. They worked one month and then had two months off. This allowed them to tend to their own crops or other industries. The workers were also supervised to make sure that they were treated fairly. Solomon picked Adoniram to supervise the forced laborers (1 Kgs. 5:14). He was also responsible for collecting the tribute or the tax (1 Kgs. 4:6). This means that Solomon picked a wise and trusted leader to supervise the workers. The other 150,000 non-Jewish laborers had 3,300 non-Jewish supervisors to oversee them (1 Kgs. 5:16; 2 Chr. 2:17-18). Jewish supervisors might have mistreated the non-Jewish workers. God did not want His Temple built using evil labor practices.
Be obedient in God’s call to serve Him. God calls every believer by name to do good works for Him: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21). God has not called you to be a spectator. If you don’t know your calling, you should pray for Him to reveal it (Jam. 1:5). Are you being obedient in God’s calling in your life?
Use your talents for His glory. God has given you talents for you to use as a co-builder of His Church (Matt. 25:14-30). If you are faithful with the small things that He gives you, He will entrust you with greater things: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. ” (1 Pet. 4:10). “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Ro. 12:6-8). “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” (Eph. 4:11-12). “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. . . . .4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:1-7). Are you using your gifts for Him?
Every laborer is needed. An incredible number of people were needed to build the Temple. Every person’s gift is needed in the body of Christ because no one person has them all (1 Cor. 12:13-27). Christ further wants you to be His laborer (Col. 3:23). You can do this by tithing your life as a “living sacrifice” to Him: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). Are you giving God the best of your time, talent, and treasure?