STONES OF THE TEMPLE

When a Bible student begins researching the life of King David, he will soon come to understand why the scriptures say David had a heart like God’s own heart. “…I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:22b). David never showed jealousy for others’ glory. He knew he was king of Israel, even while Saul lived, but he did not try to usurp Saul’s authority. Many times he had the opportunity to kill Saul, but he did not lift his hand against him (1 Sam. 24:5; 1 Sam. 26:11-23). When Saul and Jonathan died, King David wept bitterly and mourned their loss (2 Sam. 1:19-27). When he finally came to power, David determined that he would build a “house” for the Lord, a place for the Lord to dwell in Israel (2 Sam. 7:2 and 2 Samuel 7:7). However, the Lord told him no, because his hands had shed blood. Was he daunted? What was his reaction? We see that David made preparation for the temple even though he knew he would not be the one to actually build it.

David made preparation for the temple Solomon was to build and God gave him the pattern. “All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern” (1 Chr. 28:2-3, 19). King David gave gold for all the things of gold and silver for all instruments of silver by weight (1 Chr. 28:14-18). He acknowledged that the work was not for a man but for God, and prepared with all his might even the precious and semi-precious stones that were to be used in abundance. Not only did David give of the nation’s gold, but he gave his own personal riches for the house of God. He gave “…the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” (1 Chr. 29:1-5).

In 1 Kings 8:17-19, we read what David’s son Solomon said of the project.

And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart. Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.

Later we read that Solomon used the plans and materials his father gathered to begin the building (2 Chr. 3:1; 2 Chr. 5:1). Note especially that the site of the temple was chosen by King David. He planned it to be at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (1 Chr. 21:28-30; 1 Chr. 22:1). When Solomon began to assemble the temple itself, he used the materials and the pattern David had given him (1 Kings 5:13-18; 2 Chr. 3:1), and Solomon raised a levy, and the levy was thirty thousand men, whom he sent to Lebanon. There were ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home. There were threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens (1 Kings 9:20-22; 2 Chr. 2:17-3:1; 2 Chr. 8:7-9; Ezra 2:58; Neh. 7:57-60 and Neh. 7:60).

We are told there were great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones (1 Kings 5:17) “And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God” (1 Chr. 22:2) but there was no hammer, nor axe or any tool heard in the house while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7). King David’s preparation was meticulous! The costly stones and the hewed stones were gathered ahead of time to be delivered to King Solomon so he could do the actual building (1 Kings 7:9).

In the history of the whole world, there has never been a building with more glory or more magnificence than the temple in Jerusalem for which David made preparation. God Himself was the designer. After the wilderness wanderings and the battles to take the land of Canaan, it had been King David’s desire build a temple to God’s honor and glory. However, we understand that King David was willing, not only to let another do the job, but to help him do it. What a wonderful heart—after God’s own heart!

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