1 CHRONICLE 22:14
THE building of the temple is an admirable type of the building of the Church of God. If you are workers for the Lord, if your hearts are right with God, I think that I shall be able to say some things that will encourage you to work on, even if you should not for a time see any immediate results from your work.
There were many who helped to build the temple David gathering the materials; Solomon, the master mason, by whose name the temple would afterwards be called; the princes helping him in the great work; strangers, foreigners, and aliens, who dwelt throughout Israel and Judah; these all took their share, and even the Tyrians and Zidonians had a part in the work.
There are many servants of God whose names are little known, who, nevertheless, are doing a work that is essential to the building up of the Church of God. I have known many such, who have never lived to realize any great success; their names have never been written upon any great temples that have been built; but, nevertheless, they have worthily done their part, even as David did.
David gathered the materials. Many a man collects people together, and yet he has not the fashioning of them. He is the founder of a Christian congregation; but he does not live to see many conversions. He gets together the raw material upon which another shall work. He ploughs and he sows; but it wants another man to come and. water the seed, and perhaps another to gather in the harvest. Still, the sower did his work, and deserves to be remembered for what he did. David did his part of the work, in getting together the materials for the temple.
Besides which, he fashioned some of the materials, He had the stones cut from the quarry, and many of them shaped to take their places, by-and-by, in silence in the temple, when it should be reared without sound of hammer or ax. So there are teachers and preachers who help to form the characters of their scholars and hearers, by working away upon their minds and hearts. They will never build up a great church; but still they are knocking the rough edges off the stones. They are preparing and fashioning them; and by-and by the builder will come and make good use of them.
David prepared the way for Solomon’s temple. It was by his fighting that the time of peace came, in which the temple could be erected. Though he is called a man of blood, yet it was needful that the foes of Israel should be overthrown. There could be no peace till her adversaries had been crushed; and David did that. You do not hear much about the men who prepare the way for others. Somebody else comes along, and apparently does all the work; and his name is widely known and honored; but God remembers the heralds, the pioneers, the men who prepare the way, the men who, by casting out devils, routing grievous errors, and working needful reforms, prepare the way for the triumphal progress of the gospel.
David found the site for the temple. He discovered it; he purchased it; and he handed it over to Solomon. We do not always remember the men who prepare the sites for the Lord’s temples. Luther is rightly remembered; but there were Reformers before Luther. There were hundreds of men and women who burned for Christ, or who perished in prison, or who were put to cruel deaths for the gospel. Luther comes when the occasion has been made for him, and when a site has been cleared for him upon which to build the temple of God. But God remembers all those pre-Reformation heroes. It may be your lot to clear the site, and to make the occasion for others; and you may die before you see even a corner-store of your own work laid; for it will be yours when it is finished, and God will remember what you have done.
It was David who received the plans from God. The Lord wrote upon his heart what He would have done. He told him, even to the weight of the candlesticks and lamps, everything that was to be arranged Solomon. wise as he was, did not plan the temple. He had to borrow the designs from his father, who received them direct from God. Many a man is far-seeing; he gets the plan of the gospel into his heart, he sees a way in which great things can be done, and yet he is scarcely permitted to put his own hand to the work. Another will come by-and-by, and will carry out the plan that the first one received; but we must not forget the first man, who went into the secret place of the Most High, and learned in the place of thunder what God would have His people do.
David did one thing more before he died, he gave a solemn charge to, others; he charged Solomon, and the princes, and all the people, to carry out the work of building the temple. I revere the man who, in his old age, when there is weight in every syllable that he utters, concludes his life by urging others to carry on the work of Christ. It is something to gather about your last bed young men who have years of usefulness before them, and to lay upon their conscience and their heart the duty of preaching Christ crucified, and winning the souls of men for the Lord.
So you see that David had done his part towards the building of the temple. Have you done your part? You are a child of God; God has loved you, and chosen you; you have been redeemed with precious blood. You know better than to think of working in order to save yourself; you are saved; but have you diligently done all that you can do for your Lord and Master?
Then there is much else that you can do for Christ, in your family, in your business, and in the neighborhood where you live. Could you go to bed tonight, and there close your eyes for the last time, feeling, “I have finished the work which God gave me to do. I have done all that I could for the winning of souls”? I am afraid that some have a talent wrapped in a napkin, hidden away in the earth. Dig it up, before it gets altogether covered with rust, to bear witness against you. Take it up, and put it out to heavenly interest, that your Lord may have what He is entitled to receive. O Christian men and women, there must be very much unused energy in the Church of God! We have a great dynamo that is never used. Oh, that each one would do his own part, even as David did his!
We shalt soon be gone; our day lasts not very long. “The night cometh when no man can work.” Shall it be said of you, or of me, that we wasted our daylight; and then, when the evening shadows came, we were uneasy and unhappy, and though saved by divine grace, we died with sad expressions of regret for wasted opportunities? It is not very long ago that I sat by the bedside of one who was wealthy, I might say very wealthy. I prayed with him. I had hoped to have found him rejoicing in the Lord, for I knew that he was a child of God; but he was a child of God with a little malformation about the fingers. He could never open his hard as he ought to have done. As I sat by his side, he said, “Pray God, with all your might, that I may live three, months, that I may have an opportunity of using my wealth in the cause of Christ.” He did not live much more than three hours after he said that. Oh, that he had woke up a little sooner to do for the Master’s Church and cause what he ought to have done! Then he would not have had that regret to trouble him in his last hours. He knew the value of the precious blood, and he was resting in it; and I had great joy in knowing that all his hope and all his trust were in his Lord, and he was saved; but it was with a great deal of regret and trembling. I would spare any of you who have wealth such trouble on your dying bed.
If there is a young man who has the ability to preach the gospel, or to be doing something for Christ, and he is doing nothing, I am sure that it will be a pain to him one of these days. When conscience is thoroughly aroused, and his heart is getting nearer to God than it has been, he will bitterly regret that he did not avail himself of every occasion to talk of Christ, and seek to bring souls to Him, David had done his part in trouble. “Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talents of gold;” and so on. In the margin of your Bibles, you will find the words, “in my poverty.” It is strange that David should talk about poverty when his gifts amounted to many millions of pounds.
David thought little of what he had prepared. He calls it poverty, I think, because it is the way of the saints to count anything that they do for God to be very little. The most generous men in the world think the least of what they give to God’s cause. David, with his millions that he gives, says, “In my poverty I have prepared for the house of the Lord.” As he looked at the gold and silver, he said to himself, “What is all this to God?” And the brass and the iron, that could not be reckoned, it was so much and so costly; he thought it was all nothing to Jehovah, who fills heaven and earth, whose grandeur and glory are altogether unspeakable. If you have done the most that you can for God, you will sit down, and weep that you cannot do ten times as much. You that do little for the Lord will be like a hen with one chick; you will think a great deal of it. But if you have a great number of works, and you are doing much for Christ, you will wish that you could do a hundred times as much. Some Christians want to have all sunshiny weather, and the birds must sing all day and all night to please them. If they receive a. rebuke, or somebody seems a little cold to them, they will do no more. I have seen many, who called themselves Christians, who were like a silly child at play, who says, when something offends him, “I won’t play any more.” They run away at the first rough word that they hear. But David, in the day of his trouble, when his heart was ready to break, still went on with his great work of providing for the house of God.
David prepared for the house of the Lord in his trouble; and I have no doubt that it was a solace to his sorrow. To have something to do for Jesus, and to go right on with it, is one of the best ways to get over a bereavement, or any heavy mental depression. If you can pursue some great object, you will not feel that you are living for nothing. You will not sit down in despair; for, whatever your trouble may be, you will still have this to live for, “I want to help in building the Church of God, and I will do my part in it whatever happens to me. Corse poverty or wealth, come sickness or health, come life or death, as long as there is breath in my body, I will go on with the work that God has given me to do.”
In many Christian works you will have to do without me, one of these days; but that will not matter. There will be somebody who will carry on the work of the Lord; and so long as the work goes on, what matter who does it? God buries the workman, but the devil himself cannot bury the work. The work is everlasting, though the workmen die. We pass away, as star by star grows dim; but the eternal light is never-fading. God shall have the victory. His Son shall come in His glory. His Spirit shall be poured out among the people; and though it be neither this man, nor that, nor the other, God will find the man to the world’s end who will carry on His cause, and give to Him the glory.