Wednesday, June 22, 2016

God Deserves Your Very Best

"In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.”
– 1 Kings 6:7

In 2005 my wife and I took our first cruise together. We boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise ship at the port in Long Beach, and over the course of our four days on board, we enjoyed scenic stops at the ports of San Diego, Catalina and Ensenada. I had never been to Ensenada before, so my wife and I decided to catch a bus and visit La Bufadora, the famous blowhole located about 40 minutes up the Ensenada coast.

After a harrowing bus ride, we arrived and marveled at the natural beauty of La Bufadora. But the excursion to Ensenada included an added bonus: The walkway between the blowhole and the parking lot was lined with dozens of Mexican vendors selling authentic Mexican food, trinkets and souvenirs. Our oldest daughter was three years old at the time, so after visiting several storefronts my wife and I decided to buy her the perfect souvenir, a small Mexican guitar. It was bright pink, and the gentleman who sold it to us painted our daughter’s name on it for us. We were so pleased with our purchase. But you can imagine my horror when, later that day, I turned the guitar over and noticed a small sticker printed with these three heartbreaking words: “Made in China.”

If you and I had been in Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and were able to turn over the LORD’s temple and give its undercarriage a thorough inspection, I guarantee you that there wouldn’t have been a “Made in China” sticker underneath it. King Solomon saw to it that the temple in Jerusalem was the most beautiful and masterfully-crafted building in the history of Israel. No effort or expense was spared. You see, he believed that if he was going to build a temple for God, God deserved his very best. Do you hold to and live out this same conviction?

As we explore 1 Kings 5-7, it’s very clear that Solomon didn’t cut corners when building the temple. He constructed the foundation and walls out of the very best quarried stone. He lined the floors and walls with the very best wood planks. He covered the wood planks with the very best gold. And he employed the very best contractors, craftsmen, artists and foremen to transform the temple’s two-dimensional blueprints into a three-dimensional masterpiece.

And in verse 7 of 1 Kings 6, we read these surprising words: “No hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” Evidently, King Solomon believed that, out of reverence for God and His temple, the construction workers must remain as quiet as possible while building the temple.

As a result, every perfectly sculpted stone was sculpted offsite. Every meticulously trimmed cedar plank was cut to size offsite. Every carving, every furnishing, and every square inch of gold overlay was somehow prepared and installed without the use of a single iron hammer, chisel or saw onsite. To say that this “no-iron-tool” stipulation made the construction project challenging would be a gross understatement. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Solomon gave God his very best, and he did so because he believed that the splendor of the temple should reflect the splendor of the LORD. God was very great; therefore, His temple in Jerusalem must be very great.

Solomon understood how important it is to give God our very best even when nobody else notices, even when no one else cares. And once again I ask you, “Do you give God your very best?” When it’s the Lord’s Day, do you give God your very best worship? When it’s time to sing praises to God, do you give Him your very best praise? When it’s time to study God’s word, do you give Him your undivided attention? When it’s time to give Him your tithes and offerings (Oh no! This one might sting a bit!), do you give God your most generous gift, or do you morph into a penny-pinching cheapskate?

The greatest command in Scripture, according to Jesus, is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.” Loving God with 50% of your heart, 75% of your soul or even 95% of your strength will never cut the mustard. God deserves your full and complete love. Perhaps a simple question will help you honestly evaluate yourself: “When God turns over your Christian life, does He find a ‘Made in China’ sticker underneath it?” In other words, is your personal walk of faith as cheap and as fake as my daughter’s Mexican guitar?

If so, it’s high time for you to get rid of the embarrassing sticker underneath your Christianity. Your family sees it. Your friends see it. And most tragically, God can see it. We dare not adopt or peddle a cheap, cookie cutter Christianity. God gave us His very best. In response, we must give Him our very best.    

1 comment:

  1. Awesome series. I am really enjoying going thru 1 Kings.