The Review and Herald

1391/1902

August 24, 1905

Lessons From the Life of Solomon—No. 2

Preparations for Building the Temple

EGW

At the time when David committed to Solomon the affairs of the kingdom and the great work of building the temple he “assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 1

In the presence of the representative men bearing the responsibility of government throughout the kingdom of Israel, David delivered his dying charge. Sustained by the power that accompanies divine inspiration, he told them of his own desire to build the temple, and of the Lord's command that the work should be committed to Solomon his son. The divine assurance was, “Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, I will be his father.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 2

King David, in the years of his prosperity, had provided an abundance of the most costly material,—gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colors; marble, and the most precious woods,—to be used in the construction of the temple. These valuable treasures were committed by him to Solomon. RH August 24, 1905, par. 3

“Be Strong, and Do It”

David gave Solomon minute directions for building the temple, with patterns of every part, and of all its instruments of service, as had been revealed to him by divine inspiration. These directions, so precisely given, were not left to be recalled by treacherous memory, but were carefully and minutely written out, and preserved for the guidance of the builders. RH August 24, 1905, par. 4

Solomon was still young, and he shrank from the weighty responsibilities that would devolve upon him in the erection of the temple and in the government of God's people. But David said to him, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed [by the greatness of the plans]: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” “The Lord hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 5

Free-Will Offerings

Again David appealed to the congregation: “Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.” “I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God,” he declared, and then he enumerated the materials he had gathered. More than this, he said, “I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal.” “Who then,” he asked of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts,—“who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” RH August 24, 1905, par. 6

There was a ready response from the assembly. “The chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord.... Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 7

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

“Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. RH August 24, 1905, par. 8

“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 9

“As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. RH August 24, 1905, par. 10

“And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped the Lord.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 11

“Of Thine Own Have We Given Thee”

With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after-years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions unto the treasury. RH August 24, 1905, par. 12

David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God; and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah, and devoted themselves to his service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to his people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was he who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and his Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if his love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king's efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected. RH August 24, 1905, par. 13

All that man receives of God's bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth, is placed in the hands of men to develop and to test character,—to sound the depths of their love for him and their appreciation of his favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 14

It is an honor bestowed upon man that God should entrust to his keeping the riches of earth, and it is done that he may co-operate with God by using these precious gifts in advancing the Lord's work in the earth. None of us can do without the blessing of God, but God could do his work without the aid of man, if he should so choose. But this is not his plan; he has given to every man his work, and he trusts men as his stewards with treasures of wealth and of intellect. Whatever you render to God is, through his mercy and generosity, placed to your account as a faithful steward. But ever bear in mind, “Of thine own have we given thee.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 15

This is not a work of merit on man's part. However wonderful the powers and abilities of man, he possesses nothing which God did not give him, and which he can not withdraw if these precious tokens of his favor are not appreciated and rightly applied. Angels of God, with perceptions unclouded by sin, recognize the endowments of Heaven as bestowed in order that they may be returned in such a way as to add to the glory of the great Giver. For one to use these God-given capabilities for self-gratification or to promote his own glory, dishonors the Creator. Brethren and sisters in Christ, God calls for the consecration to his service of every faculty he has given you. He wants you to say with David, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” RH August 24, 1905, par. 16