If you were to ask a number of people what is important to them, you are guaranteed as many different answers as the number of those you asked the question from.
Having been crowned king of Israel and waging series of wars until such a time when there was peace, David decided that it was time to build a befitting place of worship to the Lord.
He told Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent." (2 Sam 7:2). Nathan was quite happy at this statement from David. Apparently, it was a desire from a heart after God. On the face of it, it was a very good idea and Nathan had no reason not to support such a great decision coming from the king.
However, God thought differently and sent Nathan back with instructions to stop David from initiating the building project for the temple. God told David, “Are you the one to build a house for me to live in?” (2 Sam 7:5) God had to correct the notion that a house needed to be built for Him to live in.
God cannot be limited by time or space. God decided that indeed a temple would be built, but not for Him to live in but a house for His Name. This house God said; would not be built by David, but by Solomon.
Fast forward to 1 Kings 9:1. Solomon had finished building the temple. It took seven years to build this magnificent edifice, worthy of the worship of God. No cost was spared in building this one in a lifetime structure. Even the secretaries, who were taking record of the materials used in building this massive structure, lost count at a point.
On the day of dedication, God appeared to Solomon and responded to his prayer of dedication. He assured Solomon that He had consecrated the temple and that when the people pray facing the temple, He will hear them.
However, as far as God was concerned, one thing was more important than the temple itself. Walking with Him and keeping His commandments was much more important. In fact, God told Solomon that if the people failed to work in obedience to His commands and went to worship other Gods, the same temple which is the symbol of His Name and a pride to Israel, would become a symbol of national disgrace.
So I come back to that question. ‘What is important to you?’ Is it your church? Making money? Getting a job? Having a good marriage?
Jesus answers this question in Matthew 6:25 – 33. Incidentally, he refers to Solomon who was known to have a wardrobe compared to no other king that ever lived. He tells us to consider the lilies, these plants have no ability to clothe themselves, yet God dresses them up beautifully in spite of the fact that their lifespan is short. He said even Solomon in all his splendour was not dressed like these plants.
So what was the conclusion? “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33.
God’s principles remain the same, whether in the old or new testament. What God told Solomon is exactly what His Son is telling us today. ‘If you put your focus on me and give me your heart, then I will do much more than you desire. However, If you seek these other things, rather than Me, then these same things will cause you untold hardship, loss and pain.
This happened to Solomon and the people of Israel. They turned their focus away from God and began to serve other gods. They disregarded God’s express instructions and commandments and did the exact opposite. Just as God warned, the temple, which was a symbol of excellence and worship, ended up being a symbol of disgrace and ruin.
Asking ourselves what is important, will help us place our priorities in the right perspective, any other way can prove disastrous. If we want to enjoy the benefits of the kingdom, then God must be the centre of our lives. We cannot afford to make money or material things the focus of our adoration because they are transient; one minute they are here and another minute they are gone. However, whatever God gives to us remains permanent.
Steve O. Popoola
(c) Biblepraise Fellowship, May 2010.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org . He currently resides in London. He is married to Maris and they have three lovely children; Praise, Stephanie and Precious. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org