1 Kings 6:1-13 (Part 1) – Drowning In The Details of Life: What’s The Point?

Posted: November 9, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 6:1-13 (Part 1 of 2)
Solomon Builds the Temple

The thing that struck me this morning as I read the minutia of details about Solomon’s Temple was that “yeah that’s a lot of detail for sure, but let’s not forget the big picture!” I think that is a struggle that all of us have in our personal lives, our professional lives, and in our relationship with God himself. I think all of us get so caught up in the details of our lives that we forget about keeping the main thing the main thing.

In our personal lives, man, is it ever easy to get caught up in the details of life, and especially if you have young children at home. It is easy for life to become task oriented and forget the point of it all. With school for the kids, it’s a daily grind that repeats itself ad nauseum. Wake the kids up (have you ever noticed how hard it is to get your kids out of bed Monday-Friday but they wake up on their own at the crack of dawn on the weekend! LOL!). Fix breakfast. Argue with the kids about eating their breakfast. Get the kids moving on getting dressed. Yell and scream a couple of times to move them along in the process. Brush teeth. Fix hair. Gathering all the stuff they need for school. Getting the entire crew into car(s). Heading off to the school. Waiting in the drop-off line. Kissing kids goodbye as they exit. Race to work. Work all day (another story in itself). Race back to the school or daycare center. Pick up kids. Make sure they have everything. Home. Let them play a little bit. Homework. Dinner. Baths. Bedtime stories. Lights out for the kids. No, you can’t have a glass of water. Rest. And then repeat the whole process five times a week. And that is just a day when there are no extracurricular activities for the kids such as soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball, dance, cheer, etc. Throw that into the mix and its crazy and dizzying array of activity every day. The weekends have more activities and hopefully that includes church. Modern moms and dads have to have calendars for their family just to keep up with everything. We get so busy just getting through the week that sometimes we forget that we are a family. We become robots trying to accomplish tasks and mark things off the list so that maybe just maybe we can sit down for an hour or two at the end of the day before we go to bed. What’s the point of it all? We can get so wrapped up in the details that we forget why we are doing this?

In our professional lives, we have to have to-do lists to keep up with the dizzying array of tasks that often come our way in this world where staffs at organizations are leaner than they have ever been (as a reaction to the Great Recession not too long ago). We all have much work to do and little time to waste. As leaders and leaders in training, often the current workload can claim your mind to the point that it is difficult to dream the dreams that need dreaming. We can get so caught up in the minutia of the daily tasks that we have to accomplish each day that we don’t take the time to raise up and dream about where our ship needs to go. We can lose focus on what’s over the horizon and how we are going to get there because of the sheer volume of information that we have to process each day. We can get so caught up in such things that the joy of work is lost and we become slaves to our task lists. And the task list may get done for today but there are things that have to be added daily, weekly, monthly, annually. We can get so wrapped up in the details of work that we forget why we are here and what we are here for? What is the point of it all? Is the point of work the task list on your desk? Is the point of work the amount of product you can produce on your assembly line? What’s the point of it all? Why are we doing this?

In our spiritual lives, we can go down that same road too. We read our Bibles daily. We go to the church when the doors are open. We volunteer in ministries at the church. We attend special events at the church of our choosing. We pray daily. As a maturing Christian, our relationship with God can also become task oriented. We can get so caught up in our Bible reading plans such as “Read the Bible in 365 Days” or “Read the Bible in 90 Days” that we forget that hey we are supposed to meditate on God’s Word and not just read it. We do all the right activities. We can look at our calendar and say that we are highly active in our church. We have evidence of that – just look at the calendar right here. We can get so caught up in the details of being an active church member that it can become like auto-responsive reflexes in our body (you know—those things your body does without you having to think about it). The same is true for pastors as well as parishioners. We can get so caught up in the various details of the daily, weekly, monthly array of activities, appointments, weekly services, special events and other activities that we can become task-oriented too and lose sight of the main thing. What’s the point of it all? Why are we doing this? Is our spiritual life another set of auto-responsive marking things off a checklist?

That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read 1 Kings 6:1-13. Here, in this passage, we see the amazing amount of detail about Solomon’s Temple that is provided. And I bet there were a bunch of workers scurrying about at the quarry and at the worksite. I bet that they carried out their tasks daily and I bet some of them just saw what was in front them – a checklist of things to get done today. That’s the thing, we need to look at, both in the passage itself and what this passage can teach us. Let’s read the passage now:

Chapter 6
1 It was in midspring, in the month of Ziv,[a] during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, that he began to construct the Temple of the Lord. This was 480 years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in the land of Egypt.

2 The Temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.[b] 3 The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet[c] wide, running across the entire width of the Temple. It projected outward 15 feet[d] from the front of the Temple. 4 Solomon also made narrow recessed windows throughout the Temple.

5 He built a complex of rooms against the outer walls of the Temple, all the way around the sides and rear of the building. 6 The complex was three stories high, the bottom floor being 7 1⁄2 feet wide, the second floor 9 feet wide, and the top floor 10 1⁄2 feet wide.[e] The rooms were connected to the walls of the Temple by beams resting on ledges built out from the wall. So the beams were not inserted into the walls themselves.

7 The stones used in the construction of the Temple were finished at the quarry, so there was no sound of hammer, ax, or any other iron tool at the building site.

8 The entrance to the bottom floor[f] was on the south side of the Temple. There were winding stairs going up to the second floor, and another flight of stairs between the second and third floors. 9 After completing the Temple structure, Solomon put in a ceiling made of cedar beams and planks. 10 As already stated, he built a complex of rooms along the sides of the building, attached to the Temple walls by cedar timbers. Each story of the complex was 7 1⁄2 feet[g] high.

11 Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon: 12 “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. 13 I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

In this passage, we see that in order to honor God, the Temple in Jerusalem was built without sound of a hammer or any other tool at the building site. This meant that the stone had to be pre-finished (cut and shaped) miles away at the rock quarry. The people’s honor and respect for God extended to every aspect of constructing this house of worship. This detail is recorded not to impress us with detail or to teach us how to build a house of worship, but to show us the importance of demonstrating our reverence and honor for God.

That’s the point of this passage. Yes, the passage itself is full of detail that we may not remember five minutes from now but in that detail provided, the writers wanted to impress upon us that all the details about the building point us toward the fact that there was a significant investment in honoring God by the amount of detail poured into this passage.

On another level, too, we must remind ourselves of the fact that there were thousands of workers scurrying about and working on task lists for each day but there was a reason for all that. They were building a temple to the Lord. They were there to complete a building that was there to give glory and honor to God.

That’s the higher message to me of this passage that can speak into our personal, professional and spiritual lives. Why are we doing this? What’s the point of it all? In our personal lives, we must remember that we are here to honor God in everything we do. When we fly through the week of details of getting our kids and ourselves to and from school and work and social and athletic activities, let us remember that we are here to raise godly children and to be God-honoring parents and God-honoring spouses in our marriages. We are here to be obedient to the Lord. That’s the point of it all. If we focus on the tasks themselves, it can be mind-numbing and depressing. But if we remember that there is a grander goal – to honor and obey God. That’s gives us something to really sink our teeth into. It gives the litany of activities a sense and a purpose. In our professional lives, we must remember the same thing. Non-believers are watching us as Christians particularly at work. How we handle the day to day grind and checklists and task lists is our sermon. If we see our work as our mission field, we can begin to reclaim the bigger purpose. If we see our work as our personal way to honor God (and strive to do our best at all times and do it in an humble manner), we can reclaim the God-honoring vision of our job. In our spiritual life, if we remember that the purpose of it all is to lead us into to a deeper and deeper relationship with God and that in that deepness we come to know him more intimately and want to be more like him day by day, we can reclaim the grander vision of God for us. When we see our volunteering at church as more than a checklist but rather an opportunity to spread the gospel by our words and actions, then we reclaim the grander vision of God for us. As pastors, we, too, must remember that the point of all the appointments, tasks, checklists, meetings, weekly services and special events that cover our calendars is that each of those things is an opportunity to honor God with our best, then we can dive deeper into God and what He wants for us as pastors. When we see these things as opportunities to speak the gospel to others in our words and actions, then, we can dive deeper into God. When we see that each of our appointments make be an intersection with a church member or guest that is absolutely part of God’s plan for their lives, then, we see everything as an opportunity to honor God.

Yes, take a step back for a minute. Raise up out of the details. See what God is constructing. See what we are here for. We are here to honor God. That’s the point. That’s what we are here for.

Amen and Amen.

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