2 Chronicles 2:1-18 (Part 2) – Adjust & Adapt: Still the Church Even When A Transformer Blows!

Posted: July 6, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 2:1-18 (Part 2 of 5)

Preparations for Building the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Yesterday was another unique day in the life of the church I serve. We have not been back at worshiping inside for very long. We have been worshiping back inside as of yesterday for four Sundays now. On three of those Sunday now, we have had some issue that we have had to overcome. First, on June 14th, our first Sunday back inside, we had a problem with the AC unit that serves the 2nd and top floor of our educational building. We had to move what classes that would have met up there to the first floor. Adjust and adapt. The second Sunday, June 21st, went off with no glitches. Last week, June 28th, it was the AC unit that serves the first floor of the educational building. We had to turn the temp on the unit serving the upstairs way down so the cool air would cascade downstairs. Adjust and adapt. Yesterday, July 5th, we had a complete power failure in the sanctuary and educational buildings. One of the two tandem transformers that services these two buildings blew out causing the electricity to shut down for these buildings. Although the power company was swift in its response, their job was not complete until about 15 minutes after our services were to be complete. Therefore, we had to have all our Sunday School classes meet jointly in a combined class in the fellowship hall at our Sunday School hour. Then, we had to have our Sunday Worship Service in the fellowship hall too, right after the Sunday School session was over. There was no complaining by our people. We just rearranged things and moved on with study and worship. Adjust and adapt.

We have been through so much together as a church over the last few months and worshipping in various kinds of formats – from daily devotional posts with Sunday video summaries, to parking lot church, to a complete worship service via pre-recorded video, back to parking lot church, and then finally church under the trees for a few weeks. Even when we’ve been back inside, there has been some kind of challenge to overcome three out of the four Sundays.

This reminds me of the fact that being the body of Christ is not about the building. It is about the people. It is not about the how old and beautiful the sanctuary is. It is about the worship. It is not about the traditions and the ornateness of our worship style. It is about the fellowship of believers together in a place. It is not about the slowness of adapting to new strategies of Sunday morning visual and audio communication methods. It is about praising God. No matter if our beautiful building with its stained glassed windows and long history that it holds within, none of that matters in the end. If our church burned down tonight, we would still be the church. We would adjust and adapt. We would be the same fellowship of believers even if we built a new sanctuary better adaptable to modern technologies. We would still be the same church. We would be meeting on the same spot of dirt to praise the Lord.

Some where at some time back in the 1880’s they probably first met here in Lamar in some makeshift or adopted place or maybe even under a tree, that didn’t matter. It was still the people of the church. It was wherever they worship and under whatever canopy, it was what would become Lamar UMC. It is the same today, even if our center for worship on our campus bounded by to private homeowner properties on one side, North Darlington Avenue on another, the library and Main St. on another, and Boykin Avenue on the other were to burn completely to the ground, we would still be Lamar UMC.

That idea of the people being the church is what came to mind as I read through this passage 2 Chronicles 2:1-18, this morning. I know that by the time of Jesus all of the ornateness of the Temple had become almost as if a god to the people of Israel rather than it being simply the PLACE where they worshiped God. It started out as a praise to God by David and Solomon but later turned into something else. There is a warning sign in this for us, God’s people of today.

Scripture Passage

2 [a]Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord, and also a royal palace for himself. 2 [b]He enlisted a force of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 men to quarry stone in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen.

3 Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram[c] at Tyre:

“Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. 4 I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever.

5 “This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. 6 But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him?

7 “So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as with purple, scarlet, and blue cloth. He must be a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David.

8 “Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood[d] logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. 9 An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent. 10 In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley,[e] 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil.[f]”

11 King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon:

“It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! 12 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself.

13 “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. 14 His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father.

15 “Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that my lord has mentioned. 16 We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[g] to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.”

17 Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. 18 He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that we should try our best to build beautiful, accessible and welcoming places of worship to be a testimony and credit to God. In so doing, though, we must remember that God is not contained in our building or lovely setting. He is far greater than any structure that we build and dedicate to Him. Therefore, we must focus our praise on Him and not the place that we have built for Him.

Life Application

I think that this time of the pandemic has been instructive to us as a church (and not just us at Lamar UMC, but all churches, but certainly, yes, at our church we have learned much). This time of mechanical failures (which may be the result of the main buildings of our church sitting idle for 3 months with little activity) has reinforced those lessons. We must remember that sure we should and it is right to build an excellent and beautiful house of worship. Whatever we do for the Lord, we should do with excellence. We should never do anything that we do halfway or take shortcuts when it comes to the Lord. We would not give our jobs anything less than our best so we should give our churches everything we got, our best, our excellence, and that includes our buildings.

However, what we should not do is fall in love with the buildings themselves. They are just buildings. Bricks, plaster, mortar and cement. If the building burned down or was blown away in a hurricane or a tornado, we would still be the church. The buildings we build, however excellently we build and maintain them, are just functional for a purpose. That purpose being praising the Lord. That purpose being giving God glory. If we get caught up in the carpet color or type, If we get caught up in whether you can bore holes in historic walls, if we get caught up when whether new technologies would ruin the ambience of the historical nature of the place, if we get caught up traditions, if we get caught up in all these trappings of a building and lose sight of why the building was built. Our church buildings serve a function and should not become something we worship. Their function is two fold and two fold only. One is to deepen the faith of the saints who are already members of the fellowship that meets in the buildings. The second and more important one is to be a place from which we reach out and seek the lost and bring them into relationship with God. These are the only purposes of our buildings. To make them any more than that is to make the buildings into something that we worship rather than God.

In that light, the pandemic and the mechanical struggles that our church has seen in the past few months is the blessing and the reminder to us that the church is the church even if we meet under the trees, in parking lots, by the beach, on top of a mountain, in a storefront, you name it. The building doesn’t matter. It’s praising God that matters. Everything else is a function in support of that.

Amen and Amen.

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