Eza 3:7 So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia. (ESV)
Israel began worshipping at the new altar they had just built, but they also realized that the work was not yet done. They still had a temple to build. In this verse they make plans and begin to gather resources to build. They haven't broken ground yet, but they are planning and preparing for the future.
In our culture we are told to save for the future. How many of us actually do that is questionable, but certainly it's a good idea. The older we get the more we realize that we should be preparing for our retirement. We know that we need to look to the future, not just live for today, despite the lyrics of the old Grass Roots song to the contrary. And yes I know that Jesus said not to worry about the future. The present, he said, has enough worries of it's own. That is absolutely true. But while we are not to worry about the future, there is certainly wisdom in making some preparations for the future, as the Proverbs instruct us.
Now this is where it gets interesting. I doubt that there are many who would disagree with me up to this point. Yes, we should not worry about the future. Yes, we should make some preparations for the future. But this passage is talking about making preparations, not for their retirement nor for their children's education, but for building the temple.
1Pe 2:5 says "you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (ESV) In other words, we are being built up into both a priesthood and into the temple itself. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are the living stones that make up the walls of God's living temple. He dwells in us both individually and corporately.
That raises the question: not, what are we saving for the future, but how are we making plans to build the temple? We plan for vacations; we plan for retirement; we plan for holidays; we plan for large projects at work. But do we plan go build the temple, or is that just supposed to happen?
How do we plan to build the living temple of God? What preparations need to be made? As I think on this it seems that there are at least three things I need to do in order to prepare for the opportunities God will give to build his temple. First, I need to make personal preparation. I need to make sure that my heart is right with God and that I am prepared in such a way that were someone to ask me a reason for the hope that is in me I would be prepared to give an answer (Col 4:6). Second, I need to be praying that God would prepare hearts to hear the truth of the gospel and make opportunities for me to share (Eph 6:19). Finally, I need to be intentional about seeking out opportunities to connect with unbelievers (1Cor 9:22).
Father, I confess that I give more thought to just about everything else in life than this. By your grace, may I be intentional about building your spiritual temple today. Go before me and prepare hearts and opportunities to share the love and truth of Christ. Give me eyes to see those opportunities and may I be prepared to seize the day.
By His grace,