John T. Willis

Friday, May 29, 2015

Majoring in Minors--VI

Throughout human history, human beings have always been fascinated and engrossed with building GREAT buildings. Only a few examples in the Bible should be sufficient, but there are many.

1. The Tower of Babel--Genesis 11:1-9. After God initially created human beings on planet earth, people first spoke only one language, and in time the population grew greatly. At Babel in the ancient Near East, the people met together and decided in unison: "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and LET US MAKE A NAME FOR OURSELVES, otherwise we will be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." Genesis 11:4. God intervened and came down and scattered human beings abroad and forced them to speak different languages. Obviously, he was not pleased with their self-centered attitude rather than lifting their hearts and eyes and hands to God. Have human beings, nations, Christians, churches changed about this over the centuries?

2. David planned and Solomon built a significant temple in Jerusalem--2 Samuel 7; 1 Kings 8. When the temple was completed, Solomon delivered a very important prayer before all the people of God. Among other things he said:
    "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you,
      much less this house that I have built? Regard your servant's prayer and his plea, O Lord my God,
      heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today; that your eyes may be open
      day and night toward this house, the place of which you said, 'My name shall be there," that you
      may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Hear the plea of your servant and
      of your people Israel they they pray toward this place; O HEAR IN HEAVEN YOUR
      DWELLING PLACE; heed and forgive."
    Impressive cathedrals, beautiful church buildings, well-laid out and attractive campuses draw the hearts and lives of all kinds of human beings to certain localities and situations. All of this is nice and compelling, but in the eyes of God, they mean nothing at all unless the hearts and lives of the people involved are engaged.

3. An impressive period in North Israel's history was during the reign of Jeroboam II, who expanded all Israel from Lebo-hamath in the north far beyond Dan to the Sea of the Arabah in the south far beyond Beer-sheba, which was the only time in Israel's history that this happened except in the time of Solomon. 2 Kings 14:23-29; 1 Kings 4:21, 24. During Jeroboam II's reign, the richer became richer and the poor became poorer. The rich built beautiful homes with beautiful furniture. This was very impressive. Some even had houses and beds of ivory. But God through Amos strongly condemned these people for their wealth and their injustice toward the poor. Several texts in Amos announce that all these houses will fall--Amos 3:15; 5:11; 6:1-7, 11.

4. In spite of all this, we still emphasize the importance of building new buildings. We feel this is necessary. But should God's people place emphasis on building buildings? If we set our minds and hearts on the things above and not on the things on the earth (Colossians 3:2), hopefully we will begin to emphasize the great truths taught and emphasized in the Bible. God alone is our leader and king. Let us follow him.

May God bless YOU in your hearts, your lives, your aspirations, your pursuits.

John Willis


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