BIG THINGS FOR GOD
Lord, I need others to assist me in this life.
Read 2 CHRONICLES 2:1–18
Preparations for Building the Temple
2 [a]Solomon gave orders to build a temple for the Name of the Lord and a royal palace for himself. 2 He conscripted 70,000 men as carriers and 80,000 as stonecutters in the hills and 3,600 as foremen over them.
3 Solomon sent this message to Hiram[b] king of Tyre:
“Send me cedar logs as you did for my father David when you sent him cedar to build a palace to live in. 4 Now I am about to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God and to dedicate it to him for burning fragrant incense before him, for setting out the consecrated bread regularly, and for making burnt offerings every morning and evening and on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals of the Lord our God. This is a lasting ordinance for Israel.
5 “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. 6 But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?
7 “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.
8 “Send me also cedar, juniper and algum[c] logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber there. My servants will work with yours 9 to provide me with plenty of lumber, because the temple I build must be large and magnificent. 10 I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors[d] of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors[e] of barley, twenty thousand baths[f] of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil.”
11 Hiram king of Tyre replied by letter to Solomon:
“Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king.”
12 And Hiram added:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment, who will build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself.
13 “I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, 14 whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father.
15 “Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised, 16 and we will cut all the logs from Lebanon that you need and will float them as rafts by sea down to Joppa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem.”
17 Solomon took a census of all the foreigners residing in Israel, after the census his father David had taken; and they were found to be 153,600. 18 He assigned 70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stonecutters in the hills, with 3,600 foremen over them to keep the people working.
a 2 Chronicles 2:1 In Hebrew texts 2:1 is numbered 1:18, and 2:2-18 is numbered 2:1-17.
b 2 Chronicles 2:3 Hebrew Huram, a variant of Hiram; also in verses 11 and 12
c 2 Chronicles 2:8 Probably a variant of almug
d 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, probably about 3,600 tons or about 3,200 metric tons of wheat
e 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, probably about 3,000 tons or about 2,700 metric tons of barley
f 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, about 120,000 gallons or about 440,000 liters
New International Version (NIV)
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When you attempt something new, do you allow God to intervene? Do you invite God into the process?
Have you ever attempted to do something really big for God, as in a key role in a national ministry initiative, perhaps, or spearheading a major project at your church? Over the years, I’ve watched Christian leaders announce their “big, hairy, audacious goals” for ministry—and I’ve wondered, “How can we know the difference between a God-inspired vision and pride-driven ambition?”
In today’s passage, Solomon launches two big projects at the same time: building a temple for God and a palace for himself. The Chronicler seems to have pulled two key documents from the files to help us understand what happened: Solomon’s request for assistance and King Hiram’s letter of response. This interchange gives us two insights into the right way to do big things for God.
First, even though Solomon is the wisest man on earth, he wisely understands that he doesn’t know everything (7). It is easy for him to think, “I’m the king. I had the dream. I know what to do here.” Instead, he is willing to respect the competent leadership of Huram-Abi (13), the unsung hero of the temple building project appointed by Hiram. God can do big things through leaders who empower competent people around them.
The second and most significant factor in Solomon’s approach is that he knows the temple is not his project but God’s. True, Solomon sets out to create the world’s greatest worship structure (5), but he also understands that his highest achievement pales into insignificance before God’s greatness (5,6). Knowing the limits of our knowledge, humbly empowering the people around us, and genuinely giving all glory to God: these traits identify a wise leader who can do big things for God.
Think of people in your church who are involved in important work. What could you do this week to affirm their calling and gifts?
Lord, I acknowledge that there are many things I don’t know and that I rely on You to supply me with people who can help.