The little word “if”
Today’s reading in 1 Kings 6 describes how Solomon in the fourth year of his reign began to build a most remarkable temple on the mount in Jerusalem. It took him seven years (verse 38) to build. We read,
“When the house was built; it was with stone prepared in the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built” (verse 7).
Imagine those seven years, there has never been a building site like it since. The stone almost certainly came from a quarry right next to, if not partly under the present walls of the city that the Saracens rebuilt 500 years ago. I have been right down into it, one walks into history, the stones for the Wailing Wall came from there, you can see where they came from and some faulty ones were left behind.
We took note of the references throughout the chapter to how all the stonework and all the cedar was overlaid with pure gold (verses 18,21,22), it would have been totally awesome to work there and see it completed.
There is that little word “if” in verse 12. It is essential we take notice of it. We read how Solomon is told,
“concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you which I spoke to David your father and I will dwell among the children of Israel” (verses 12,13).
God still worked by the same principles with Solomon’s descendants. In Jeremiah we are reading of the last useless king of Solomon’s line of descent and the destruction of Solomon’s temple.
But God looks for a house to dwell in today! Look at 1 Peter 2:4,5 ;
“As you come to him, a living stone, rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house … ”.
Can you sense that spiritual house? Can you sense the shaping of yourself, as a living stone, to fit you into some part of God’s building? Look back on your pathway in life. Solomon was to write in his Proverbs,
“In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death” (12:28)
“If” you are on that pathway – make sure you stay on it. When we come to chapter 11 we will see how Solomon stumbled badly as he neared the end of his life. The conclusion to the pathway of his life is a solemn lesson for us!
Our Lord is telling us today, the same as he told Solomon,
“If you will walk … obey … keep … then I will establish my word with you”
and how more and more wonderful that word is – as it grows as a ‘building’ in our minds as we read through it day after day for a full twelve months each year.