Prepared Stones

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 1, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built.” (1 Kings 6:7)

My parents have been involved in numerous construction projects throughout their lives. I helped them build our 900 square foot garage from scratch. It was just the three of us for the whole thing except pouring the concrete pad and lifting up the 22 100+ pound trusses. We designed the garage to have a 9-foot tall ceiling on one side and a 16-foot tall ceiling on the other side with a walkable loft in that part of the garage.

However, we ran into a problem with the trusses when they went up; somehow they were built as though the lower wall was six inches higher. So we had to scramble and lay down six inches of 2x6s to raise that wall so the trusses would stand correctly. We designed this thing as best as we could, however the trusses, which were built by a professional contractor and off site, did not match what was built. We do not know what caused the problem or who missed on the calculations and it ultimately does not matter right now. We got it done.

With our modern technology and engineering/architectural prowess, this was just a microcosm of the many types of engineering blunders that have happened. That is no knock on our engineers and architects, I’m just saying it is easy for us to make mistakes. However, there is a major train of thought in our society about the technology and abilities of the people who lived back in ancient times. Solomon lived 3000 years ago during the fabled Bronze Age. What did they know about engineering and architecture? Obviously a lot more than what many experts give them credit for.

When Solomon built his temple, he did so by having every stone (and they were not small stones; they often weighed in the tons) cut and carved in precisely the shape and size needed at the quarry itself, transported to the temple, and placed with exact precision. It was very common for the architects of these stone buildings to place the stones so perfectly and tightly that you could not put a hair between them. Each stone did its job and had the temple survived through the Babylonian conquest, it likely would have been considered one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world. The only reason it does not stand today was because it was intentionally destroyed, and it was allowed to be destroyed because of God’s judgment upon Judah for their sin.

Why am I talking about this? Did you know that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit? Solomon’s temple was just meant to be a picture what we, the body of Christ, are to be. God does not live in physical buildings, but prefers to dwell in the souls of his saints. We are living stones of that temple. However, instead of building a physical temple with our lives, he is building a spiritual temple.

With Solomon’s temple, each stone was cut and carved out of the quarry and shaped then and there before being brought in for use at the temple. With God’s temple, he actually does the same thing with us. What do I mean? God does not merely save us and put us to use right away. For us, salvation is like being pulled out of the quarry. After we are pulled, God takes us through the process of shaping and forming us before putting us into position where we are most useful to him for his purposes.

This is particularly true for leaders who are used of God. When I travel to and from work, I don’t listen to the radio, but instead I listen to the nearly 80 sermons I have on my flash drive. One of them is about the formation of leaders, called “Five Smooth Stones” by Eric Ludy. As I believe God is calling me not just into ministry but into leadership, this has been a very useful constant reminder. In using David’s preparation to be able to face Goliath, Ludy emphasizes how God prepares his leaders and a big point he makes is how he does not send out a novice.

In 1 Timothy 3, Paul gives multiple qualifications for elders and deacons. For both, they are not to be novices. They must be tested and proven before being put into leadership. Now many are in leadership because of their own efforts, not because God put them there, but that’s not what I am talking about. God does not put anyone in position unless they have been prepared for that position first.

In that preparation stage, several things need to happen. They need to be trained, not just for doing the job, but also for character. David was able to face Goliath because he trained extensively with the sling AND he slew a lion and a bear. The Benjamites were known to be able to aim at a single hair with a sling and not miss. David, as a shepherd, had plenty of time to practice his aim. I doubt he had any clue he would be using that skill to slay a giant during his time as a shepherd boy. He was being prepared in the “quarry,” in a place where he was not noticed, for use somewhere outside the quarry, where he would be a prominent stone on display.

The same idea is true of us. God often has us in a place that does not make any sense to us. We may know the core idea of what God wants us to do, but often we are not there at the moment and some of us want to get to our destination quickly. However, if we rush the job, we will not be properly carved and shaped first. God needs to get rid of some of the sin in our lives before putting us into place. He also needs to shape us so we fit perfectly into the role he wants us to have with everyone else.

If God began a work in you, he’ll finish it. He is never going to leave you unfinished. Trust him to finish the job and to do it right. To quote Miracle Max from The Princess Bride: “Don’t rush me, sonny. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” God knows what he is doing, how he is doing it, and when he needs it done. Let him cut you out of the quarry for his uses, cut and shape you into the precise size you need to be, and place you exactly where you are best fit for the job. And while you may be admired for your beauty, it is God who receives the reward and praise for the work. And as someone going through the process, trust me, it is worth the wait. Those who have been placed already will agree: it was worth the wait.

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