“David said, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore, now I will make preparation for it.’ So, David made ample preparations before his death.” (1 Chron. 22:5).
We see in the text that the temple of the Lord was to be “exceedingly magnificent.” God did not plan to build some shack or throw up a few bricks and call it His house. David spent the last days of his life gathering the materials together for the magnificent temple the Lord wanted built. The finished product truly was “exceedingly magnificent.” As the queen of Sheba observed, “the half has never yet been told” (1 Kgs. 10:1-7). The kingdom and the temple and everything about Solomon’s rule over the nations was exceedingly magnificent. However, we sadly know it did not last long. Solomon became a compromiser and presumed he could allow idols in his house without having any effect on the nation. It was not long before exceeding magnificence gave way to magnificence. Then on down to good until it became a nation that was called by Jeremiah a “degenerate vine.” When Israel and the leaders of God’s people stopped expecting “exceedingly magnificent” service to God and even started to take away from the glory of the temple to pay off the nations roundabout (1 Kgs. 14:25-28:15:18.19: 2 Kgs. 16:8-17: 18:14-16: 21: 3-7: 25:13-16: 2 Chron. 24:7). Instead of a hallowed perfect place full of exceeding magnificence and glory as the house of the Lord, it became a trading tool and was desecrated by God’s own people, long before Nebuchadnezzar pretty well finished the job in 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 25:1 3-16).
Under Zerubbabel, the people returned and rebuilt the temple, but it was never again as it had been (2 Chron. 3o:23: Ezra 1:1-4: and chapters 5, 6). How did such a beautiful place lose its exceeding magnificence? The people of God began to compromise with the nations round about and to settle for mediocre service to God. They became satisfied with polluted service (Mal. 1).
Does God Expect Our Best?
Can The Same Thing Happen To The Lord’s Church (Temple) Today?
The Lord’s church is likened to the temple today in 1 Cor. 3:16. God still expects His temple (spiritual Israel), to be exceedingly magnificent. One cannot help but be impressed with the emphasis God has always placed on service to Him and that which man offers to Him as worship and honor. God will not take even magnificent service; HE WANTS EXCEEDINGLY MAGNIFICENT SERVICE (Col. 3:23). He wants the very best we have and will not tolerate anything less. Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 15:58, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” God does not expect more than we are able to do, but He does expect us to do everything we have the ability to do and to give our best to Him.
Paul talks of our physical bodies as being the temple of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 6:19. God has given specific instructions on how we are to keep ourselves pure and holy. He expects us to do no less than obey His precepts exactly as He has given them (Eph. 5:11: Gal. 5:19-26).
Considering these two examples, let us ask ourselves if we think God will accept us selling out and compromising with the world in any way? If He wanted His physical temple kept “exceedingly magnificent” then would He accept less of us today in the church?
In the Old Testament we have seen what a lack of respect was shown by God’s own people when they sought to be like the nations round about. When they started compromising and trusting in other nations for their protection, instead of in God, they began to offer to the heathen, the treasures of the temple (that which God intended for service to Him).
We have an “exceedingly magnificent” plan of salvation. Let’s not try to downplay it or give folks the idea they can please God without obedience to this “magnificent” plan.
We have an “exceedingly magnificent” Savior. He is to be honored and glorified. Let us not accept any doctrine which would lower Him to the level of a mere man. He alone is worthy to be our Savior.
We have an “exceedingly magnificent” church. Matt. 16: 18 tells us the Lord would build His church. It belongs to Him. He has only one (Eph. 4:4; 1:22, 23). It has a duty and a charge (evangelize, edify, and practice limited benevolence). No one dare sell it out in its work or function. No one calling themselves a Christian can afford to do anything less than serve Him in His church and grow according to Heb. 5:12-14.
How could Israel, sink so low as to offer polluted sacrifice on the altar of God? How could Ahaz even imagine, much less follow through, on removing the bronze altar and setting up an altar to an idol in the temple itself?
Folks, it did not happen overnight! It was gradual, just as departure from the Lord is in our personal lives, and in the church. The church at Laodicea in Rev. 3 was confident they serve the Lord properly, but they did not! They were not “exceedingly magnificent” in service to Him. They were blind to their own error, just as many at Corinth and Galatia were. They had grown to accept any old service to God as good and lost their zest for excellence in service to God.
When a Christian only comes occasionally to worship IS THIS EXCEEDINGLY MAGNIFICENT service? When one sings half-heartedly, let’s his mind wander during prayer and the Lord’s Supper, gives with little or no thought or purpose, and listens or sleeps through the lesson with no intention of it changing his life, can we call this “exceedingly magnificent.” What is the difference in that type of service and worship to God and what was done in Malachi 1?
When Christians, (whose bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 6:19), socially drink, dress immodestly, hardly pray or study, refuse to be hospitable, murmur, backbite, complain, curse, gamble and use tobacco or other drugs, can we call this “exceedingly magnificent?” To ask the question is to answer it.
We as Christians must realize God is a jealous God and will accept and indeed demands, of those who use His name that they do things exactly as He says. There are no other options.
We do not have the right to tamper with the law and change it to fit our needs or passions. We cannot change the Word to accommodate someone who will not submit to His will.
We live in a world where people grow satisfied with the “status quo.” Average is good enough for some. We know that a business satisfied with average, will soon go out of business! We know that salespeople who are satisfied with doing the minimum, will always be floaters and unstable. Employers are always on the search for people who have pride in what they do and give attention to detail. These types of folks are getting harder and harder to find. The Lord’s church should be full of them. but sadly, many Christians have become satisfied with lazy service to God. Rest assured, God notices how we serve and will not accept anything from us but that which is “exceedingly magnificent.”