"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raising The Standard: Orderliness Is Organizing And Utilizing My Resources To Their Greatest Efficiency

The thoughtful planning of the leader in gathering and assembling a myriad of materials --- metals, timber and precious stones --- was a remarkable example of precision and orderliness. It took years to finish, but when it was completed it was the most magnificent structure ever built.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Orderliness In Organizing My Resources?
Determined to fulfill the dream of his father, a wise young man overtook a project. His father would have liked to accomplish this task personally, but because he was a man of war, he was unfit for the job. He was allowed to gather the materials necessary for the construction and did this until the end of his reign.
After his death, his son assumed leadership and resolved to fulfill the dream of his father - building the temple in Jerusalem to house the ark. This phenomenal feat would require all of his energies and organizational abilities in coordinating vast quantities of materials and thousands of men of diverse nationalities and skills. He began organizing the project, maintaining order in every aspect. First he secured stone and lumber from different countries. He made an alliance with a neighboring king to employ men skilled in woodworking. He established a rotational working program with thirty thousand men to help cut giant cedar trees of Lebanon. He sent an additional eighty thousand masons to cut and finish stones from the hills. After four and a half years of collecting materials, actual construction began in the spring. Seventy thousand laborers at the construction site directed by over three thousand foremen began building the temple --- ninety feet long, thirty feet wide and forty-five feet high. Constructed on an expensive stone foundation, the cedar-paneled walls were beautifully decorated with hand carvings and overlaid with gold. The quantity of materials and the scope of coordinated effort were staggering, but even more remarkable is the fact that because the leader followed the plan so precisely, neither hammer nor chisel could be heard at the site. The prefinished stones and beams were so exactly cut that they fit perfectly together. After seven years of hard work, this sacred building was completed --- hundreds of years after the nation left the slavery of Egypt. Why was it so important for Solomon to complete his father's dream? His motivation to complete the project with such precision and order is revealed in his prayer during the dedication ceremonies, "But will God indeed dwell in the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant... That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there." The Lord had given his father the promise that upon completion of the temple His glory would fill it. The temple would be the scene of His presence in Israel. (From 1 Kings 6:1-14)
Why Was Solomon So Wise?
When Solomon inherited his father David's throne, he was still a young man. He was aware of the many pressures and difficult decisions which his father had faced. He remembered how one foolish decision by David had cost the nation seventy thousand lives (II Samuel 24:15). But that decision had been made after years of experience in leadership. He had hardly any experience and felt completely inadequate to lead such a great number of people (I Kings 3:7; cf. Exodus 3:11). His prayer to God was not for longevity, wealth or power but rather for a wise and discerning heart. His principal concern was for the people over which he was to rule, and because of this noble attitude the Lord promised him wealth and honor as well as the wisdom which he requested (I Kings 3:9-13; II Chronicles 1:10-12). His organizational ability was merely a by-product of the wisdom and discernment the Lord gave him.
Was The Lord Pleased With Solomon's Temple?
Although the great temple differed from the design given by God to Moses for the original tabernacle, it is clear that Solomon's temple was approved by the Lord. The differences in the two can be explained by the fact that the tabernacle was constructed as a movable structure whereas the temple was to remain permanently in Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Lord Himself had given David the new plans, and David passed these plans on to Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:11-19). The fact that the cloud, the visible symbol of the presence of God, filled the temple was a sign that God had entered it and chosen it as the scene of His gracious presence in Israel. This is exactly what had happened when Moses completed the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35; 1 Kings 8:10-11).
How Could One So Wise Turn His Heart From Following The Lord?
When Solomon was young he was so devoted to the Lord that he probably felt it would be impossible to be deceived into the worship of false gods. He may have considered himself immune from the danger of marrying foreign women who worshiped idols (cf. Exodus 34:12-16). When he realized that taxes alone would not support his many projects, he sought to raise revenue by expanding his foreign trade. Intermarriage between royal families was a common practice in the Near East often dictated by diplomatic and political expediency. Solomon took wives from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. He acquired a harem of seven hundred wives and princesses, plus three hundred concubines. Because he failed to maintain order in his home, his foreign wives practiced their idolatry and set up various shrines in and around Jerusalem. Solomon accomplished his goal to increase foreign trade but overestimated his strength to resist the evil ways of his wives (cf. 1 Kings 11:1-8). The diligence with which he maintained orderliness was evident in his strict control and leadership over those who built the temple. But because of misuse, this ability eluded him later in life, changing from a positive force to a negative one which would mar his final years with disillusionment and despair. When early English settlers came to this country they saw for the first time a little animal which for lack of a better name they called, "chuck," meaning, "little pig." From all outward appearance the name was aptly chosen.
How Does The Woodchuck Illustrate Orderliness In Organizing Its Resources?
Spending much of its time digging and living the rest of the year in an earthen den, the woodchuck would appear to be a dirty animal to the casual observer. But such is not the case. The woodchuck is, in fact, extremely fastidious both in its personal grooming and in the care of its surroundings. The woodchuck takes great care to remove burrs from its fur with its teeth and has a regular program of licking its paws and the fur on its body. Rarely will one see any substance such as dirt, burrs or grass on the woodchuck. But the feature that distinguishes the woodchuck from most other animals is the way it keeps its surroundings perfectly clean. It is very unusual to see the excrement of this animal. When the tidy woodchuck must eliminate its waste, it looks for a spot some distance from the den and digs a hole two to three inches deep. Afterward, it carefully covers the hole with dirt. This practice alone is more than is normal in the animal world. But even this is not sufficient for the woodchuck. Using its head, it hammers the earth to compact the loose dirt around the deposit to ensure that it will not be uncovered. When it is not convenient for the marmot to go outside, improvisation is necessary. Digging a chamber to provide its own indoor plumbing, it takes care to construct this compartment for waste well below the sleeping chamber. The waste is buried with great care and is periodically removed and reburied outside the den. The woodchuck is also tidy in its sleeping quarters, especially when the female is rearing her brood. When the chucklings are young, the mother routinely replaces soiled nesting material with clean, dry grass. Hot summer days are pleasant because pesky insects are not attracted to the odorless area. The diligence with which the woodchuck maintains cleanliness in its surroundings makes it the model housekeeper of the animal world.

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