“Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him?” (2 Chronicles 2:4-6)
These words were spoken by King Solomon to Hiram, king of Tyre, as Solomon begins the great work of building the house of God. Solomon was requesting from him not only some additional materials for the building of the temple, but also a man who was skillful in working with gold, silver, bronze, etc. (2 Chronicles 2:7-9). Hiram will gladly send such a skilled man and also the materials which Solomon has requested. Hiram then adds, “Because the Lord loves His people, He has made you king over them” (2 Chronicles 2:11).
In his request to Hiram Solomon makes an interesting statement: “Who am I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him?” (2 Chronicles 2:6). Solomon was now ruling on the throne of the great nation of Israel. He served as the king over God’s people. Yet, he realized how completely undeserving he was to build God a temple. He realized the heavens above could not contain God how much less this temple he was building. However, the temple would be a place where God’s people could worship Him and “burn sacrifice to Him” (2 Chronicles 2:6).
As I consider these words of Solomon, I am struck by how honored Solomon felt to be able to serve God and build a temple for God. Although Solomon was determined that the temple he was making was going to be great because “God is greater than all the gods” (2 Chronicles 2:5), Solomon did not “pat himself on the back” for his carrying out this great work. He did not boast about how much he was doing for God, but instead felt greatly humbled that he was honored to be the one to be privileged to build the temple of the Lord.
How do I view my service to God? Am I like the Pharisee who said, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11-12)? As much as I hate to admit it, if you are like me and serve in a number of areas in your local church, it is very tempting to boast about how much we do to serve the Lord. It is easy to forget the great privilege it is to serve God and instead to “pat ourselves on the back” and boast like the Pharisee. May God guard our hearts from this temptation!
Instead, like Solomon may we remember what a great honor it is to be able to have a part to play in serving the Almighty God Who made the universe! May we remember the words of Christ, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'" (Luke 17:10). Today, I will strive to remember what a great privilege it is to be able to serve Jehovah, Who is greater than all the gods!
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:3-5).