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Vol.5, No. 05 – February 23, 2020

Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Now Solomon purposed to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself –2 Chronicles 2:1

There is a history. David, a patriot, soldier, writer, and diplomat gave the people the boon of a unique capital. Jerusalem. Now they needed a center for worship. A center where the people could come and worship Jehovah, who was present in the nation. David does not have permission to build a temple for God. However, there is another who will build and draw people to Almighty God.

That is in steep contrast to today’s culture in our country. Each year, the worship of Almighty God slides further from the expected. People are attempting to replace God with their own gods. Far too few people recognize their obligation to gather in worship each week. However, this is what becomes of a nation attempting to replace God – with recreation, sports, cruises, shopping, and scads of leisure activities that become more comfortable and demanding to a culture bent on self-worship.

People even worship their technology — their laptops, iPhones, iPads, iPods, air pods, and on and on. Did you notice the frequent uses of “I”? Culture demands people be “I” centered–iCentered people on their iPhones, iPads, iPods, centered on themselves.

Solomon, chosen for the task of leadership, chooses a site in the heart of the city. It is the rugged summit of Mount Moriah. This will not be an easy build. However, leaders under God’s hand, move forward with their best for the people. According to 1 Chronicles 28:19-20, Solomon is clearly instructed for what is about to be his charge.

All this he made clear to me in writing from the hand of the Lord, all the work to be done according to the plan. Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”

Every part of the blueprint, given from the hand of the Lord; a costly project ensues.

>230 million dollars in gold

>50 million dollars in silver

>800 tons of bronze

>4600 tons of iron

>Huge quantities of onyx, precious stones, and costly jewels

>Tons and tons of marble

>Huge investments of human capital

There were great trunks of cedar and cypress trees sent rushing down from the heights of Lebanon by schleppage (“slang” for moving with great effort). All this came to be bound in large rafts for transport through the river and on to the coast of Joppa. Then these trees were dragged with enormous work, for 35 miles up rocky and steep roads. To Jerusalem.

Approximately 153,000 workmen, in seven years, finished Solomon’s Temple, the Temple of the Lord. It is a forum, fortress, university, and a sanctuary for the Jewish people. The building is not actually architecturally rich, it was somewhat a common type of build: 90′ x 35′ x 45′. However, it is a home for God in the midst of His people. It is not made to be a cathedral of glass to impress people. It is not a stadium for a Billy Graham rally, or a meeting place for Congress.

Donna and I took a trip to India. While we did not visit the site, it is the site of the Taj Mahal. That building took 22 years to complete. History shows that 300,000 workmen spent 20 years to build an Egyptian Pyramid. One Pyramid took 200 years of construction. Artemis’ Temple in Ephesus took 400 years just to furnish it. History also shows Westminster Abbey being under construction for 500 years.

It is amazing what man will do to build buildings that are made for man, and yet this simple place for worship, with complete functionality, was constructed under the leadership of one of God’s choosing, in just seven years. Solomon was at the task of building the nation as a people of God—the center of their life.

This is awesome — God’s Temple, built in majestic silence. It is a house of stone. One stone on the Wailing Wall is 38′ long and 7′ high. Stones, carved in the quarries, in correct size before being transported – amazing. No hammer, no axe, no tool of any kind was to be near the Temple in its building process (1 Kings 6:7).

A strong leader, a follower of Almighty God; just what the nation of Israel needed. This person, God supplied. A leader is not always respected by the people. Some wanted power, and sought his failure. However, Solomon moved forward with the task.

How are we faring with the leadership God ordains for our country, our nation? If Solomon was running for President of the U.S., as a Republican, he would already be scheduled for impeachment before taking office. In addition, not one candidate running for President appears to be a person seeking the wisdom of God in their every life decision. Sad.

Life Application

Over 2500 years ago, the Temple building is finally complete. However, where is the Temple of God? Is the Temple in our stuff? Is the Temple where it belongs? Paul writes of the place of the temple. It is within us. That is, in the very heart and soul of the believer. It is necessary for a leader. Did you know that every person is the leader of someone?

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. –1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Leadership in a time of crisis is always available—if we would but ask our Almighty God!

Building the Servant of God

Vol.5, No. 03 – February 16, 2020

1 Kings 17:2-7

And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan –1 Kings 17:2

Have you ever toured Chicago? When we lived in Chicago, it was a time when the Sears Tower was prominent. One of the world’s tallest buildings. The foundation of the building is hundreds of feet down. When you travel almost 100 floors up, you think you can see forever – almost beyond the horizon. On a good day.

The ground breaking for the structure occurred in 1970, with a completion in 1973. The tower’s main building is 110 stories, 1450′ tall (1707′ with TV/Radio antennas). It is an incredible building project.

However, there is another builder. He is Almighty God. He is in the “business” of building His people. Before there is the height of Mount Carmel, there has to be solitude, isolation, and quietness of Cherith. An old Quaker saying reads, “The wilderness is the place of soul-making.” Impact comes from in-depth soul making.

When Elijah stood in Ahab’s palace, announcing there was to be a serious drought, “No rain for three years!” The announcement got attention. I am not sure, if it was a “you could have heard a pin drop” moment, or, if it was a moment of chaos. The intelligence division, royal police, the king’s secret service had one assignment. Bring the rascal, the troublemaker in, put him in custody.

Wow! You would think that mountain man would prepare and know that Baal is the god of rain and fertility!

Thus, Elijah the Tishbite is a fugitive from “injustice.” Yet, God had Elijah exactly where He wanted him to be. Able to hear; able to give a listening ear to Almighty God. The word of the Lord came to him –17:2. He did not need to go scratching for a message from God; it came right to him. Now, we need to see that this is foundational.

Whether the Word of the Lord comes through the Scriptures, or through a distinct impression made on your heart through the Holy Spirit, be sure to listen. The Word of God is unique; His Book is unique. When we come to the Word of God, it is He, who is speaking.

Three things we see in Elijah:

  1. His obedient heart (verse 3, “hide yourself”). It is the learning before the leading. It is the Cherith before the Carmel. It is the hidden life before the public action. F.B. Meyer said, “Every saintly sould that would wield great power with men must win it in some Cherity. A Carmel triumph always pre-supposes a Cherith; and a Cherith always leads to a Carmel.”
  2. His waiting spirit (verse 3). Depart from here and turn eastward . . . There is provision, for Elijah it is cool refreshing water, and the supernatural food that ravens bring, every morning and evening. It is a balanced meal!
  3. His dependent attitude (verse 7, the brook dried up). Can you imagine the thoughts going through Elijah’s mind? Alone with desolation. He waits quietly alongside a dried up creek bed, with parched and cracked lips. Why? God is teaching His servant to trust Him, not focus on His gifts. He is teaching Elijah to walk by faith when things dry up. It is hard to sit by a dried up creek.

Life Application

Does God teach us in the hard times? On the other hand, do our tantrums prevent us from trusting; what if we struggle with leadership, our health, our finances, or one of our loved ones turn from us? Can we really be OK, sitting beside a dried up creek?

NOTE: Over several weeks of 2020, we will be looking at Leadership in an Hour of Crisis. The last three weeks have teased us to think about leadership; it looks different that many of us think or experience. Our country faces a leadership crisis; most are “hung up” in being unable to define leadership. The struggle for groups to have and bear power is nothing more than a caricature of what true leadership entails.

In our small travel through 2 Chronicles, we will get a glimpse of what God thinks of leadership. Thus, we will not be traveling to Disney World, re-watching the Superbowl, or even digging up the verbiage from the recent political debates. Leadership is much more.

God knew He was not whipping up a best seller when He inspired the books of Chronicles, but He never intended to. Not terribly exciting, but they are absolutely essential . . . what the [iPhone contact list] is to communication, and the dictionary is to the English language . . .  Chronicles are great resources, but they were never meant to be read like a Louie L’Amour novel. –C. Swindoll

In the original, 1 & 2 Chronicles is one book. When translated into the Greek, they were divided into two books. The Greek required 1/3 more space than the Hebrew. Scrolls were limited in length. The book of Chronicles is at the end of the Hebrew Bible, in the section of the Writings. If we look at what is now two books, we find the first demonstrates a movement from nothingness to greatness; the second book displays a movement from greatness back to nothingness.

Chronicles is not simply reflecting a historical or political account; it is addressing a spiritual account. The setting is in Solomon’s Temple. In the books of the Kings, the view of Israel is given from the throne; in Chronicles, the view is from the altar. In Kings, there is a view from man’s perspective; in the book of Chronicles, we get God’s perspective.

I am sure that you have not read many devotionals written from the Chronicles. However, All Scripture is breathed out by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. –2 Timothy 3:16-17.

So with that background, it will be well for us to travel through these Scriptures in Chronicles, and let them assess us through the truth of the Word God gives.

Leadership in a time of crisis

Strengthened in the Kingdom

Vol.5, No. 04 – February 10, 2020

Leadership in a Time of Crisis

2 Chronicles 1:1

Solomon the son of David established himself in the kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. –2 Chronicles 1:1

Names mean things. Solomon means shalom, peace. He is the 10th son of David, the second by Bathsheba, and the third king of Israel (reigning for 40 years). It could be a cloudless dawn of a spring morning when Solomon’s dad said, I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man. –1 Kings 2:2

This is a great example of leadership; modeled for not only his son, but also for the people of the land. From his family upbringing, watching his mentor-father David, with a tender heart praying for divine wisdom, to the seven years of building the Temple, and his memorable message of dedication and prayer.

Three words describe Solomon’s early kingship, Wisdom, Wealth, and Worship. It is clear that the Lord God was with Solomon, exalting him. Now it is most likely summer, with a great harvest, but also evidences of early fall.

This strong leader, in an unparalleled focus, does surgery on the sagging ruling party of the nation; reconstructing the way governing should flow. For at least 20 years, Solomon smooths the nation’s wrinkles. During that time a grand estate develops with houses, resorts, stables, pools, fortresses, and a gorgeous home. Then there is a breathtaking Temple.

In our world’s history we have had Einstein’s, Nobel and Pulitzer winners, economic presidents, some of great intelligence – however, none with authentic spirituality wedded to academic excellence. Solomon spoke 3000 Proverbs, lectured on trees, animals, birds, and fish. He composed 1005 songs. Peoples from all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 4:34).

When the Queen of Sheba came (from over 1400 miles away) to hear his wisdom, it is said that her breath was taken away. Solomon possessed outstanding earthly greatness, he was a man of noted affairs (pun intended), and possessed wisdom greater than any earthly being. Here is an outstanding ruler, a lover of peace, and an “establisher” of a powerful nation. His recorded judgments set precedents that still impact nations today. Solomon created institutions operating in a fashion that surpassed the weaknesses of man’s feeble attempts at wisdom.

What we have in this brief outline of Solomon is a multi-tasking, multi-talented, extraordinary energetic leader. What he became in leadership is a result of using the gifts God gave him; using them to the fullest.

When one does that, it gives glory to God. There are lessons to learn from Solomon (both in the successes and the failures). Solomon is an author, composer, architect, administrator, diplomat, and businessman. What an incredible read.

Life Application

Are we really using the gifts that God has given us? What are the goals and accomplishments that are on God’s expectation list for us? In our current time of crisis, we have the same privilege as Solomon, to ask for wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. –James 1:5

Leadership in a time of crisis is always available—if we would but ask our Almighty God!

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