Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pillars in the Temple

Solomon’s temple was one of the great structures of the Ancient Near East, a magnificent edifice erected for the worship of the Living God. The early chapters of 2 Chronicles record way more information than we might desire: details about pomegranates and cubits and cherubim.

Then 2 Chronicles 3:17 says that Solomon erected two pillars in the front of the temple; one on the south end, one on the north end. He named the pillars “Jakin” and “Boaz.” Why would Solomon name the pillars? The meaning of the names gives us a hint.

Jakin means “he will establish.” Boaz is less clear, but is thought to mean, “in him is strength.” Solomon knew what we must learn. It is God who establishes our lives and our work, and it is he who gives us the strength to accomplish his work. Solomon built the temple, but he was sure to acknowledge who established it, and who gave the strength.

Twenty-one years ago, I entered an amazing new era in my life. My wife gave birth to the first of our four kids. Nine years later I drove into Cedar Rapids with a big job at a small church. Both are stressful and terrifying jobs. In the process I have often forgotten Solomon’s lesson. I sometimes think it all depends on me.

Then, God will gently remind me that Jakin and Boaz are the pillars of my family and my church, even my own Christian life. I am not in this alone. God himself will establish me, and I can depend on his strength as I do his will. It does not all depend on me.

Nearly forty years ago, God drew me into his kingdom. I was just a 6-year-old kid. What did I know about the Christian life? But I was in good hands. The God who saved me by his grace would establish my life in his ways. Saving me, sanctifying me, setting my feet on solid rock – it was his work, not mine. He is my Jakin. He is my Boaz, strengthening me along the way.

Sometimes I forget that. I start to think that I have to be in control, that I have to “make it happen.” If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. But when I feel this way, I am taking the role of God. I am trying to be my own Jakin, my own Boaz. What folly.

Dear friend, do you feel like it all depends on you? Do you feel like the man who kept 12 plates spinning on top of little poles? If he stopped spinning the plates, they would come crashing down. You are stressed out, fearful, overwhelmed, weighed down by life’s cares.

They are not your plates and it is not your job to keep them spinning. God has it all in control and doesn’t need your help. He desires your worship, your love, your devotion, your obedience. But he can keep the world spinning without your assistance.
He is your Jakin, who will establish your life, your family, your church, your ministry, by his might, his wisdom, his power. He will be your Boaz, strengthening you to do all he has called you to do.

God is in control, not you or me. Aren’t you glad?

1 comment:

Todd Bacon said...

great stuff, and timely brother

hope you are doing well!