1 Kings 5: 17 (to “hewn stones”); 6: 7
Acts 9: 10-17
I felt encouraged to speak, as the words which we have had already confirmed me. This scripture in Kings has been before me a little and I seek help by the Holy Spirit to say something about it. I was thinking of these stones: we see from other scriptures that believers in the Lord Jesus can be viewed as stones; in that way they are God’s building material. It speaks earlier in the Bible of men making bricks (Gen 11: 3), which were man-made, man’s mind entering into that, but God’s building material is stone. Dear fellow believer, you can view yourself as one of God’s stones. And what is the purpose of the stone? To be part of a building, and it is to be part of a building for God. That is what God’s intention is for you as a believer, that you are to be a stone in the building that is for His pleasure.
In this scripture, Solomon was building a great house for God; that was the objective. Now there are many ‘stones’ here tonight, and I just wondered if we could get help to see how God views these stones, because I think it would help each of us as to how we view one another. It says the “king commanded”; this is no haphazard idea; this is no imagination of man; this is no mere matter of convenience: this is a commandment of the king! I suppose it is a little like “the truth” as our brother has spoken of it. There are certain things that are not to be broken, and one would be the king’s commandment. Then it says they brought “great stones”. Think of the value that God has of every believer: “great”. Think of the divine selection of each and every one; chosen in Christ “before the world’s foundation”, Eph 1: 4. Think of the Father’s choosing! If I view my brother as one that God has chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, I would surely view him in a more elevated way, view him as excellent! Think of God referring to the saints as “the excellent”, Ps 16: 3. We are entitled to view ourselves as chosen of God, and our brethren also, chosen of God. Does not Peter speak of that, “but with God chosen, precious, yourselves also”, 1 Pet 2: 5. How precious the saints are in the eye of God; let us view them that way too.
Then “costly stones”: think of the price that God had to pay, that these stones should be secured for His building. The precious blood of Jesus is what has redeemed each one. The same price for every one; again, how would that make me look at my brother or my sister? How precious they are to God! How much He has paid so that they should be part of His assembly; “purchased with the blood of His own”, Acts 20: 28. What a wonderful way to view the brethren.
Then “hewn stones”; think of the workmanship, the divine working, the Holy Spirit working tirelessly, perfectly, skilfully, that there might be suitable material for God’s house. Surely that would cause me to respect my brother or my sister, when I recognise that he or she is one in whom the Holy Spirit of God has worked and is working. Think of God beginning a work in every believer and finishing it perfectly, working in a patient and perfect way by the Holy Spirit.
And then further down we see what the result is; the house when it was being built “was built of stone entirely made ready” - no adjustment needed, the different stones fitting together perfectly, happily, quietly.
That is why I read in Acts, because I wondered if we see an example in Ananias working with Saul. The comparison of the two passages has been made in ministry (JT vol 9 p288); I am not claiming to say anything new exactly, but I was attracted to this exchange between Ananias and Saul. You may view them both as stones and there is some making ready going on! Think of Saul, a name that might have human greatness attached to it. That is not the kind of greatness that God had in mind! He became Paul, which means ‘little’. We are not to view one another as great naturally, not after nature, but what we are in God’s sight, chosen, those that are precious, the objects of God’s purpose. The Lord says of Saul, “this man is an elect vessel to me”; potentially a great stone, you might say! How is he going to be fitted into God’s building? You might say it is impossible. Here is a man who has been breathing out threatenings and slaughter; Ananias would have been one of those subject to those things. Ananias needs a little adjustment. What does the Lord say to him regarding Saul? “This man is an elect vessel to me”, he is to be a great stone. “I will show to him how much he must suffer for my name”; there is going to be some workmanship needed. The Holy Spirit in His skill would allow suffering in order that there might be something brought out for God’s glory through this vessel. Think too of how Paul elsewhere says, “the Son of God, who has loved me and given himself for me”, Gal 2: 20. How conscious he was that he was a costly stone; think of how he would be able to look back at this occasion and view Ananias as another precious stone in God’s building. How perfectly they met together. “Ananias went and entered into the house; and laying his hands upon him ...”; it has been said there was no need of mortar (JT vol 9 p288); there was no gap between these two stones. Ananias was able to lay his hands freely upon him, adjusted by the Lord, given a divine view of this person; and so there was no noise “of iron”: “Saul, brother”. The natural reaction would have been much different, but Ananias had been quickly adjusted in accepting this one as a brother.
I feel tested by this because we need to apply it practically. We are entitled to view one another in this way, as “great”, “costly”, and “hewn”. May we value one another more, seeing the way that God views the saints, as chosen by the Father, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ and as those in whom the Holy Spirit works in perfect skilfulness.
May the Lord bless the word.
14th October 2014