1 Kings 5:1-5. And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram saying, Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
When God intends a man to do any special work for him, he will find him all the helpers he needs. Sometimes those helpers may seem to be very unlikely persons; but —“Remember that omnipotence has servants everywhere.” See, dear friends, when the Lord had given rest to Solomon, he proceeded with the building of the temple which David had planned. Whenever God blesses you, show your gratitude to him by undertaking some special service for him. Now that you are out of your recent trouble, bring your sacrifice of thanksgiving, and do all that you can for your Lord; your time of rest may not last so long as you could wish, therefore use it while you have it to God’s glory.
1 Kings 5:6. Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar tree out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.
It is not every man who has every gift. Hiram and his Sidonians could hew timber more skilfully than Solomon and his Israelites. God can always find the right sort of men to do his work. Do not be dispirited because you cannot do everything; why should you? Should not somebody else have a share, and be also permitted to have the honour of serving his God? It is well that you cannot do all that has to be done, and that somebody else can do something better than you can.
1 Kings 5:7-8. And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: —
It is always a good thing, before you agree to do anything, to consider it, to look at it from all points of view. I wish that, in giving money to the service of God, there was more consideration as to the object for which it is given. Some give simply because others do, some because they are asked; but he gives best who considers the matter, and looks all round, and then says, “Yes, this is a just claim upon me as a servant of God, and therefore I will respond to it.” So, “Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for:”–
1 Kings 5:8-11. And I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.
Is it not a very pleasing thought that both Jews and Gentiles built the temple of Solomon put the big stones together, and cut the cedar and fir trees into the proper shape, yet they were Hiram’s fir trees and Hiram’s cedar trees, and he floated them by sea to the place where they were landed, and whence they were dragged to Jerusalem, and God will let his people of every race and nation have a share in the building of his great spiritual house.
1 Kings 5:12-14. And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together. And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
That was a capital rule: “a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home.” You who work for God must have your month at work, but you also need two months at home to attend to your own business. There are some people who keep always at Lebanon, always at work; but there is spiritual work to be done at home as well, getting your heart ready for service, sharpening your tools, looking after your own flocks and herds, and so on There was hard work to be done, and if it was to be done well, the workers needed to have their sinews and muscles in good order, so “a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home.” One prayer in the glass and two prayers at home; one hour of teaching the lesson, twice as much time taken in getting it up and preparing it.
1 Kings 5:15. And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
What were their names? I cannot tell you, but probably there was a book in which they were all recorded, and Christ has many humble workers, hewers of wood and bearers of burdens, whose names are not known among men. Well, what is in a name? Let us be content to serve under our greater Solomon, and let the whole glory of building his spiritual temple go to him. Never mind who bears the burdens or who hews the stones, the temple is for God, so let God be glorified, and not man.
1 Kings 5:16. Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
There must be various degrees among the workers in the service of God. He is a Sovereign, and he divideth unto every man according as he wills. How this ought to hush all envy and rebellion against the officers in the work of God whom he has called to be overseers of others!
1 Kings 5:17. And the king commanded,
That is at the bottom of all service for our King; let us but get a command from the King, and we obey at once.
1 Kings 5:17-18. And they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers:
I am glad they are mentioned here, for there are still some brothers and sisters who are not hewers, but they are stonesquarers. Perhaps they do not see many conversions through their efforts, but they do a great deal of the work of instructing the converts. They polish what other people have excavated, they are stonesquarers; and just as the temple at Jerusalem needed the work of the stonesquarers, so does God’s great spiritual temple need those who square as well as those who hew the stones that are to be built into it.
1 Kings 5:18. So they prepared timber and stones to build the house.
Nothing is too good or too costly to be given to God, and let us reckon no labour too hard or too heavy that will bring glory to his holy name.
This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Kings 5, and Psalms 48, 95.