Is There Determination in our Growing?

Bible Book: 2 Chronicles  2 : 1-6
Subject: Growth, Spiritual; Growth, Church; Determination
Series: Determination

As some of you know, we have started a series of messages on the subject of “Determination.” And specifically, we’re talking about Determination with regard to various aspects of our spiritual experience.

Two weeks ago, we looked at the idea of “Determination In Our Giving.”

Now, I must share this with you. We had a marvelous response two weeks ago to the challenge of giving to relief efforts for Haiti. I think we had between $3,500 and $4,000 that was either given or pledged that Sunday. But apparently, the determination of regular giving was short-lived, because one usher told me that when they counted last Sunday morning’s offering, it was the lowest offering they had seen in months. There must have been quite a few that were not as determined in the area of giving as they should have been.

Nevertheless, the Bible says in Acts 11 that after the disciples at Antioch heard through the prophet Agabus that a great famine was going to take place…

(Acts 11:29-30) Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: {30} Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

This morning, it’s on my heart to speak to you about having a Determination In Our Growing,” or more specifically, a determination in building or growing a work for God here at Piney Grove.

The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles that “Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly” (2 Chronicles 1:1). Then 2 Chronicles 2:1 says…

(2 Chronicles 2:1) And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

In the Hebrew text this verse stands as the last of chapter 1. (And concerning this word) Determined, the Hebrew word is the ordinary word for “said”; as, e.g., in the expression of such frequent occurrence, “The Lord said.” Its natural equivalent here might be, he gave the word, or issued the command, for the building of a house.

In other Old Testament references, this word is translated as “appoint, call, charge, command, declare, demand, desire, intend, and require,” along with a number of others.

The English Standard Version says, “Solomon purposed to build a temple.”

The Holman Christian Standard Bible says, “Solomon decided to build a temple.”

Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message says, “Solomon gave orders to begin construction on the house of worship.”

Again, The Pulpit Commentary says that…

He (Solomon) determined to proceed with the work. It was not under compulsion, but with the full consent of his own mind, that he began and continued and completed the noble task. He gave himself to it, he threw his strength into it; so much had he to do with it that it could be said with truth that “Solomon built him a house.” When all other influences are taken into the account, it still remains true that our actions are our own; that ultimately we determine upon the course which honours or dishonours our life, which makes or mars our character, which ensures or spoils our prospects.

I know that the Bible teaches us in Matthew 6:27 that we cannot add one cubit to our stature simply by thinking about it. While that is true of our physical body, I believe that when it comes to our ecclesiastical body (this church), God wants us to be thinking about growing. He wants us to be determined in growing the church here for His glory. I am also very aware that Psalm 127:1 says that “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” But is also true that as God builds His house, He has certain expectations and responsibilities for us.

John Bisagno, the retired pastor of the First Baptist Church of Houston, TX wrote…

Adrian Rogers … and Ed Young (Sr.) … once made separate studies of the 25 fastest-growing churches in America to determine any commonalities. … When Rogers and Young learned of each other’s study, they saw five factors in common among growing churches:

1) They were strongly led by their pastors.

Boards, presbyters, deacons, elders and committees abounded. There was a large variance in ecclesiastical structure. But in each case, it didn’t take long—analyzing the inside workings of the church—until it became obvious where the power was. But it is imperative that you understand: Leadership is not demanded; it is deserved. Pastoral leadership is taught in Scripture, granted by the people and must be earned by the pastor. Remember, a wise man will seek counsel and work with his leaders while humbly assuming the position of leadership with which God has entrusted him.

2) They were strong Bible churches.

Each pastor believed the Bible to be inerrant and infallible, the unflawed, perfect Word of God, not just a record of God’s Word, but God’s Word itself. These men were not attempting to be apologists. They were not defending the Bible, debating it or trying to prove it. They were preaching it, explaining it, applying it and illustrating it. Once, asked why he didn’t spend more time defending the Bible, Billy Graham responded, “The Bible is like a lion. When you have a lion, you don’t have to defend him. Just turn him loose; he’ll defend himself.”

3) They were good-time churches.

This is not to say the weekend services were a hootenanny, or the atmosphere like a carnival. They were happy churches with bright, warm, friendly atmospheres. The people felt the freedom to laugh, to cry and to respond. Remember, you can’t hatch eggs in a refrigerator. A warm, fluid service that allows for the freedom and spontaneity of the Spirit is conducive to the tender response of our Spirit to God. … We thwart the work of the Lord among us when we stifle the freedom of the Spirit with stilted, overly formal services. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” the Bible says. This is not, of course, to suggest an inherent fallacy in planning. An order of service can be directed by the Holy Spirit and still be printed in advance. But the love, warmth and ease with which it should be carried out can and must be allowed.

4) They were churches in unity.

The people gave a high priority to their oneness in Christ. Social and socioeconomic diversity are a great plus in the church. Ideally, your church will be a cross-section of your city, and its leaders will be committed to preserving its unity. When a church is in harmony with itself, it becomes the beautiful body of Christ on earth through which the Lord Jesus in heaven recreates his presence every time the people of God gather. Songwriter Bill Gaither said it well: “I love the thrill that I feel when I get together with God’s wonderful people.”

5) Each church had an indomitable spirit of conquest.

There was a “holy driven-ness” about the congregation. They would never be satisfied. Each church pulsated with an atmosphere of more, more, more. They must cross the next river, climb the next mountain, give the next dollar, build the next building and win the next soul. They would not be deterred. …

The tone of each of these five factors … starts in (the) heart.

(From the Baptist Press article “Marks Of A Growing Church” posted on Oct 21, 2002)

Growing a work for God does start in the heart. It starts in the heart of God Himself. And then it must be in the heart of the pastor. And then it must be in the heart of the people.

Now when it comes to growing a work for God, we cannot exclude the Divine element and the Divine influence. And I think that even in our text, the work of God and Christ are clearly seen in a suggestive (perhaps even typological) way. Here’s what I mean…

In this passage of scripture, we find a king who is also a son. And the son has a kingdom because the father had a kingdom. And that son is essentially building a church (a temple) based on the will and plan and preparation of his father. Does that sound familiar? I believe it clearly corresponds to the role that the Lord Jesus has.

Jesus said…

(Luke 22:29) And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;

He said that His work was based on the will and plan of His Father…

(John 5:17) But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

(John 10:37) If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

(John 6:38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

And the work that the Father had for the Son was to build a church. And the Son said…

(Matthew 16:18) … upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

As we think about growing a work for God, This Passage Shows Us This Poignant Picture.

Then too, as we think about growing a work for God, This Passage Shows Us A Pastoral Pattern.

Just like a pastor, Solomon takes the lead role in setting the plan in operation and expounding upon the purpose and vision, and making it clear that they are doing what they are doing for God’s glory.

Furthermore, as we think about growing a work for God, This Passage Shows Us Some Personal Principles. And that is really what I want to magnify this morning. Notice from this passage that…

I. When We Determine To Grow God’s Work, Heart Is An Important Factor

(2 Chronicles 2:1)

A. Notice The Purpose Of His Heart

(2 Chronicles 2:1) And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

The Pulpit Commentary said…

Whence came this purpose of the king’s heart? From the depths of his own soul; or were there not other elements besides that of his own volition? This determination which is here chronicled as a simple act of one mind was, as most of our resolutions are, more complex in its character than it seemed. … In this case David’s influence had much, very much to do with it. It was he who initiated the work (2 Samuel 7:2). Moreover, he urged Solomon to proceed with it after his own death, and even laid by stores in partial preparation for it (1 Chronicles 22:11,14). Solomon, in “determining” to build a house, was really resolving to go on with an undertaking which he had already promised his father to carry out. … (There was also) the Divine Element. God had already given his distinct sanction and encouragement to the proceeding (2 Samuel 7:13). And this Divine decision, communicated by the Prophet Nathan, must have had a very powerful weight in Solomon’s determination.

Joseph Parker said…

Solomon was born to do this work. … (He) came into this work naturally, as it were by birth and education.

The Bible says that God put wisdom in Solomon’s heart…

(1 Kings 10:24) And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

Just as God had put wisdom in his heart, I believe that God had put this work in his heart.

The Bible tells us of Moses…

(Acts 7:23) And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

Based on the meaning of this word “determined” (to desire, to purpose, to decide), it seems that it was in Solomon’s heart to build this temple.

B. Notice The Priority Of His Heart

(2 Chronicles 2:1) And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

Matthew Henry wrote…

He determined to build, in the first place, a house for the name of the Lord. It is fit that he who is the first should be served—first a temple and then a palace, a house not so much for himself, or his own convenience and magnitude, as for the kingdom, for the honour of it among its neighbours and for the decent reception of the people whenever they had occasion to apply to their prince; so that in both he aimed at the public good. Those are the wisest men that lay out themselves most for the honour of the name of the Lord and the welfare of communities. We are not born for ourselves, but for God and our country.

His first priority was a house for God and then a palace for his kingdom. Are we taking care of God’s business as well as we are taking care of our own? Consider the words of the prophet Haggai…

(Haggai 1:2-5) Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. {3} Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, {4} Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? {5} Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.

II. When We Determine To Grow God’s Work, Help Is An Important Factor

(2 Chronicles 2:2)

Chuck Swindoll said…

Asking for help is smart. So why don't we? You want to know why? Pride. Which is nothing more than stubborn unwillingness to admit need. The result? Impatience. Irritation. Anger. Longer hours. Less and less laughter.

We can no more accomplish God’s work alone than Solomon could build the temple by himself.

A. Notice The Laborers Who Were Called Upon To Help

(2 Chronicles 2:2) And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.

told – Hebrew 5608. caphar, saw-far'; a prim. root; prop. to score with a mark as a tally or record, i.e. (by impl.) to inscribe, and also to enumerate; intens. to recount, i.e. celebrate:--commune, (ac-) count, declare, number, + penknife, reckon, scribe, shew forth, speak, talk, tell (out), writer.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says…

Solomon first drafted aliens to provide the labor. They consisted of 70,000 … carriers and 80,000 stonemasons, and 3,600 … foremen.

But they may not have been all foreigners in this labor force. As the IVP Bible Background Commentary says…

The total work force is 153,600, divided into three groups: carriers, stonecutters and officers. Numbers such as these may reflect approximate totals of all those who were recruited to work on the temple over the years it took to build, rather than the number working at any given time. … Considering the huge number of projects undertaken during Solomon’s reign, it seems likely that native Israelites as well as resident aliens would have served. … As with any labor group, there would have been a division of labor between the skilled and the unskilled. Presumably those delegated to the task of “carrying” would have been unskilled “strong backs,” who would have hauled stone, timber and building materials and tools. … The work at the quarry was accomplished by cutting trenches (about two feet wide all around) to isolate the stone that was to be used. Then wooden wedges were driven in at the bottom and drenched with water. The resulting expansion of the wood freed the bottom of the stone. Though this took no great skill on the part of the laborers, a supervisor with training would be needed to determine where the trenches should be cut so as to procure the best pieces of stone. The next stage was rough shaping. After this the true masons took over as they dressed the stone surfaces and gave it the proportions needed. The work was done with such precision that no mortar was needed.

B. Notice The Leaders Who Were Called Upon To Help

(2 Chronicles 2:2) And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.

oversee – Hebrew 5329. natsach, naw-tsakh'; a prim. root; prop. to glitter from afar, i.e. to be eminent (as a superintendent, espec. of the Temple services and its music); also (as denom. from H5331), to be permanent:--excel, chief musician (singer), oversee (-r), set forward.

Just as Solomon set up leadership in building the temple, God has raised up leadership in building His church. Consider the following verses…

(Acts 20:28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

(Hebrews 13:7) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

(Hebrews 13:17) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

III. When We Determine To Grow God’s Work, Heritage Is An Important Factor

(2 Chronicles 2:3)

A. Solomon Desired To Have The Same Type Of Relationship With The Noble King That His Father Had

(2 Chronicles 2:3) And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.

The name “Huram” or “Hiram” means whiteness or noble. The corresponding passage to this one, in 1 Kings 5 says…

(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. {2} And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, {3} 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. {4} But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. {5} 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.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament states…

According to the account in 1 Kings 5, Solomon asked cedar wood from Lebanon from Hiram; … he desired an architect, and cedar, cypress, and other wood. … Solomon reminds the Tyrian king of the friendliness with which he had supplied his father David with cedar wood for his palace, and then announces to him his purpose to build a temple to the Lord.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

‎The good terms and intimacy subsisting between Solomon and the King of Tyre speak themselves very plainly in Bible history.

I want to have the same type of relationship with the king that supplies our needs that my forefathers and predecessors in the faith have had!

B. Solomon Desired To Have The Same Type Of Resources From The Noble King That His Father Had

(2 Chronicles 2:7-9) Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide. {8} Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants, {9} Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary says of the…

Blue and crimson yarn. These were the most exotic and desirable dyes that were available in the ancient world and were very expensive. They had been used in decorating the tabernacle and in embroidering the priestly vestments. The “blue cloth” has more recently been interpreted as a blue/purple or violet color. The dye for this color was one of the major imports of Phoenicia where it was extracted from the murex snail (murex trunculus) which inhabited shallow coastal waters of the Mediterranean. … One chemist estimated that a quarter of a million snails would be needed to produce one ounce of pure dye. This dye was used in the manufacture of the most sacred objects.

The imported materials include the types of lumber. The IVP commentary goes on to say…

Essentially cedar and cypress trees were to be used for the beams and other structural supports. … Almug in 1 Kings 10:11-12 is red sandalwood imported from Ophir (native to India and Ceylon) and is a luxury hardwood used for furniture since it can be highly polished. … Typically they used hardwoods that polished to a fine finish with nice grain or fragrant odor. A number of these woods are also impervious to bugs or mildew.

These seem to have been durable types of wood and aromatic types of wood.

I don’t want to build the work of God with the cheap materials of this world, but I want to use the durable, aromatic material (the cedar) that my forefathers and predecessors used. As Paul said…

(1 Corinthians 3:10-13) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. {11} For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. {12} Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; {13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

IV. When We Determine To Grow God’s Work, Holiness Is An Important Factor

(2 Chronicles 2:4)

A. Notice The Sanctification And The Attitude Of Worship

(2 Chronicles 2:4) Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.

dedicate – Hebrew 6942. qadash, kaw-dash'; a prim. root; to be (causat. make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):--appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.

The Pulpit Commentary explains…

To dedicate it. The more frequent rendering of the Hebrew word here used is “to hallow,” Or “to sanctify.”

This summarizes the attitude of worship in the temple. It was “unto the Lord”!

B. Notice The Service And The Activity Of Worship

(2 Chronicles 2:4) Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.

As the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament says…

The temple is to be consecrated by worshipping Him there in the manner prescribed.

We do not burn incense or offer burnt offerings or have solemn feasts. But as the writer of Hebrews says…

(Hebrews 13:15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

V. When We Determine To Grow God’s Work, Humility Is An Important Factor

(2 Chronicles 2:5–6)

A. He Reverenced His Unequaled Sovereign

(2 Chronicles 2:5) And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.

great – Hebrew 1419. gadowl, gaw-dole'; or (short.) gadol, gaw-dole'; from H1431; great (in any sense); hence older; also insolent:-- + aloud, elder (-est), + exceeding (-ly), + far, (man of) great (man, matter, thing, -er, -ness), high, long, loud, mighty, more, much, noble, proud thing, X sore, (X) very.

The Barnes’ Notes Commentary says…

This may seem inappropriate as addressed to a pagan king. But it appears (2 Chronicles 2:11-12) that Hiram acknowledged Yahweh as the supreme deity.

Again, The Pulpit Commentary says…

Solomon speaks of the temple as great very probably from the point of view of its simple religious uses as the place of sacrifice in especial rather than as a place, for instance, of vast congregations and vast processions. Then, too, as compared with the tabernacle, it would loom “great,” whether for size or for its enduring material. Meantime, though Solomon does indeed use the words (ver. 5),” The house.., is great,” yet, throwing on the words the light of the remaining clause of the verse, and of David’s words in 1 Chronicles 29:1, it is not very certain that the main thing present to his mind was not the size, but rather the character of the house, and the solemn character of the enterprise itself.

B. He Recognized His Unworthy Self

(2 Chronicles 2:6) But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?

As Matthew Henry said…

It becomes us to go about every work for God with a due sense of our utter insufficiency for it and our incapacity to do any thing adequate to the divine perfections.


I remember hearing about a beautiful church building in North Carolina that had a real problem in the building phase. One of exterior walls was not plumb as they laid the bricks, so they had to tear it down and rebuild it at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

Some of the areas in our lives that we have talked about today may not be in plumb. They may not be lined up with the Word of God and the will of God. If His work is going to grow and be built up, we need to be lined up with Him and His Word. Otherwise, our mistakes will prove to be a costly endeavor.