27 ¶ Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Solomon built the first “systems-built” building in recorded history, a type of modular home, where everything about the Temple was prepared “in the field” and brought to the site and assembled (1 Kings 6:7). This took great precision and know how, not the kind of thing that we modern loving people dare ascribe to the ancients.
Here is practical advice to the Hebrew living under the Law given by God to Moses to make careful preparation “in the field” before bringing your work together to build your home. Now, let’s look at these verses from a practical and spiritual standpoint for a Christian and I’m sure if you think about it you can come up with even more applications.
Every verse in the Bible has at least three applications; one in its historical context, two in its doctrinal context of to whom it is speaking and what instructions they are being given, and three in its spiritual or practical application to anyone of any age and time period. Many times for Christians, since such a small part of the Bible is written directly to us as doctrine, the historical and doctrinal don’t seem to apply so we must look for a deeper, a third dimension in meaning and application to give us something for our mind to chew on and to reflect upon, with which nourishment we can grow.
Only those people involved in the heresy of “replacement theology” who view Christianity, taking the place of the physical Israel, as a physical kingdom building God’s kingdom of heaven on earth to hand over to Him when He returns, who see the world system as getting better and better and becoming more Christian, who deny the “translation” of the church, and look for, like the old time evangelist Lorenzo Dow, man to create a golden age without God’s direct intervention as their devotion to Him is perfected, see the Old Testament commands under the Law to be doctrinally applicable to the Christian in spite of Paul’s clear statements. These people have been responsible for all of the death and murder caused by so called Christianity through the ages. As Dr. Ruckman said, “kingdom builders are bloody killers.”
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Bible believers, however, are not waiting for mankind to build the kingdom of heaven on earth. We await the church to be Translated, a Bible term, which is often popularly called The Rapture, a non-Bible term based on the Latin word Rapto, to seize out or remove by force. I’ll use the Bible term, Translation, for as Enoch was translated;
Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
…so the church, the body of Christ on earth, shall be translated and, in fact, in eternity, already is.
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
But, back to the Proverb. Practical advice for the Christian young man would be to prepare your work in the field, get your education and training, establish your career, save up some money, learn to budget, etc. etc. before attempting to marry and build your house, your family, as in household, which we have discussed previously in the word, house, often being a reference to a family or dynasty. Young people, without the proper education from the parents who probably also did things backwards, often do things in just the reverse of what they should be done, having the emergency need of preparing a place for a family they got by emotional impulsivity before they were actually prepared.
Missionaries and evangelists have much work to do “in the field” so to speak before they can retire to their house, to enjoy rest for a season. Indeed, the house of God, which is the people of God likened to a building, as I’ve shown many times before from the Bible, often requires much work “in the field” sowing the ground with the word of God, winning people’s affections to Christ, and starting from scratch before the local house of God is established.
The New Testament church was a house church that met in people’s homes and Paul went to many pagan cities to make converts to Christ and set up churches in homes in these cities. There were no known buildings set apart for church use only until late in the second century as far as anyone I have read can tell. He had much work in the field to do first to build the house of God wherever he went. Do you see the comparison with Solomon building the Temple in the physical dimension and Paul building the spiritual house of God consisting of people who had received Christ? The building was constructed in the field and then assembled on site.
Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
As you and I have contemplated this Proverb under the direction of the Holy Spirit we’ve seen the contrast between the physical directions given to the Jew and the spiritual dimension of the church of God. We’ve also gone over two of my pet peeves with modern Christianity. One is the use of the word Rapture, in place of the Bible word, Translation.
Why “translation” you might ask? Well, God spoke everything into existence by Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, our behavior is called our Conversation, we Communicate good things to those who are over us in the Lord, the definition of a word is called its Interpretation, and if you read the first chapter of Genesis with the verses connected by “And” we see that the Uni-Verse is one long unbroken sentence until it is complete, then comes the seventh day or Sabbath rest which typifies the millennial reign of Christ. Everything that exists as we know it is based on the speech of God, God’s word, so it is only natural that when we are changed from this vile body of flesh to His glorious body we are translated from one form of speech to another. Its not rocket science, folks. Read the book. I’m far from the sharpest knife in the drawer and I can see this stuff. I know, as smart as some of you are, you can see it and much more if you just read the Book over and over again. I’m on my 56th time. I’ve been a Christian for 25 years. Do the math. That’s only a little more than twice a year for each year I’ve been a Christian. You can do better than me.
The other pet peeve is mistaking the building in which the church meets for the church. There are no sacred spaces in Christianity. The Christian’s body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. As we discussed, the believers meeting together are the body of Christ, the church, the house of God. We can get hung up in the physical and drift into replacement theology, the wickedness of Nicolaitanism which is a special priesthood elevated above the laity (Nicolaitanism = victory over the laity), and other heresies easily by setting up as sacred, things on this earth, which is not our home. Only as memorials, spiritual reminders of heavenly things can we safely do that and then we must be careful not to confuse new believers into thinking there is some kind of special power in a place; whether it be a church building or a grove of trees. We do not call the Holy Spirit down. We have all the Holy Spirit we’re going to get when we’re saved. We want to be filled with it. God does not come down on a church meeting. He is already here or we’re just playing church. We don’t come to church on Sunday morning to get close to Christ. We come to church because we are close to Christ. I, for one, will not substitute the sublime and eternal beauty of heaven and the spiritual for the profane and temporary ugliness of a fallen earth.
Just as Jesus called the world a field, and we must work in the world, to prepare the house of God let us also do our work in our own field, our hearts, to build the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which Paul calls our bodies, by submitting to God’s word, surrendering to Christ, and making way for the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.