fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Laying the foundation

LAYING THE FOUNDATION by Julie McAllen

 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)

Have you ever put your trust in something or someone who later turned out to be mere “ground without any foundation?” I have and it hurts. The depth of that mistake it not just in trusting a faulty foundation, but to see the work built upon it come tumbling down like a house of cards in stark realization of Psalm 127:1

Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.”

In both the first and the last books of the Bible, we learn that God existed before the heavens and earth were created (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 10:6). In between we see kingdoms rise and fall, temples built, destroyed, and rebuilt, people enslaved and set free, life and death, blessings and curses. All things taking place under the sun. For as the wise man Solomon said so long ago,

“There is an appointed time for everything….A time to tear down and a time to build up.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3).

If this is the case, we might question as David did, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

When you think of the Lord laying a foundation, what comes to mind? Is it the earth itself? A temple in Jerusalem? A belief system? And if a foundation is destroyed, what effect will it have on everything else that has been built upon it?

When the temporary foundations of Job’s world were being shaken, the counsel of his friends sought to provide an explanation. But in the midst of these storms, God instead asked a question,

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? (Job 38:4)

We are all humbled by the reminder that God alone founded this world and everything in it. Stories like that of Job who lost his children, health, wealth and the trust he once put in his wife and companions demonstrate the fact that what’s given into our hands can be snatched away at any moment for none of these were around at the foundation of the earth.

And yet, we learn the earth itself was established on a foundation set in place even before it came into existence.

He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. (Psalm 104:5)

What existed with God as the foundation upon which our earth was established?

 “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 “When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; (Proverbs 8:22-29)

Who is this described as the one alongside God at the beginning of His way?

“For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 8:11-12)

Wisdom existed with the Creator to found the earth according to Proverbs 8.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.
The LORD by wisdom founded the earth,
By understanding He established the heavens.
(Proverbs 3:18-19)

Everything under the sun can be shaken, but God’s wisdom remains as a foundation. Solomon in his wisdom observed that to everything there is a season, with “a time to tear down and a time to build up.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3) Yet, Solomon was given wisdom to also add, “ I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.
(Ecclesiastes 1:4)

Wisdom remains, and the earth remains, though we see changes with every passing generation. There is nothing new under the sun. Each are mere building blocks upon what was previously established; some things proving to stand strong having been built upon wisdom, some set to totter having been built upon an inferior foundation. So it behooves us to look deeper at the firm and everlasting foundation.

THE WISDOM OF GOD

Just as Solomon portrayed wisdom as standing beside him in Ecclesiastes 2:9, God also personifies wisdom as a master worker alongside Him marking out the  foundations of the earth.

When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men.
(Proverbs 8:29-31)

Some have proposed that this master workman beside God was Jesus Christ. They are not entirely wrong, for later in scripture we learn that Christ is also called the “wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). However, that does not lend to any arguments that Christ existed as a separate creation of God anymore than Solomon’s wisdom was apart from him. Solomon’s wisdom stood beside him and yet his wisdom was himself. Much like when I tell you “I give you my word.” My word is me and I am my word, how can I give it to you as something separate?  John opens his gospel with words familiar to the opening chapter of Genesis,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)

Jesus, the wisdom of God, is also the word that was with God and yet was God. Jesus is not a created being of God, for he is before all creation. It is no surprise then, that the apostle Paul described Jesus Christ as the “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Christ is before all things. He existed before the heavens, before the earth, before the formation of Israel or the church. All subsequent rulers and kingdoms of any age were set to rise and fall, yet one was founded to last.

‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 25:34)

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The kingdom of God was not an after thought set in place to fix a problem, it was founded long ago in wisdom, righteousness, justice, lovingkindness and truth (Psalm 89:14). Long before the earth, before the creation of Adam, before the prophecies of a coming Messiah, before the establishment of any religion or creed, an everlasting kingdom was prepared. God spoke of it through the prophets giving instructions as a shadow and tutor preceding the reality to come, and finally in the last days of Israel, God spoke through His Son “whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

The kingdom was near. Foundations were shaking. As Christ pronounced judgment against wayward Jerusalem, the old law covenant was “becoming obsolete, growing old and ready to disappear” (Hebrews 8:13). What was founded at the beginning of the world was being revealed in the grand transition taking place in the first century.

As the letter to the Hebrews opens, it promotes Christ as God’s firstborn into the world, and He says of the Son,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil  of joy.”

10 He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12 You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (Hebrews 1:8-12)

This proclamation in the new testament is quoting from Psalm 102:25-28, where we see God as the founder of the earth.

“Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. 28 “The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.” (Ps 102:25-28)

The heavens and earth can be shaken, but the foundation remains. David noted this in the past through his victory song recorded in 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18.

6In mydistress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

7 Then the earth shook and quaked; And the foundations of the mountains were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry. 8 Smoke went up out of His nostrils, And fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it. 9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet. 10 He rode upon a cherub and flew; And He sped upon the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 12 From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, Hailstones and coals of fire. 13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. 14 He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. 15 Then the channels of water appeared, And the foundations of the world were laid bare At Your rebuke, O LORD, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. (Psalm 18:6-15)

Surprised to hear that the Lord had come down in the past with His holy angels and with the clouds? His purpose was that the foundations of the world would be laid bare at His rebuke. Within these parallel passages, we learn that David’s world was being shaken by the vengeful pursuit of his enemy King Saul. Though Saul had been appointed as the first King of Israel by the Spirit of God, his anointing was taken away and given over to David (1 Samuel 10-16). This was a struggle for David to comprehend as his own conscience bothered him asking how he could stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:5-7). Kings and their kingdoms rise and fall for they are created things, mere foundations of the world. What a shock to David who also queried in Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” I believe David, like all of us, was being tested and sifted to reveal where his trust had been and to discover the true foundation.

   “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 3 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:2-3)

THE DWELLING OF GOD

Even as new kings came to power over Israel and Judah and were said to “sit upon the throne of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 29:23), and foundation stones of temples were laid as a dwelling place in which the Lord would reside, the message that should have gotten through to those under these kingdoms was “this is temporary.” For God had been proving Himself as the only real rock to stand upon amidst the shaking foundations in which men so easily put their trust.

 “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding. 22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:19-22)

Prophesies were given concerning an everlasting Kingdom, one not made with hands nor could ever be destroyed. Kingdoms known as mountains would rise, but a greater mountain existed even before them. When God pronounced His judgment against the mountain known as Babylon, he said,  “They will not take from you even a stone for a corner Nor a stone for foundations, But you will be desolate forever,” declares the LORD. “ (Jeremiah 25:26) After seeing the mountains of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian kingdoms fall, during the fourth kingdom rule foretold in Daniel’s interpretation, the visitation and inspection of  the Everlasting King would arrive. While the Jews were trusting in the stones of their temple and the Romans were trusting in their army, the fulfillment of that coming King and the foundation of His Kingdom were being revealed.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. 17 “I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level; Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place. 18 “Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you become its trampling place. (Isaiah 28:16-18)

The chief cornerstone of the true dwelling place of God was being rejected. Of those he had prepared to receive him, only a remnant chosen by grace would be saved (Romans 9:27). The rest would put trust in their temple buildings and their own righteousness. But like always, what was built by man was soon to be shaken and trampled down.

They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 “Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. (Psalm 82:5-8)

Those about to perish did not discern the self-existent One who was now standing in their midst as the chief cornerstone of a lasting house in which God would dwell. They walked about in darkness, meanwhile the sons of Light were being built up as living stones into a spiritual house.

 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For thisis contained inScripture:

   “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES INHIM WILL NOT BEDISAPPOINTED.”

7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

“THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” 8and,

   “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;

for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doomthey were also appointed.

9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (1 Peter 2:4-10)

The foundation of the apostles and prophets were “being fitted together, growing into a holy temple in the Lord, built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:20-22) Those who were given ears to hear and eyes to see were making it known in the letters preserved for us in the Bible. And thus they aspired to preach the gospel revealing Christ as the foundation (Romans 15:20)

The household of God, which is the church of the living God, became the pillar and support of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) Yet during this transitional period, God’s building composed of His rejected chief cornerstone, prophets and apostles existed alongside the temple built by hands in Jerusalem. Kingdom was against Kingdom. Therefore, they were encouraged to present themselves as a “workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” … and reminded that “the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” (2 Timothy 2:15-21) Is it any different today?

WHEN THE OLD FOUNDATION FALLS

 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you,not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 23:37-24:2)

Shocked by this declaration yet trusting in Jesus Christ as the foundation of truth and Light that had come into the world, the disciples were moved not to ask “why?” but “when?” When would they see the destruction of their temple the end of that age?

Jesus answered,

“…when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled….Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled….. for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. ….when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Luke 21:20-33)

As promised, Jesus Christ had come to fulfill what was written in the Law and the Prophets. In this astonishing transition period of the new creation existing alongside the old heavens and earth, a generation was being blessed to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 5:17-19; 25:34)

As the Alpha and Omega spoke in the final hour of its fulfillment, John saw the vision of the city having real foundations.

The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:19-22)

How encouraging this must have been for John and how blessed the seven churches were to read it while under intense persecution by those who were putting trust in old, obsolete foundations that were ready to disappear (Hebrews 8:13). For they were given grace to understand that they were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). What coming destruction could possibly separate them from the love of God?

After two temple builds in Israel’s history, there would never again be a temple of mortar and stone rebuilt to establish a dwelling for God in an earthly, physical kingdom. For His kingdom is no part of this world (John 18:36). The true King had already sat down on His heavenly throne and began ruling in the midst of his enemies in the first century while building a spiritual temple to replace what was soon to be destroyed. Though the last temple was destroyed in 70 AD proving that  “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), some “novel ideas” of the current era have misled some into fear of being left behind lest they support laying another foundation. How can anything else be built when God’s eternal dwelling place has already been established upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, and is guaranteed to never end (Matthew 16:16-18)? God is already in His temple inhabiting it forever. Beloved, the church is not a pause in God’s eternal plan, it is in fact the building having real foundations.

His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob. 3 Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. (Psalm 87:1-3)

Though the prophets and faithful men of old had not received the promise when they died, they looked forward to this “city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10) They confessed themselves as strangers and exiles on this earth. Instead of pining for an earthly kingdom to be set up at some future date, they looked toward a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16) They would not enter that heavenly city until those alive at the coming of the Lord would also join them (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). That time was at hand, for the church of the firstborn had already approached it. They had not come to a physical mountain, one that could be shaken. They had instead come to the long-awaited city of the living God, the promised Mount Zion known as the heavenly Jerusalem. They had heeded the voice of the one who warned them on earth and received a kingdom that could not be shaken, and now they stood waiting for the final judgment upon “things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” (Hebrews 12:18-29)

What has remained? A temple in Jerusalem? No, twenty centuries later, another building is still standing. Fires have come and will continue to come in order to test the work and lay bare the works of man upon it, but what God laid in the beginning is good, very good. And so, as God’s fellow workers, we are admonished to be careful with what we lay upon that good and solid foundation.

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. (1 Corinthians 3:10-17)

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

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April 30, 2012 Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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