David said to Solomon, “My son, I had planned to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth.’” 1 Chronicles 22:7–8
To this day, the most sacred physical location in Jewish tradition is the Western Wall. The wall consists of enormous stones that served as the retaining wall for the Temple Mount. Those stones are all that remain of the temple complex that was expanded under the leadership of King Herod in the time of Jesus. The original temple was built by King Solomon after the death of his father, David. The great desire of David’s life was to build a temple in which the Ark of the Covenant could reside. But, by the word of God, David was not allowed to construct the temple. David was a warrior who had spilled much blood, and such a person would not be allowed to build the most holy and sacred of places. Only a man who reflected the peace and love of God would be allowed to construct the temple.
David was a man of war, and Solomon was to be a man of peace. Warriors know how to tear down, peacemakers know how to build up. David had crafted a kingdom by use of force, Solomon built the most beautiful monument to God carefully and peaceably. There are questions about how peace-loving Solomon actually was, but under his reign Israel remained uncommonly safe and secure. This story does, however, witness to an important truth: conflict is destructive, peacemaking is constructive.
Are you a peaceful person?
Lord, I am not always peaceable. I am more than willing to pick a fight. Family squabbles, office disagreements, and neighborhood strife are evidence of my warring tendencies. And yet, like David, I long to be a builder, to be constructive, to leave behind a glorious legacy. You remind me that peace is the pathway to constructive living. I may be inclined to fight, but my deepest longing is for peace. Help me to live out my best intentions and better nature. Help me to build temples of grace and peace that reflect who You truly are. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.