Pillar of the Church
“He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.”
1 Kings 7:21-22 (NIV)
Are you a pillar of the church?
Be careful before you answer because as the old joke goes, ‘a pillar is something that obstructs the view of others and holds everything up.’
In Solomon’s Temple there were two large cast-bronze pillars that stood on either side of the entrance. They were about 27 feet high and about 18 feet around. Interestingly both pillars were given names: Jakin and Boaz. According to the margin of the NIV, ‘Jakin probably means he establishes’ as in ‘I will establish his kingdom forever…’ in 1 Chronicles 28:7, and ‘Boaz probably means in him is strength’ as in ‘The LORD gives strength to his people…’ found in Psalm 29:11.
The names of these pillars contain a very important message. Taken together a powerful declaration is made, ‘By His strength…God will establish’. As the people passed through these pillars they would be reminded that God is the one who establishes and strengthens anything we do.
It’s so important for the Christian church today to remember that we do not establish our own work or ministries, nor do we serve the Lord in our strength. God is our foundation and support, and ‘Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain…’ (Psalm 127:1)
There is something else of significance for the church about these pillars: ‘The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies.’ A lily is frequently used in the Song of Solomon emphasising its role in the romance between the bridegroom and the bride, for example, ‘Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.’ (Song of Solomon 2:2) And as the apostle Paul remarked, God in Christ ‘loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25), of which the love between a man and his wife is a type (verse 32)
All of this tells me that God himself is the Pillar of the House of God. The pillars that once stood at the Temple continue to show us that God not only establishes and strengthens the work of the church, but in loving us with a passion, is kind, merciful and gracious.
Father, thank you for being the pillar of the household of God. We don’t want to obstruct or hold up what you are doing, so help us to participate with you so that the church can move forward.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON W1T 6AQ
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Phone: 07958 386944