Part 1: The Realities Of God Versus Man's Imagination
Ed Tarkowski

There is only one Scripture that speaks of the imagination and at first glance, it would seem that it would favor the use of our imaginations. When taken in the context of the who chapter of 1 Chronicles 29, it does not. Rather it assumes more of a neutral position as a guard against letting our imaginations think that we can imagine anything more than God can really do.

In 1 Chronicles 29, the people had taken what God had laid in their hands and contributed to the building of the temple of Solomon, and then David said,

16 O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

In verse 16, David acknowledged that all that had been gathered that Solomon might build a glorious temple had come from God Himself that all glory might be His. Verse 19 tells us that imagination was not needed to plan the building of the house of God nor did the people have to use their imagination to come up with fund raisers to gather enough to build it. God gave them everything: the plans, the layout, the gold, the silver and everything they would need to build it according to what God had said. Imagination would play no part in the glorifying of God through all they had given them to accomplish His will.

David also knew that the hearts of the people would be tested in God's giving them all they needed and they in turn giving it to David to build God's house. The sense of these verses is that they not even imagine that they had accomplished the building of the house through their own efforts, but to see the awesomeness of God in both preparing for its construction and the completed project. They were to be awed and their imagination quieted by the fact that God could provide what was probably a billion dollars of gold and other materials and to put these things in their hands to do this for Him. Who could even imagine that this people could perform such a task? All God asked of them was that they do it with a heart that was upright towards all He commanded concerning its construction, that they pass this test which Moses described in Deuteronomy 8:

10 When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

This takes us to verse 18, that the remembrance of these FACTS of how this house would come to be built so God could dwell in their midst was to guard their imaginations against self-exaltation concerning the things of God. No man's imagination could do any better than God has described in these verses, and yet this was only the shadow. The reality of the Son of God coming to tabernacle among us in the New Testament totally destroys anything man can imagine concerning God and His ways. Thus, David prayed,

18 O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

The sense of this verse is that by keeping the realities of God in the imginations, man would remember that they could not imagine anything greater than that which God had done.

[Continued in Part 2]

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