Part 1: The Realities Of God Versus Man's Imagination
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.
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.
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]