“The Old Standard”
God never accepts
man’s innovations for
His building work;
He will only carry it out
according to His
Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for building the house of God. The length in cubits, according to the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the width twenty cubits.
– 2 Chronicles 3:3
When I first noticed this verse years ago, it was a tremendous help and encouragement to me. The key statement is only a small detail within the verse, but it means a great deal.
In 2005 the churches I was meeting with were going through a great turmoil, which would ultimately result in a needless division among them. Without going into the details, the problem was that many of the churches, including my own, were in the process of forsaking their original standing for the testimony of Christ, to stand instead for a particular ministry. (If you care to, you can read about it in my book,.)
This of course was quite distressing and discouraging to me, as church splits always are to those involved in them.
And then I saw this verse.
I will always remember it. That summer the church had an outreach booth I was responsible for at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois. It was a very good opportunity to share the gospel, but sometimes there weren’t too many people around. So, during one quiet period I took the chance to do some Bible reading, and that’s when I saw this verse and what it is saying; I was so uplifted by it I just about wanted to shout it out.
Specifically, this verse tells us that Solomon built the temple, giving certain measurements in cubits, and then adds that these measurements are
…according to the old standard.
— NASB, ESV
Other versions translate this as “the former standard” (RcV), “the former measure” (NKJV, YLT), or “the first measure” (KJV, ASV, Darby).
But however you translate it, the point is, someone had changed the standard for God’s building work. This change may have taken place before the building work began, or after it was done but before the account of it was written down. In any event, it is clear that Solomon did not use the new standard; rather, he built the temple according to “the former standard,” “the former measure,” “the first measure.”
And this small detail shows us a great principle. That is, while men may change their standard for the divine building work, God never does; praise Him! He will complete His building work, and will only do it according to “the former standard,” “the first measure,” “the old standard” of His original plan. He will never accept man’s innovations, regardless of how impossible the situation may seem.
Many today feel we can no longer follow the New Testament pattern for the building up of the Body of Christ in the local churches; we must now take a different way, something which (they say) will give us a chance to reach the people of our time. But God never has, and never will, change His standard to do His building work. May we thus reject man’s innovations and build instead according to “the old standard” as revealed in the New Testament, which is God’s unique, divine standard for His building, the church as the Body of Christ, His dwelling place on the earth today!
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— 6 January 2024 —