Today’s guest post is from Solomon Levine, a dear brother living in Jerusalem. He and his wife recently starting blogging over at findingbethany.org, and we encourage you to check it out. Thank you, brother, Solomon for your contribution not only to this blog, but to the Lord and His Kingdom!
First of all I want to say that I am immensely honored that my brother R.C would invite me to contribute to 3rdrace.org. He and his wife and family carry such a heart for Christ and His House, and this blog is a wonderful expression of their true devotion to the King.
My name is Solomon Levine. I am 36 years old, and with my wife Jen and our son Isaiah we have been called to stand for The Messiah and His glorious House here in Jerusalem, Israel. I have lived most of my believing life side by side with other committed and called out brothers and sisters, knowing and growing in Jesus as a vibrant community that has returned to the essence of what this is all about, as it was in the beginning.
The Parable of the Quarry
There is place here in Jerusalem that holds much significance, and just about four years ago, I was blessed to discover its existence as I was leaving the Garden Tomb in East Jerusalem with a friend. It is a huge cave that stretches out 5 acres wide, called Solomon’s Quarry. This very quarry is believed to be the very site where the stones were prepared for the House of God as it speaks of in 1 Kings 6:7. Walking in the very site where the stones were prepared was special for me. The physical site in the Jerusalem below is in actual fact pointing to the heavenly reality of the Jerusalem above. In this dark five acre cave is a story that communicates the way of the Lord and how He builds us together as His eternal resting place.
“The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.’
-1 Kings 6:7
You and I were born into sin, slaves in the kingdom of darkness, yet in-spite of this darkness that we were trapped in, God’s great and perfect love made a way to free us forever. The Son, our Christ, our Messiah, has freed us by His shed blood on the cross. “For we must never forget that he rescued us from the kingdom of darkness, and planted us in the kingdom of his beloved Son.” That dark kingdom that once ruled and lived within our hearts has been done away with, and now our hearts are filled with the very light and life of Christ Himself. The parable and the mystery behind the quarry is that we are those stones that were once living in darkness, ‘but God.. being so very rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, even when we were dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us alive together with Christ.’ -Ephesians 2:4,5a
God saved us in Christ, yet beyond the door of salvation is a deeper reality and purpose of God that is so beautiful and so grand that if the eyes of our hearts truly comprehended even just a tiny portion of God’s eternal plan, our lives would forever be changed. Our little lives would be shifted away from our tiny little worlds and brought in into His world, our hearts would bow down in awe filled trembling and holy worship to the King of Glory.
The good news is that we are the real stones that this parable points to. God in His Word speaks of us as living stones, stones that are being build together in Christ and for Christ, as His resting place, His Home within and among us…forever. -see Ephesians 2:20-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-5
“Stones prepared at the quarry.”
With any earthly architect you see the building is an expression of his or her personality and mind. The building comes forth out of the builder, as an expression of himself, so it is with Christ. His eternal purpose and goal is to have an expression of Himself, an eternal house of love. This is the only place God will ever be at rest. How does He accomplish such an impossible work, such a divine building? He does so in the quarry, in the cave of this life. What does the stones prepared at the quarry speak of? This dark cave was the place where the workers would use sharp blades and hammers to hew each stone so that each one would be made perfect with a destiny to become a building block that makes up the very House of God, filled with His glory: Many stones fitly framed, to become One. There is a transforming work that God has predestined us for, a work of the quarry, a chiseling and chipping away of our self life, of our pride, and of all those things that can’t and won’t end up in the eternal House. A chiseling by and through the hand of the Spirit of God and the discipline of the Father. This breaking off of the old is revealing only that which is of Christ, our true identity, where love is being formed in you and me. It was said that the famous Italian artist, Michelangelo, was asked once about the trials that he must have encountered in sculpting his masterpiece, David. His response is a perfect example of the heart of God, He said, “You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.” That’s what God is doing in the quarry of our lives, chipping away the extra stone that doesn’t look like Jesus, so that we might fit perfectly into the House. This House of God that we are and that we will be is glorious, it’s glorious because it expresses and will express the fullness of the Son, eternally. And so when the blade of suffering comes into ones life it is only for a purpose of complete transformation. We need not run from the cross, nor from trial, these are the tools of the Master Builder that chip away all that is not of Christ, not of love. Is the true Church the quarry or the house? I would humbly say, ‘Yes.’ The true life of the Church, church life is both the place of preparation and the house of God all at the same time. The Church gives expression to the Son. She brings heaven down to earth. Her walls are also the place of preparation where we are learning the cross and the words of Jesus are taking up real meaning, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”
The constructing of the world’s houses is a noisy thing, and so often a time God’s people think and act and build like that of the world. But in actual fact, the more clamor they make using their own hands and own tools the further they stray away from being and becoming a true House for God. The words of John speak deeper than ever in these last days of noise and clamor, “May He increase and I decrease.”
“and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.”
The parable closes with a stillness in knowing He is God, a rest and sure serenity as the Master gathers the now transformed stones to build them up as His Home. What joy fills the heart of Jesus as He builds us together as His dwelling, knowing that, in this home, will come rest, will come family that gives expression to love. This building of Christ is not loud nor outward. As an artist creates his masterpiece in perfect rest and stillness, so God is creating his masterpiece ever so quietly. Often this true house, this grand masterpiece is overlooked and disregarded by the many, even among other Christians. This is God’s way to perfection, in the secret place, to fully form us into a perfect expression of His Son and His Home forever.
Your brother in Messiah’s love,
writing you from my home in Jerusalem, Israel.