Friday, March 2, 2012

2 Chronicles 3 & 4 - Building Solomon's Temple

LINK: 2 Chronicles 3 & 4
Parallel passage: 1 Kings 6 & 7

BACKGROUND

In these chapters, the temple is built and furnished properly according to God's specifications. This temple was much grander than the simple tabernacle. It was rich and lavish, fitting the God who would manifest His presence there and built grand for a GRAND God! This grand size was able to hold the big crowds who would visit for the major feasts with the largest of these being the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover (2 Chronicles 30:13). The larger size could also accommodate the many priests and the equipment required for the many daily sacrifices (2 Chronicles 5:6). 

The temple was the best that humans could design. Their craftsmanship was an act of worship to the Lord. 

As mentioned in a previous post, this temple was built on Mount Moriah, which was north of the Jebusite city of Ophel. It was also the threshing floor of Araunah ("Ornan" in Hebrew). This is the place where the plague of punishment for David's census stopped in 1 Chronicles 21. In addition, it is the place where Abraham offered up Isaac to the Lord in obedience to God's command in Genesis 22. Today, it is the Temple Mount, it is occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock. Recent excavation suggests the temple may have been a bit north of the Dome of the Rock (Asher S. Kaufman, "Where the Ancient Temple of Jerusalem Stood, "Biblical Archaeology Review 9. March-April 1983, pp. 40-59).

This description of the temple construction is much less detailed than the one in 1 Kings 6, but this is probably because the people who returned after the exile were already familiar with the details of the temple. On the other hand, the details of the furnishings are much more detailed than in the 1 Kings account.

Also of note is the sea of cast metal (1 Kings 7:23, 39). This replaced the bronze basin of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:18).

REFLECTION (written in 2009)

Our church is building a new building. Building programs can sometimes make or break a church seeming too frivolous compared to Jesus' commission to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:18-20). I have tended to fall into the "too frivolous" camp but reading this account makes me realize that it is not wrong to want to build a place to glorify God. Even I have to agree that our current facility, that was fine for about 300 people, has been bulging at the seams with almost 750 men, women, and children attending every Sunday. Our "Forward in Faith Capital Campaign" has been so honoring to God. Our elders have been so prayerful and sensitive to the Spirit. It has been so wonderful to see people give in the spirit of 1 Chronicles 29. We had our first commitment Sunday after forty days of prayer, seeking God's face for how much he would have us give. It was all done without pressure or manipulation. It was just beautiful. I was particularly touched when the many youth in our church went forward to make their commitments and give. Our first Sunday nearly met the entire goal with more pledges coming in daily.

The construction will begin very soon, and I want to pray that God will build a place for His glory to dwell and for people to come to know Him and grow in Him for many years to come! I am so excited, and this is NOT like me to get excited over a building. So, we will keep on praying that He will continue to be glorified there!

APPLICATION

Are you using a part of your material blessing from God to bless someone else's life today? I want to grow in the area of giving in faith. How about you?

What about those of you with the gift of "Creative Craftsmanship"? Are you using this gift to glorify God?

PRAYER

Lord, You have blessed us abundantly. Praise You for Your abundant provision of our every need. We love You. Help us to grow in faith to give beyond what we believe humanly possible. You have blessed us to be a blessing to the world. Teach us and guide us for Your glory. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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