Monday, October 31, 2011

1 Kings 5 - 8 & Psalm 127 - Solomon Builds the Temple

LINKS:
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I am posting six days of reading in one post today because it deals with one topic: Solomon's Temple.

Day 1: 1 Kings 5
Day 2: 1 Kings 6
Day 3: Psalm 127 (The Lord builds the house!)
Day 4: 1 Kings 7
Day 5-6: 1 Kings 8



1 Kings 5-8, originally uploaded by carolfoasia.

BACKGROUND

David was a warrior and not a peacemaker. Consequently, God did not want him to build the temple. Solomon enjoyed peace from all his enemies and could now employ all his wisdom and energy toward managing this God-ordained, grand undertaking. 

A key verse in these chapters is, "I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God" (1 Kings 5:5). The Hebrew root of this word "intend" means to "make visible." He wanted to make what was just something in his father's mind a visible reality. The King James Version says "I purpose to build a house." I like that! 

So, with this life purpose, he gathered the finest material and conscripted laborers. Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites left Egypt, having built for Pharaohs who worshiped false Gods, Solomon started the project that would define his reign. The project took seven years and was completed in 959 B.C. It was beautiful on the outside with white limestone, cedar, and gold; much more elaborate than its predecessor: The tabernacle. For comparisons on the furnishings, you can look at our previous study of the tabernacle furnishings in Exodus 25 - 30. The furnishings for the temple were more elaborate, but the basic tabernacle was within the temple.

Here is a Jewish perspective on the Tabernacle and Temple:
The Tabernacle and the Temple are not two separate entities; in reality they are one and the same. This idea is emphasized even more emphatically by the commentators and scholars who point out that by comparison, the measurements of the Temple in Jerusalem reflect those of the Tabernacle. For example: the area of the Tabernacle was ten cubits by thirty; the Temple stood at twenty cubits by sixty. The idea is that although the Tabernacle's measurements were relatively small - small enough to enable it to travel conveniently through the desert - still, along general lines of comparison the two structures follow the same pattern of design. 
But once the Holy Temple was erected in its permanent, pre-designated location in Jerusalem, the era of the Tabernacle officially came to a close... and the Tabernacle, for all practice and purpose, became as ancient history for Israel. New factors came into being, which irrevocably altered the previous situation: The altar of the Temple was established on its designated spot, the place on which Isaac had been bound by his father Abraham. And the Sanctuary itself was erected on "shoulder" of Mount Moriah, in keeping with the verse "He shall dwell between his shoulders" (Deut. 33:12) This is the spot which had been chosen by God since the very beginning of time; it was David and Samuel who clarified that it was indeed this spot, the "threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite" (II Samuel 24:18) that God had chosen to rest His presence for all time. From the time that the first Holy Temple was built by King Solomon, there would be no going back to the Tabernacle. (http://www.templeinstitute.org/rebuild_the_tabernacle.htm)
It took Solomon thirteen years to build his palace. It took longer than the temple because it was one huge palace complex that housed several interconnected buildings that had civic functions. It included an armory (10:17; Isaiah 22:8) and barracks. It was 11,250 square feet compared to 2,700 square feet of the temple. It is thought to have been south of the temple but no archaeological evidence has been found.

In 1 Kings 8, the temple was dedicated during the Feast of Tabernacles which lasted eight days (September/October). In the case of the dedication of the temple, the celebration lasted for two weeks instead of just one. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says,"The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated Israel's years of wandering in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:33, 41-43). It was fitting that the temple should be dedicated at this feast since that permanent sanctuary now symbolized the end of Israel's wanderings" (1:505).

The final furnishing was the Ark of the Covenant, and when it was placed in the most holy place, the cloud filled the temple and represented the glory of God. This also happened at the tabernacle dedication (Exodus 40:34-35). The temple was not a "container" for God because God is everywhere, but it was a place where His presence and character would be evident.

At the conclusion of Solomon's prayer of dedication and the sacrifices, we learn in the parallel version of this story in 2 Chronicles 7 that the fire came down and consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices overwhelming the priests and sons of Israel so much so that they bowed down with their faces to the ground and worshiped and gave the Lord praise saying, "Truly He is good, truly His loving kindness is everlasting" (2 Chronicles 7:3).

REFLECTION

Solomon's passion/mission was building a house for God. I love his intentionality in fulfilling that passion too. Once his kingdom was unified, secure, strong, and prosperous, he went to work on it! He had to wait a bit though.

I have this passion, and I am in a position of great peace on every side. A few more things need to fall into place, but I feel like God is leading me toward the next step of building on that passion. Now, I just need to pray in the resources. I want to be intentional. These chapters were a great encouragement to me to "purpose" in my heart to do it!

APPLICATION

What is your passion? Do you feel God is calling you toward something, and you need to "purpose" in your heart to move forward?

If you do not know your passion in serving the Lord, here are some questions that might help you understand it:
1) If I could snap my fingers and know that I could not fail, what would I do? 
2) At the end of my life, I’d love to be able to look back and know that I’d done something about: 
3) If I were to mention your name to a group of your friends, what would they say you were really interested in or passionate about? (Reminder: Ask those closest to you what they would say.) 
4) What conversation would keep you talking late into the night?

5) At this point, if you are able to describe your Passion in a brief sentence, skip to Item 10 of this assessment. If you would like more clarification, consider the following statements: 
6) What I would most like to do for others is: 
    The people that I would like to help most are (children, women, singles, single moms, college, teens, etc.) . .
7) The issues or causes I feel most strongly about are . . . 
8) What are the top five most meaningful experiences in your life and why were they meaningful? 
Once you write them down, do you see a theme throughout the experiences? 
9) I think the area where I could make the most significant contribution is:
If you need more help in identifying your Passion, look for patterns in your answers. For example, can you see any themes? Does a particular age group keep coming up? Is there a need that keeps surfacing? Are you serving in a similar role in different areas?
Can you prioritize your concerns? 
10) Based on my answers to the above questions, I sense I have a Passion for:
(From the SHAPE Network) 
PRAYER - 1 Kings 8 

1 Kings 8:23-53 will definitely be a shot in the arm to your prayer life! "Sit and soak" in this prayer and pray through it and personalize it for yourself! Observe Solomon pour out his heart to God in worship and adoration and do the same. Observe how Solomon recalls God's covenant promises, recall all the times God has been faithful to you, and thank Him! The prayer is full of specific petitions which may not apply to you, but they follow a pattern involving prayer for:
1) God's presence and protection, 
2) Forgiveness of trespasses and sins, and 
3) Victory in battle
I encourage you to "pour out" specific petitions to the Lord. God hears and answers your prayer when they are consistent with His promises! So, claim His promises and proceed in prayer. "If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).

Pray with confidence, my friend!
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