God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June 11 - 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3: Solomon Builds a Temple in Honor of God

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3

The Message

English Standard Version

Today's reading has a lot of technical details. However, I do not want you to miss these, since they include the details of how the Temple of God was built by Solomon. If you get bogged down in the details remember there will not be a test at the end of the post.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God would reside with the Israelites if they obeyed Him, not if they built Him a lavish house.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Solomon enjoyed peace.
He sent letters to Hiram, king of Tyre, requesting materials and skilled labor to build a magnificent temple to honor God, since God is magnificent. Hiram praised Solomon for his wisdom and sent the needed materials along with Huram-Abi, a highly-skilled man, to supervise. Solomon sent grain and olive oil to Hiram as payment.
Thousands of Israelites readied raw materials. The materials were cut to spec offsite to reverence the site. The work took seven years.
During construction God came to Solomon and gave a covenant that if Israel obeyed God He would live with them.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The Temple honored God's name because God's name is greater than all other gods.

This distinction is important for that time period. Temples were meant to be places where the gods literally lived; however, the Temple Solomon built was meant to honor God or be in God's name. Solomon is adamant about this:
The house I am building has to be the best, for our God is the best, far better than competing gods. But who is capable of building such a structure? Why, the skies - the entire cosmos! - can't begin to contain him. And me, who am I to think I can build a house adequate for God - burning incense to him is about all I'm good for! (2 Chronicles 2:5-6, The Message)
He understood the enormity of his task and asked for Hiram's help. Hiram previously helped David build his house, so Solomon calls on their old family friend to help. God deserved a place to honor His Name because God is greater than all other gods!

Hiram, a non-Israelite, honored God because Solomon honored God.

We have seen non-Israelites honor God in the past. Hiram saw Solomon's wisdom and knew the source—the God of Israel. His reply summarized in 2 Chronicles 2:11, "It's plain that God loves his people - he made you king over them!" provides an excellent example of how people who are not God's Chosen People can understand and honor God when His Chosen People honor Him. When God's Chosen People honor God the whole world will notice.

The importance of the Temple was not its structure but its symbolism.

God comes to Solomon and tells him that the importance of the Temple did not lie in its existence, beauty, or intricate design. The importance of the Temple was the sign that God lived with His Chosen People when they obeyed Him. A temple without obedience would be no help to Israel (as we will see in the months ahead). God would reside with Israel because they loved Him, not because they built a lavish house for Him.
Our temple today, our bodies, should also mirror that sentiment. If we set things right on this earth God will resides in our temples, our bodies. God will not reside with us if our bodies are not used to set things right, no matter how beautiful, strong, or adorned it may be.

Do you set things right on the earth with your temple?

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