22 Solomon’s Temple

When David first became king, one of his greatest desires was to build a temple for the Lord. He had built himself a house and did not feel satisfied that the Ark of God was still abiding in a tent. However, when he decided to build a permanent resting place for the Ark God had said no to him because he was a man of war. But He also added to that a promise.

2 Samuel 7:12-13
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

  • God promised David that his son that would come after him would build the temple. That did not discourage David from helping and preparing as much as possible for Solomon to build the temple in the future. He gathered all the materials as much as he could, and even at the end of his reign, he appealed to the people again to bring more offerings for the future building of the temple and the people responded with a ready heart to give.

Now Solomon is king and he is ready to commence with the building of the temple.

  • 1 Kings 5:17-18
    17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. 18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.
  • They laid the foundation with costly stones. Quite the opposite of what we do today. Usually the foundation is the cheapest. It’s something that we walk on everyday. But not so with the temple of God. Hewed and costly stones were to be its foundation.
  • This was just the beginning of building this amazing edifice!
  • 1 Kings 6:7
    And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
  • The stones that were for the walls and the structure were all prepare beforehand so that not a single tool would be heard in the construction of the temple. Even the building of it was to be treated with utmost respect and sacredness.

What else did Solomon do?

  • 2 Chronicles 2:13-14
    13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s, 14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
  • He set a man named Huram over the manufacture of all the furnishings of the temple. Thousands were engaged with this sacred task. They would make all the furniture – the table of shewbread, the candlesticks, the altar of incense. All the holy furniture related to the sanctuary service. The details of all the furnishings can be read about in 1 Kings 7 and 2 Chronicles 2-3.
  • 2 Chronicles 4:19-20
    And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set; 20 Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold.
  • It was all made of pure gold. The best of all the materials was dedicated to be used for the building of the sanctuary.

How long was Solomon building the temple for?

  • 1 Kings 6:37-38
    37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif: 38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.
  • It took him seven years to build it. All the detail. All the handiwork. The craftsmanship was of the highest quality.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:11
    Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
  • It may have seemed that he went to such extravagance just to build the temple of God. Such a building probably had never been built before. Only the wisest man on earth could have thought of such amazing architecture that might not have an equal even till today.
  • You see, during Jesus’ day when He lived on earth, He frequently visited the temple. And there was a time that the disciples can to show Him the splendour of the temple. It was like their national icon.
  • Matthew 24:1
    And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
  • The disciples were bragging about it. But you see, this temple that they were so proud of was not Solomon’s temple. It was the temple that was rebuilt after Solomon’s temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians about 600 years before Jesus came to the earth.
  • This temple that the disciples were bragging about really was something to behold. They said that there was gold between the bricks. It was made of precious stones as well. They even said that they had gold vines that ran up the pillars and walls of the temple.
  • But look at how the people reacted when the foundation of this temple was laid.
  • Ezra 3:12
    But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy.
  • Many old men were weeping because it paled so much in comparison to the first temple that they remembered seeing (Solomon’s temple) before it was destroyed.
  • The wisdom that Solomon put into the architecture of this temple was second to none. No building on this earth would probably come close to rivaling it.

But even though it was so extravagant, there was one thing that was most needful. It needed the presence of God. Afterall, it was meant to be the dwelling place of God and not for man.

  • 1 Kings 8:26-27
    26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. 27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
  • Solomon recognized that no building on this earth could contain God. Not even the expanse of the heavens could.
  • Yet he begins to pray to God.
  • 1 Kings 8:28-29
    28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: 29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
  • He’s asking for God’s grace to be upon this place. For His watch care to be upon them and over them day and night.
  • And for the next 35 verses, Solomon is begging God to have His eye on them and on this sanctuary. That if He would dwell there, that if anyone would turn their face towards the temple and pray, that He would hear, that He would bless, that He would forgive, and that He would prosper.
  • And while he is beseeching God in prayer, his form is that of a humble servant.
  • 1 Kings 8:54
    And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
  • Solomon was kneeling down on his knees. He really wanted God’s presence above anything.
  • All the extravagance and the details in architecture would mean nothing if God did not hallow the place with His presence.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with looking at the outward appearance. Solomon built himself a very extravagant house to live in as well.

  • But more than anything, Solomon realized that what was the most important, what was his priority. It was the presence of God in his house, in the temple and in his life.
  • When a man looks at a woman and tells me that he doesn’t care about the outward, he is lying. They are not true to themselves. All of us look on the outward. There is always a physical attraction. But there must be the inward grace of Christ living in the heart as well that we must look for.
  • Even though the temple had gold everywhere and precious stones, Solomon did not forget the most important thing. He had done his very best to give God the best materials and house to live in, but then he got on his knees to beg God to grace them all with His presence. It was not beneath him to kneel and to beseech God. It was the only correct form.
  • And every day, we must learn to seek God on our knees as well. To seek for His presence to be in our lives, to dwell in our hearts.
  • If the king of Israel sought it with such humility, how much more should we who are nothing in comparison to the position that Solomon had as king, and even much smaller in comparison to him with the knowledge and wisdom that he had.

So how does God reply?

  • 1 Kings 9:1-3
    1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, 2 That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. 3 And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
  • God gives him the reassurance that he has heard his prayer and that he would hallow the temple with His presence.
  • However, God gives a warning, a condition of His presence to remain to prosper them and be with them=.
  • 1 Kings 9:4-9
    4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: 5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. 6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: 7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: 8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house? 9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
  • God asked them to continue to walk in the integrity of their heart, to keep all His commandments and all His statutes.
  • God did not grace the temple with His presence because it was of the finest gold, or because the most precious rubies were used or whatever precious stones were put on the walls or furnishings.
  • God did not grace them with His presence because it was of the finest architecture that man had ever seen.
  • God promised to be with them because they were faithful to Him. He was not impressed by anything on the earth in physical nature. He was not impressed with the materials that were used to build the temple. Afterall, He was the one that made all those materials that we regard as so precious. He cared more about the fabric of our hearts.
  • God also warned them what would happen if they were unfaithful as well. He would cut them off as a people. He would even cut off the house that Solomon had built.
  • They would become just a proverb, a good saying. They would become a byword to be made an example of.
  • And the fact that Solomon’s temple does not exist today, we can see that God holds true to what He says. Obviously the Israelites were not faithful.
  • But God made that promise to Solomon that He would be with him and dwell in that temple.

At the conclusion of the dedication service of the temple, what happened?

  • 2 Chronicles 5:13-14
    13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
  • God’s glory filled the house of God, the temple.
  • We have seen this before in the Bible.
  • Exodus 40:34-35
    34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
  • When Moses had finished erecting the first temple, the tent that would house all the sacred furniture and where the priests would perform their daily duties, God’s glory filled the temple as well. It was a symbol of His presence and that He had accepted what Moses had done.
  • And in a similar way, after the temple built by Solomon had been finished and the dedication service completed, God’s glory also filled it to signify that what Solomon had built was approved by God and that his prayer was heard.

Today, we are called the temple of God that God desires to live in.

1 Corinthians 3:17
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

God wants to dwell with us and dwell in us. God’s glory should fill each and every one of our lives. What is that glory? It is the character of God (Exodus 33:18-19).

There is no surer way of knowing that God’s presence is with us than when we look at our own characters, the change in our lives. How we treat people. How we live. Our thoughts and feelings. This is the evidence that we are the living temples of God.

It is not the outward show. It is not about how we dress or how we adorn ourselves. It is the inward man, the inward adorning, that God cares about. It is only our characters that we can take with us to heaven. So let us prioritise the inner man and woman today. Let us make sure that Christ is living in each of our lives today.

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