What Made Solomon’s Temple God’s Temple?

1 Kings 5-6 in the Bible are dedicated to a description of Solomon building the temple.  The Jewish temple – more than that…“God’s temple!”  It was beautifully furnished and lavishly prepared – read the description of it in these two chapters.  But it certainly was not a place where all of Israel could gather for worship at one time – not what we think of as a “house of worship” (it wasn’t large enough for that, being only about 90 feet long and 30 feet wide).  It was rather a place for sacrifice and a place where the Living God manifested His presence among His people.

Now there is a very important lesson to be learned from that fact, it seems to me!  We build “houses of worship” – buildings dedicated to religious purposes.  In some cases we even have the audacity to call them “temples!”  It seems to me, however, if the presence of the Living God is not manifest in them – if He is not present in a very real way – if God’s presence is not sensed in those structures, they are simply “bricks and mortar” – simply another building.

It’s interesting to me that embedded in the very middle of the description of the temple’s construction in 1 Kings 5-6 you have this very significant brief paragraph…

“Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, ‘Concerning this house that you are building… If you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I  spoke to David your father.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel!’” (1 Kings 6:11-13)

Did you pick up on it?  What made the “temple” that Solomon was building a “Temple”?  The Presence of the Living God!  And what brought the Presence of God?  The obedient, devoted lifestyle of God’s people!

Listen, when we gather together for worship… wherever that may be, I want the Presence of the Living God to be manifest – to be present – to be sensed… Don’t you?!  Oh may we live in such a way that these two New Testament verses can be fulfilled among us…

“For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them!” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 18:20)

And then these words of Apostle Paul to a bunch of Gentile believers… “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord!  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit!”  (Ephesians 2:19–22)

O God, may it be so… may it be so!!

Dealing With Isolation…

During COVID-19 with its quarantines, hospitalizations and shutdowns we have become all too aware of the painful impact emotionally, socially and spiritually of “isolation!”  Loneliness has been rampant, people have struggled with depression, things like the abuse of alcohol and drugs have skyrocketed, and suicide has increased.  We have discovered that “isolation” is nothing to ignore!

One of the great benefits of “a loving church family” is that it serves as an antidote to isolation… And if “brothers and sisters in Christ” are not fulfilling that function, something is seriously wrong with that church family – they are, in fact, dysfunctional and not proving themselves to be the “Body of Christ” – “His hands, His feet, His voice, and His healing presence in the power of the Holy Spirit!”

During my time of “coffee with the Lord” this week I discovered Apostle Paul himself suffered with “isolation” – and it was painful!  I read about it in 2 Timothy and you can almost hear the pain in his voice as he speaks about it in chapters 1 and 4…

“All who are in Asia turned away from, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes… Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica, Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia… Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  Beware of him for he strongly opposed our message.  At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted.  May it not be charged against them!” … ISOLATION!

But there were those who reached out to Paul and minister to him as he struggled with a sense of rejection, abandonment and isolation… Bless them!  (And bless all those who reach out to those in the family of God to assuage and heal feelings of isolation!)  Listen again to Paul…

“The household of Onesiphorus often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains!  When he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me… you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus! … Luke alone is with me.  Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me!  When you come bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also  the books, and above all the parchments.”

What comfort, what blessing, what companionship, what healing help these individuals were during Paul’s experience of ISOLATION!  They were extensions of the Lord’s love, favor, help and healing!

But even more important than them and their loving ministry was the Lord – “Immanuel – God with us” – the One who promised “never to leave us or forsake us!”  Hear Paul’s final word on the matter…

“But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me! … I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom!  To Him be the glory forever and ever!  Amen!”

(Scripture quotations from 2 Timothy 1:15-18 and 4:9-18 ESV)

Oh with God’s help, and as a member of “the Family of God” and “the Body of Christ” I want to do my part to help end the devastating impact of “ISOLATION” among fellow Christians and my “neighbors!”  Don’t you?

Leadership Lesson (No… “LIFE Lessons”) From Solomon

A leadership lesson from my Bible reading this morning… No, more than that – a “LIFE LESSON!”

From Solomon’s encounter with God…

  • God honors humility with His favor…
  • An appeal for guidance with wisdom…
  • Plus a great deal more than what was requested or expected!

Here it is… Read it for yourself!

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?’

“It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.’

And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream.”  (From 1 Kings 3:5–15 ESV)

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