1 Kings 7
I have to admit, I read this chapter and I wanted to pass it by as useless, even more so than a “begat list.” I could not see what a description of Solomon’s palace or the furnishings of The Temple could possibly teach me. And so I prayed, “Reveal yourself to me Lord. Reveal yourself in your word, please.”
After Solomon finished building the temple, he turned his attention to building his palace, his home, and the buildings that would make up his home. Solomon had a zeal for finery. He had made the Temple a majestic place and his home and palace were almost as majestic. He spared no expense on it. The buildings were huge, they were made of the best materials, they were beautiful, and they were made to be enjoyed. Verses 6-12 in The Message describe some of the buildings.
“He built a colonnaded courtyard seventy-five feet long and forty-five wide. It had a roofed porch at the front with ample eaves.
7 He built a court room, the Hall of Justice, where he would decide judicial matters, and paneled it with cedar.
8 He built his personal residence behind the Hall on a similar plan. Solomon also built another one just like it for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
9-12 No expense was spared—everything here, inside and out, from foundation to roof was constructed using high-quality stone, accurately cut and shaped and polished. The foundation stones were huge, ranging in size from twelve to fifteen feet, and of the very best quality. The finest stone was used above the foundation, shaped to size and trimmed with cedar. The courtyard was enclosed with a wall made of three layers of stone and topped with cedar timbers, just like the one in the porch of The Temple of God.”
God is not a mediocre god. He is Great, Perfect, and Awesome. He is lavish in all He does. Nothing He is, is halfway, only okay, or just alright. He is our All in All. Solomon built his home not for the temporary, but for an entire life, a life to be lived with joy, with worship, and with zeal. Our God is a God of joy. Psalm 16:11 says,
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
His houses were gorgeous but The Temple of the Lord was going to be exquisite. Solomon brought a man Hiram from Tyre to oversee all the work on the Temple. This was not the king who had delivered the timber, but a man considered to be full of wisdom and understanding the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali whose father had been a bronze worker. (Verses 13-14).
Every wall and pillar was decorated with intricate bronze work. Two pillars are described in verses 17-20.
“There were lattices of checker work with wreaths of chain work for the capitals on the tops of the pillars, a lattice for the one capital and a lattice for the other capital. 18 Likewise he made pomegranates in two rows around the one latticework to cover the capital that was on the top of the pillar, and he did the same with the other capital. 19 Now the capitals that were on the tops of the pillars in the vestibule were of lily-work, four cubits. 20 The capitals were on the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the latticework. There were two hundred pomegranates in two rows all around, and so with the other capital.”
The Tabernacle, the Temple and everything in it and about it has always represented Jesus Christ and the Salvation that can only come from Him. Solomon made additions to the Temple that the Tabernacle didn’t have and couldn’t accommodate. One of those improvements was the sea of cast metal. A large bronze pool where the priests could wash and perform cleansing rituals to replace the bronze laver that Moses had built for the Tabernacle. The laver had been big enough only to wash the priests’ hands and feet. But the sea was huge, fifteen feet across, seven and a half feet tall, and forty-five feet around and held about 11,500 gallons of water. It sat on top of twelve bronze oxen and was shaped like a cup.
What did it mean? It was certainly not only for washing feet and hands. It is a representation of the Red Sea where the Egyptian army was drowned. It is an illustration of The Holy Spirit, the rebirth of a soul, the cleansing transformation of Salvation. It is a picture of Jesus Christ, His redemptive blood, poured out for us. Solomon was not only a king, like his father David, he was a prophet.
But for the Vestibule and the Holy of Holies the work was even more superb. Solomon didn’t simply put the furnishings from the Tabernacle into the Temple, he made everything except the Ark and Mercy Seat new. Verses 48-50 read,
“So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of the Lord: the golden altar, the golden table for the bread of the Presence, 49 the lampstands of pure gold, five on the south side and five on the north, before the inner sanctuary; the flowers, the lamps, and the tongs, of gold; 50 the cups, snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold; and the sockets of gold, for the doors of the innermost part of the house, the Most Holy Place, and for the doors of the nave of the temple.”
The Tabernacle had been where God’s presence had rested and where the priests had performed the rites before. It was a tent, a temporary place that had done its job for over 450 years. But The Temple was better, it was meant to last. And it would, but not eternally. When Jesus came The Temple and the priestly duties were no longer necessary. In John 2:19-22 Jesus said,
“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
Jesus also foretold the destruction of The Temple. Mark 13:1-2 reads,
“And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
That happened in 70 A.D. the fulfilment of the prophecy and the end of the ability to accomplish the Levitical law in order to be cleansed from one’s sins. Now it is we who are the Holy Temple of God. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
When Solomon finally completed the Temple, he brought in all treasure that David had dedicated. Verse 51 reads,
“Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, the silver, the gold, and the vessels, and stored them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord.”
David wanted to build the Temple but God told him, no, he was not qualified and he had chosen Solomon for the job. Solomon was exactly the right one for it. But that didn’t mean that David didn’t prepare for the Temple. That didn’t mean he wasn’t just as excited about the mission as God was. It was God’s work and so David did his part, even when his part was not what he had hoped for.
We all have jobs assigned to us, and occasionally they are not the glorious ones we hoped for. Sometimes we are called to clean the toilet when we want to make eloquent speeches. Romans 12:4-5 reads,
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”
Believer, we are The Body of Christ and the Temple of God. He made us exquisitely. Imagine if a mere man could make such a glorious Temple, how splendid the temple created by The Lord God is. That is you! You are the marvelous temple of God created with lavish endowments for His service, joy, and eternity.