Incase you missed Midweek Bible Study – Here is a breakdown for you!
1 Kings 5-6
Already heading into this week’s reading we know a couple of things: first, that Solomon is the son of David who was an amazing king of Israel (although broken himself) and united God’s people. His leadership skills are famous. God promised David that his son, Solomon, would become king and build The Temple that Israel (God’s people) waited on for centuries. “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt… he began to build the temple of the Lord” (1 Kings 6:1). That’s a long time. Unfortunately, shortly after building this temple, Solomon’s moral compass disintegrates and so does the rest of the story for Israel. No king lives up to David’s reputation, and Israel kind of falls apart. But let’s see what God wants to teach us through Solomon’s strengths for now.
These chapters are super dense. If you are interested in architecture or interior design or if you love houses or contracting or building anything of any kind you will probably love all of this. The Temple is where we really see how the artistic gifts behind those areas really shine and glorify God in incredible ways. If that’s not you, these chapters will feel very detail heavy. But it’s okay, we’re in this together and studying the Old Testament is cool. Who doesn’t want to know random stuff about the Bible and God? The best part is it ALL connects and adds up to the story of His love that God is revealing throughout history and in your individual story today. Every little detail of your life matters and has significance, and every little detail of The Temple does too.
The Presence of God
Why is this huge elaborate building so important? Solomon “had spent seven years building it” (1 Kings 6:38). And if my numbers are correct, 183,300 men worked on this project (1 Kings 5:13-16). Another area of scripture where we see A TON of detail on a building project is The Tabernacle in the second half of Exodus. But I actually want to rewind to Genesis for a second to really grasp what’s happening in The Tabernacle and The Temple. We know how this goes. IN THE BEGINNING, there was The Garden, and Adam and Eve had a close relationship with God. They rebelled, and that access to God’s presence was lost. Fast forward a few generations, and God promises Abraham that he would use him and his lineage to restore access to God. Fast forward again to Exodus chapter 19. This is the set up to The Tabernacle project. God wants to be with His people while they are wandering in the desert with Moses, but they won’t go up to Mount Sinai because His presence manifested itself in a storm cloud that scared them. So He decides to come to them, as He always does. And He gives Moses the plans to The Tabernacle (huge, intricate tent) so that He can dwell among them. Once they finally come into the Promise Land, the work for the more permanent Temple begins through King Solomon. The building plans for The Tabernacle in Exodus are roughly 7 chapters, while The Temple in 1 Kings is only about 3 chapters total. But we can see in this very general overview of dwelling places that all of this points back to God wanting to restore relationship with the Israelites, restore access to His presence, and reside among His people.
The Garden and The Temple
In both The Tabernacle and The Temple, God calls for imagery relating to and reminding the Israelites of The Garden, the original, perfect dwelling place between God and His people. This was where Heaven and Earth met. In the middle of the building project for The Temple “the word of the Lord came to Solomon” (1 Kings 6:11-13), and He reminds Solomon of His promise to “live among the Israelites and not abandon His people.” It is after this reminder that we start truly seeing The Garden imagery go up (1 Kings 6:15-36). These parallels are powerful because with each one, it is impressed upon us how badly God wants to be back in The Garden with us.
Similarities between The Garden and The Temple:
|The Garden||The Temple|
|Natural Life Imagery||“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9)||“Carved with gourds and open flowers” (1 Kings 6:18)All kinds of trees:“Palm trees (1 Kings 6:29)“Cedar boards” (1 Kings 6:15)“Planks of juniper” (1 Kings 6:15)“Olive wood” (1 Kings 6:32)|
|Gold||“A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold” (Genesis 2:10-12)||“He overlaid the inside with pure gold.” (1 Kings 6:20)|
|Cherubim**||“After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24)||“He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out.” (1 Kings 6:27)|
** Cherubim were hybrid creatures of a variety of animals that look a little different each time they appear in the Bible. They represent the spiritual guards over God’s presence, or between Heaven and Earth. They’re honestly kind of sick.
1 Corinthians 3:16
So what now? What comes next? Where does God dwell now? Well, since Jesus has died, resurrected, and sent us the Holy Spirit, WE are the temple. You and I! These bodies that we’ve been given. We are the works of art, the broken, beautiful masterpieces that God has chosen as the home for His Spirit. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” This is amazing! Look at how much work it took to be with God, how much time and money and effort and resources went into making places worthy of God’s presence. Now, thanks to JESUS, we are made worthy to be that temple and have access to God the very second we have faith and trust in Him. Gosh, how lightly have I taken this?? These previous dwelling places show us the extent to which God has gone in the past to connect with His people. When I look at all the detail and intricacies of The Garden and The Tabernacle and The Temple, I am reminded of how much care God gives to the new temple, us as Christ’s body, the Church… the new chosen host of the Holy God. This is what Jesus was talking about when he says “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). We are that raised temple. “We are an altar of broken stones, but You delight in the offering. You have the heavens to call Your home, but You abide in the song we sing.” Thank you God. For allowing us to be Your temple, breaking the barrier between Heaven and Earth, and coming down to abide in US. You have built in us all that is needed to meet with You. Thank you for teaching us through the Scriptures what an incredibly huge deal this is. Hallelujah here below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp_bI6Q_tsA