1 Kings 7:1-51
Solomon spent 7 years building the Temple of the LORD, but he spent 13 years building his own house (1 Kings 6:38; 7:1). I’m not sure if that’s a random statement or if it carries any implications. Does that mean Solomon worked harder on the Temple to make sure it was done in a timely fashion? Or does that mean that Solomon’s home was more important to him based upon the time he spent on it? I’m not sure, but I do know that although Solomon did a lot of building (other structures are mentioned as well) there was tons of money spent on the Temple and we have many details provided about it and its furnishings.
When the Bible describes the skilled craftsmen named Huram (not to be confused with the king Hiram) we see that he was a man filled with wisdom and understanding and skilled in all kinds of bronze work. Haven’t you been blessed with the diversity of gifts that different men and women contribute to the church? It reminds me of the passage in Ephesians 4:11-12. Huram specialized in Bronze.
Although we have other “metals” mentioned in the construction of the Temple, bronze is the emphasis in this section.
The two pillars were made of bronze, they were 27-feet tall, named Jachin, meaning, “He will establish,” and Boaz, meaning, “In Him is strength.”
We then have the bronze laver (called a Sea because of the water) 15 feet in diameter, 7 1/2 feet high, some estimate it was able to hold up to 12,000 gallons of water (1 Kings 7:26). It stood on 12 bronze oxen, each facing outward. We then read of the 10 bronze carts and lavers with bronze wheels. The word bronze is found twelve times in this chapter! Why the emphasis on the bronze? As a matter of fact, notice what we read in:
1 Kings 7:47 (NKJV) “And Solomon did not weigh all the articles, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.”
Pastor Chuck Smith offers some insight, “In the Scriptures, gold is always symbolic of heaven (or deity), silver of redemption, and brass (bronze) symbolic of judgment.”
What we see in this section of Scripture is that the judgment we deserve, symbolized by the bronze, cannot be calculated. Yes, the Temple was a place to seek the the LORD, to meet with God, to learn and fellowship together, but that was only possible because of the judgment Jesus bore on our behalf. It’s more than we can ever imagine, something we will never understand or be able to calculate. “I’ll never know how much it cost, to bear my sin upon that cross.” It’s true. And so we read in:
Numbers 21:9 (NKJV) “So Moses made a BRONZE serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
This “bronze” serpent was symbolic of Jesus, who said in;
John 3:14 (NKJV) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
It was a picture of Jesus. When we look to Him with eyes of faith we will be saved (Isaiah 45:22).
Here’s a glimpse of the Temple Solomon built for the LORD from the ESV Study Bible Notes.
Stephen is giving the Jewish leaders and “judges” a glimpse of the history of Israel and the way they had a tendency to be stubborn and rebellious. They had rejected the deliverers God sent their way.
God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and sent him to Egypt to set Israel free, this was the same one they rejected as deliver 40 years earlier.
The second time around they followed Moses but the people weren’t exactly a compliant congregation. It didn’t take long for them to make themselves gods, to worship idols, and in their hearts, turn back to Egypt (symbolic of the world).
Stephen quotes from Amos 5:25-27 as a testimony of Israel’s idolatry – even as God was leading and sustaining them in the wilderness!
Stephen brings up the Tabernacle, and swiftly travels from Joshua, to David, and eventually to Solomon, because he wants to touch on the Temple. The Jewish leaders had come to a place of trusting in the Temple, or glorying in the Temple rather than God. It’s possible (and actually common) to have a Temple of God, without God, to have a beautiful church building without the Head of the church. I understand that we need to maintain our buildings, and appreciate God’s provision, but we must also be careful to remember the words of Stephen who quoted from Isaiah 66:1-2:
Acts 7:49–50 (NKJV) “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest? 50 has My hand not made all these things?”
Again, the words of Pastor Sandy Adams give insight to Stephen’s speech, “He retraces Jewish history demonstrating how God was always up to something new, yet each fresh initiative was met with Jewish resistance. Call his sermon a panoramic view of a people’s stubbornness.”
A frequent and repeated truth we read in the Bible is the blessings and benefits of fearing the LORD. The fear of the LORD speaks of a healthy reverence and awe of who He is, and yes, the fact that He does discipline His children, and judge non-believers.
Life is deeply beautiful for the obedient believer. We’ll work hard and God will provide everything we need; we’ll know, it’s from God.
We’ll prioritize our family, if we fear the LORD, and the general principle is that God will bless us with children, and even grandchildren. When the children are described as olive plants all around our table, it speaks of the fact that our children will be helpers, productive, and even valuable (olives and the oil they produced was valued).
When we fear the LORD we can truly enjoy His blessings each and every day.
Psalm 128:5 (NKJV) “The LORD bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”
When a nation fears God, she will experience peace (Psalm 128:6)
V. 31 – There should be a respect for our elders usually identified by their gray hair, which the Bible calls a “crown of glory.”
Our hope is that when a person gets older they will grow wise. IF you’ve learned the Word of God, IF you’ve learned those lessons, IF you’ve learned from the mistakes of others, IF we’ve learned from our own many, many mistakes. It takes time, and we usually have to go through it, in order to grow through it, but our prayer is that the years brings wisdom.
But not everyone learns those lessons in life…let’s do our best to age well, spiritually, and not just physically.
Psalms 92:12-14 (NKJV) “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”
V. 32 – To be “slow to anger” is also seen in Proverbs 15:18 and 19:11 this is of epic importance – but extremely difficult for most of us.
According to this Proverb, it’s easier to conquer a city than it is to conquer yourself! To be slow to anger is one indication of self conquering/control…and this is how God is with us, slow to anger.
Psalms 145:8 (NKJV) “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”
If this is how God is with us, shouldn’t we be that way with each other?
V. 33 – In Old Testament days lots were one of the ways the people determined the will of the Lord, this was a way of God leading, and revealing things. The God of the universe was involved even in the casting of lots, when it was done with the right intention.
Once the Holy Spirit arrived on planet earth, we no longer see God’s people casting lots. We now have the Spirit of God who uses the Word of God to lead the people of God.
We’re not sure on the exact nature of the lots. For more information on this check out the article at Got Questions (https://www.gotquestions.org/casting-lots.html)
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.