Spiritual Rants: June 10 “I’ve Found A New Place To Dwell” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Kings 7:1-51 Acts 7:30-50 Psalm 128:1-6 Proverbs 16:31-33

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Old Testament: 1 Kings 7:1-51

Even though it was twice as large in space, Solomon built the Temple smaller than his own place.

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1 Kings 7:1-12  Solomon’s Place 

See what I mean about Solomon being a spoiled king’s kid?  He took thirteen years to build his own house.   That was almost twice as long as it took to build the Temple.  It was 166 ft. long by 83 ft. wide and 12 ft. tall.  That’s 13,778 sq. feet.  That’s about half a football field long which was was about five times larger than the Temple!  It was made mostly of cedar wood and costly stones.  It was all very ornate.  We said yesterday he had rocks in his head.  It was all fitting the lavish times and Solomon’s rule of peace.

1 Kings 7:13-51  Hiring Hiram

Hiram, not the king, was a a bronze expert.  He came to help from Tyre.  You can read about the two pillars he made.  They were so cool that they actually gave them names.  One was called Jachin which meant “he shall establish” (v. 21b).  The other was called Boaz which meant “strength” (v. 21c).  McGee sees these as symbolizing beauty and strength.  McGee says that strength speaks of our salvation and beauty of holiness.  We need both in the Christian life.  This may be the same as saying that we need to be justified, established, and lead a beautiful life submitted to the Lord of holiness.

Hiram also made the sea, the ten stands of bronze, and ten basins.   The “sea” replaced the smaller laver in the Tabernacle court and could hold 17,000 gallons of water (Weirsbe).

Solomon had all the furniture in the Temple and all the furnishings made of pure gold (v. 49).  Even the hinges of the doors were gold.  When they were all finished, he had everything put in storage.

New Testament: Acts 7:30-50

The assembly in the wilderness was the “ecclesia,” remember that lest you have amnesia.

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Acts 7:30-50  I’ve Found A New Place To Dwell

Stephen continues the story of rebellious Israel before the Jewish council.  He told them the story of how they had rejected Moses despite that fact that Moses was God’s chosen person for that time.

Note that the word “ecclesia” is properly translated in the NASB (“congregation”), NIV (“assembly”) and most other translations.  There was not a church in the wilderness (v. 38) as indicated by the KJV.  The church began on Pentecost as we saw in Acts 2.

Stephen quotes Isaiah 66:1-2 to show that Yahweh never dwelled in a physical habitation, Tabernacle or Temple.  Solomon had said the same thing in 1 Kings 8:27. Those were only the places where God and man came together.  God now dwells within us! (1 Cor. 6:19; also in the church, cf. 1 Cor. 3:16).

Of course, all the Jewish religious leaders just thanked Stephen and sent him on his way.  Well, maybe not.  Tune in again tomorrow.

Psalm 128:1-6   A Wisdom Psalm By Anonymous

You might want a wife whose shape is an hourglass, but better to be a fruitful vine and have a lot of class.

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Psalm 128:1-6  Family Ties

Psalm 128 is a psalm about the family.  Imagine all the families walking together to the Feasts in Jerusalem and reciting Psalms 120-134.  Since they are all traveling toward Jerusalem, they would all be believers, at least collectively in a general sense.  And, therefore, they would be blessed (v. 1).

Today there are many distractions away from the things of the Lord.  Years ago, when I first moved to Indianapolis to go to college, there were “blue laws.”  No one could buy anything on Sundays until after church hours.  Liquor sales are still prohibited to a certain extent in many states on Sunday.  I remember years ago being surprised that high school hockey practices were being held on Sunday mornings.  The reason was, supposedly, because the rinks were not accessible at other times during the week.  Now there are soccer and tennis practices on Sunday mornings.  High School band practices also eat up a lot of the week and competitions last well into the night on Saturdays giving an excuse to skip church the next day.  Things have certainly changed from the times of the Jewish feasts.

Perhaps, this all explains the breakdown of the families as the church loses its influence.  In Old Testament times, material blessing was promised to families who obeyed the Lord’s commands (v. 2, cf. Deut. 28).

When I was raised, moms still stayed at home for the most part.  The economy has squeezed many mothers out of the home, forcing them to work to supplement their husbands’ wages.  I can’t remember my parents ever paying extra fees for school.  The only extra expense I remember was a good grade clarinet demanded for our excellent band program.  Now there are book fees, marching band fees, pep band fees, jazz band fees, and I’m sure the athletes’ parents and special clubs also demand extra exorbitant fees.  In my day, the band directors gave private lessons to all the band students.  Now extracurricular lessons are demanded at high prices.  And on top of all that, our city just passed an amendment to raise taxes to give the schools even more money.  All that to have kids taught the stupidity of evolution and other useless information.  The result is that kids are scoring lower on any tests that reflect their amount of learning.

It is all part of the world-system, Satan’s plan to destroy the family.  The other alternative would be to send kids to so-called Christian schools, which from my observation do not teach much more true Christianity than do the secular schools.  Or there is home schooling.

A wife should be supportive of her husband (v. 3, cf. Eph. 5:22).  The Women’s lib movement has so infiltrated the family that their tenants are often assumed without any critical evaluation. Yes, I meant the christian family.

When a wife is truly supportive of her husband, the children in the family will be like healthy olive plants sitting around the table at meals (v. 3).  Olive plants were ever green and ever productive.  A person who feared and revered the Lord was blessed by many children and grandchildren (v. 4).

Just transporting the entire family from the far corners of Israel to Jerusalem showed respect for the Lord (v. 5).  Such families were blessed by prosperity throughout their lifetimes.  How many families attend church nowadays?

My father-in-law recently passed to be with the Lord.  His legacy was a number of believing children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who all attended his funeral to show their respects.  The blessing of this psalm still lives (v. 6)!

Proverbs 16:31-33   A Lot Of Trouble

You must be wise as well as restrained, then a hoary head will be gained.

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I like the King James version of verse 31.  It says that “the hoary head is a crown of glory.”  I like that.  A “hoary” head.  Hoary is an old fashioned word that was generally associated with frost and sometimes to snow.  It means “white.”  We despise white or gray haired people today.  They are not young and alive!   Whoopee.  I dye my hair because I am very immature for my age.

One of the main quality of leaders is that they control their anger.  Many do not.  I’m amazed to hear stories of pastors of large churches and politicians who have lost their temper.  Many do.  I know I lost my temper three times while pastoring a country church.  I think it was justified those times but I always tried to set an example to others and reflect the Lord’s character.  He lost His temple a few times.  Ephesians 4:26 doesn’t say we can never get angry but it shouldn’t happen very often.  If we get angry, we are not allowed to sin.  That means our anger can only be of the righteous variety (v. 32, cf. James 1:19).

A “lot” was like an “eight ball.”  You know, those things that look like a small, black, bowling ball and you shake it and some fortune cookie like message floats to the top that you can read?  Or you could compare a lot to dice.  They were thrown to determine things like allotment of land, punishment for crimes, ascertaining guilty people, assignment of animals for sacrifice.

It would be like flipping a coin to determine God’s will.  But remember the theme of the Bible is “rebellion against God leads to death, a relationship with God leads to life.”  So while casting lots may have been acceptable in OT times, in NT times more is expected of us.  After all, we have the Holy Spirit living in us now to guide us (cf. Rom. 8:14)!  Casting lots now could get you in a “lot” of trouble!  (Get it?  “Lot” of trouble?)

People in the OT may have relied on lots to determine God’s will or a god’s will but it is not acceptable today.  J. Vernon McGee has written verse 33 over the top of his copy of the book of Esther.  Haman, whom I have dubbed Hangman for obvious reasons, cast lots to determine the day he would have set for the destruction of all the Jews.  Read the book of Esther.  Things weren’t hanging right for ole Haman.  McGee goes on to say, “the dice of the gods are loaded.”

God always has the last say (cf. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD” Prov. 21:31)!

Choose Life: Scripture:   1 Kings 7:1     NASB    “Building For The Future”

“Now Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.”    1 Kings 7:1

A pastor friend of mine used to drive through the rich parts of town with his wife to look at the large houses and mansions.  I didn’t understand it.  Unless he was scouting out what he hoped his mansion in Heaven would look like.  Why lust for something you can’t have?  He was barely eking out a living like a lot of legitimate pastors.   He’d never be able to afford anything like the houses he was gawking at.  His model, Jesus, didn’t even have a roof over his head (cf. Matt. 8:20).  The pastor is now home with the Lord and I’m guessing is living in luxury.  He certainly deserves it after selflessly serving the Lord.

In our reading today, we enter a section that describes the house Solomon spent thirteen years building for himself.  I’m a little surprised that the wisest man in the world (2 Chron. 9:22; 1 Kings. 4:30) would waste so much time providing a mansion for himself.  It was probably good for business for Solomon to have such a gigantic house.  McGee says that Solomon was wise in the affairs of the world but not always spiritually wise.  Of course, I think he did a pretty good job on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon but he didn’t always take his own advice.  It left him in a shambles, spiritually speaking, at the end of his life (cf. 1 Kings 11:4).

What do you spend your money on?  Jesus said not to spend resources on the things that perish (Jn. 6: 27).  Solomon did.  How are you doing?  Are you doing well?

If you are, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

I went to a Christian fundraiser one time.  The speaker said that “you can’t take it with you,” a reference to taking things to the grave.  “But you can send it ahead,” he said.  Jesus said as much in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal,” (Matt. 6:19-20).

Do you think of your Christian giving as storing up treasures in Heaven or are you trying to “grab all the gusto” you can down here?  There’s nothing wrong with entertainment and provision for yourself in this life as long as you are also thinking about your future.  Take an inventory, look at your giving, and see how well you are providing for your future.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:  Solomon’s Place

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