Old Testament: 1 Kings 5:1-6:38
1 Kings 5: 1 – 18 Rocks In His Head
The first thing people wanted from Solomon’s successor after taking over the reigns of government was to lower taxes. You can see why. Solomon must’ve been raised a spoiled king’s kid. He was pretty much into himself. He spent a lot of time studying science, had 1,000 wives and concubines, and lived in luxury. Someone had to pay for this type of lifestyle. And the building of the Temple cost a fortune. Someone had to pay for all that.
King Hiram of Tyre had loved David and offered servants to help build the Temple in David’s honor. Solomon was pleased with this gift and offered to pay the servants who were experts in cutting wood. There was peace between Hiram and Solomon. They even made a covenant between them.
Not only did the Temple cost a fortune but it was necessary to conscript thousands of workers. Solomon drafted 30,000 men who had to work a month on the Temple for every two months they spent at home. Solomon also employed 70,000 transporters, 80,000 stone cutters and 3,300 foremen.
McGee points out in his commentary on Acts 7:46 that although Solomon built the Temple, it was according to David’s wishes. Yahweh had given the plans for the temple to David actually (1 Chron. 28:11-12, 19), not Solomon. Therefore, McGee believes the Temple, which is always referred to as Solomon’s Temple, should actually be called David’s Temple.
1 Kings 6:1-38 God’s Jewel
Four hundred and eighty years after Israel left Egypt the building was begun on the Temple. It was the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.
The Temple was twice as large as the Tabernacle which served the same purpose. The purpose was not to house Yahweh which could not be done. It was a meeting place between God and man. The Temple was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty- five feet high ( v. 2). That means the Temple was 2,700 square feet. As a comparison, The White House is 55,000 square feet. The Temple was the size of a medium large house. And that, was much bigger than the Tabernacle which was basically a simple tent. J. Vernon McGee compares the opulence of Solomon’s Temple with carnality seeing an inverse relationship between the luxuriousness of the Temple with the simplicity of the Tabernacle. He draws an analogy of the lavish programs of the mega-churches today compared to the simplicity of smaller churches. The smaller churches stay focused, he believes, on the basics like leading people to the Lord whereas the super-churches lose their attention on the ministry of the Word. “Even though the temple was small, it was like a jewel. Now a diamond is not as big as a straw stack, but it is much more valuable.”
A study of all the features of the Temple and their symbols would be well beyond the limitations of this blog. Most of the purposes of the meeting place have been covered on the section on the Tabernacle (see Going Loopy). To note one interesting feature of the Temple, Wiersbe says this about the ten stands and lavers (v. 27-39; 2 Chron. 4:6). “These were beautifully decorated metal wagons, six feet square and four and half feet high, with handles at each corner. Each stand could hold a basin that held 230 gallons of water. . . . It’s worth nothing that these very practical and useful stands were also very beautiful, which teaches us that God sees beauty in holiness and the holiness of beauty . . . ” Though God cares much about holiness, we do not hear much about it in Chrsitian circles in these days.
New Testament: Acts 7:1-29
Acts 7:1-29 Rockin’ Their World
Steven had been accused of saying Jesus was going to tear down the Temple and destroy the Mosaic system. Although there was some truth to these accusations, they did not truthfully represent Steven’s message. The high priest asked Steven to explain himself. Steven rehearsed the history of the Jewish nation beginning with Abraham. Steven was showing the Council that the Jews had always been rebellious. Steven would have benefited greatly by taking a Dale Carnegie course but then he wouldn’t have ended up doing God’s will, would he?
Following God’s will would cost him his life. He would be the first martyr in the church age. Tune in tomorrow for that.