1 Kings 5:1-18 A temple to build

The presence of some chapters in the Bible may baffle us – as we saw regarding 1 Kings 4.  The content may have been important to the original readers, but what value does it have for today’s Christians in Christ’s church?  The details of the building of the temple fall into that category.  We now consider 1 Kings 5:1-18 A temple to build.

1. The significance of the temple

The fact that 5 chapters are devoted to the building of the temple shows that this is an event of great importance.  Building the temple matters greatly to Solomon as it mattered to David (2 Samuel 7:1ff).  Why is that the case?

We need to understand the significance of the temple first in its OT setting.  The temple is the appointed place to worship God – the only prescribed place.  Above all ‘a temple for the name of the Lord my God’ (v5).  The temple is for the Lord’s glory and is the symbol of his presence among his people (see also 1 Chronicles 29:1).

Note the significance of the temple in the NT revelation:

            (i). Christ.  The temple is fulfilled in Christ himself (see John 2:19).  He is the one in whom are God’s glory and the sacrifice for sin, so we no longer need a temple.

            (ii). Believers.  United to Christ, each believer is a part of the spiritual temple (1 Corinthians 3:16).  We are to manifest the Lord’s glory and are living sacrifices.

            (iii). Church.  The whole gathering of believers is described in temple language in Ephesians 2:21.

2. The foundation of the temple

In one sense it is ‘a foundation of dressed stone’ (v17), but in a more important sense the foundation is the covenant promise of God, as in the promise to David of a temple – building son (v5).  This is rooted in 2 Samuel 7.  That promise, that can never be broken, is the justification for Solomon’s work.  The temple will be part of God’s covenant with his people until the coming of the Messiah, when it will have fulfilled its function.

3. The anticipation of the kingdom

Note the good relationship between Solomon and Hiram which opens the way for the supply of cedar for the temple (v6).  Hiram’s words are significant – v7 – not a statement of personal faith, but a fulfilment of God’s promise to Solomon (as in 4:34) and an anticipation of worldwide blessing in the kingdom of Christ (Psalm 72:8, Matthew 8:11).

4. The wisdom of the builder

Solomon’s wisdom flows from God’s promise (v12).  He shows God-given abilities.  Ultimately we see here the wisdom of God in fulfilling his plans, including the political situation.  In all things God works out ‘the purpose of his will’ (Ephesians 1:11).

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