1 Kings 6:1-38 A house for the Lord

The Jews were different from other people in many ways and were (and are) often treated with suspicion.  The differences were most evident with regard to religion – in biblical times they had only one temple and rejected all visible representations of God.  We continue to follow the record of Solomon’s building the temple and we now consider 1 Kings 6:1-38 A house for the Lord.

1. The faithfulness of the Lord

The account begins with a precise chronological statement situating the building of the temple in ‘the 4th year of Solomon’s reign over Israel’ (v1).  The statement contains profound theology.  2 landmark events from Israel’s history are brought together – each in a different way inaugurates a new era for the people of God:

            (i). Exodus.  Exactly at the time promised, the Lord delivered Israel from bondage and granted them the gift of freedom, all in accordance with his covenant with Abraham (see Exodus 2:24).  The Lord acted in covenant faithfulness.

            (ii). Foundation of the temple.  For 480 years Israel had in a sense been wandering and (as David realised – 2 Samuel 7:2) the place of worship for the Lord had been impermanent.  In his covenant the Lord promised David ‘rest’ (2 Samuel 7:10-11) and deliverance from wandering.  In v1 we have a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord to his covenant.  The work of building the temple can now begin.  Although God is never in a hurry, he will always keep his covenant promises – not one will fail.

2. The character of the Lord

Much detail regarding the building is provided – not to offer a guidebook, but to keep our focus on the Lord at the heart of the temple.  It is a testimony to his character:

            (i). Glory.  No expense is spared.  Note the abundance of gold, indicating God’s glory.  As living temples, believers are to testify to the Lord’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).

            (ii). Holiness.  Gold also speaks of the purity of the Lord.  The very structure of the building points worshippers to a holy God.  The altar, the place of sacrifice for sin, is at the entrance (v20), the main building is the ‘holy place’ and at the far end, accessible only once a year to the high priest, is the ‘most holy place’ (v16).  Believers are to reflect the holiness of the Lord – Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16.

3. The requirements of the Lord

Why does the Lord speak to Solomon as he does in v11-13?  These words underline the necessity of obedience to God’s law if his people are to enjoy his presence and the blessings of his covenant (v13).  Our love is to be seen in obedience to God’s law (John 14:15), reflecting the Messiah whose work seals the covenant (Matthew 26:28).

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