IIT UBF - University Bible Fellowship at IIT




Building the Temple

Date: Oct. 12, 2014

Author: Bob Henkins

1 Kings 6:1-7:51

Key Verse: 1 Kings 6:11-13

“The word of the Lord came to Solomon: ‘As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.’”

Since today’s passage is about building the temple, let’s think about what it takes to build something. We are somewhat familiar with this concept because we are trying to remodel our Bible house so that we can use it to serve our ministry. Building things, whatever they may be; a house, a factory, a database, a program, a life, a family, a career, is not easy. It takes wisdom, sacrifice, dedication, creativity, love and persistence to accomplish the task of building. All around us there are examples of failed building projects, where someone started to build and for whatever reason they did not finish the task. There is the big hole in the ground, downtown, next to Lake Shore Drive, evidence left behind of the failed Spire high rise project. There is Myspace, which was destroyed when facebook hit the web. There is Pan L Matic, a failed company that I used to work at. It doesn’t exist anymore. Look at how many homeless people there are, and the suicide and homicide rates are evidence of failed lives. And the divorce rate shows us all the broken families. Like I said, it’s not easy build anything, even a toy model, but when we look around there are countless examples of successful building projects. And I think we find the secret to success in building in today’s passage.

After their exodus from the bonds of slavery in Egypt, God revealed to Moses the blue print of the tabernacle. From that time on, the children of God dreamed of building a permanent house for their God in the Promised Land. Finally that time arrived. God allowed Solomon to build the temple in Jerusalem. It would be the place, where God’s eyes and ears would be. It would be a house of prayer for all nations. It would be God’s dwelling place on earth. And in the center, the very heart of the temple, would be the inner sanctuary, called “the Holy of Holies.” And in this most holy place, the Ark of the Covenant would be set. The Mercy Seat was placed on top of the Ark, and upon this seat sat the power, presence and glory of God, ever present, shining the wonderful light of God’ mercy. This was the biggest building project in its day.

Verse 1 starts out, “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord.” This is a significant event in Israel’s history. And the exact time of this building project is forever recorded. God had promised to King David that his son would build the temple, but God would establish his kingdom forever. This was looking forward to the time when God’s dwelling place will be with men. Even Abraham “ was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Heb 11:10)

There are a couple of things that stand out to me as I read these two chapters. One is the cost of building the temple. The passage records that David offered 110 tons of gold and the tribes of Israel offered 170 tons for a total of 280 tons of gold to build the temple. This wasn’t used to finance the construction, but it was used in decorating the temple. In today’s market, just the gold would be valued somewhere in the range of 13.4 billion dollars. That’s not including the cost of the silver, bronze, cedar, and high grade stone that was needed. Not to mention the cost of the 183,000 workman and the support personnel to feed them each day. That’s an enormous under taking that took seven years to complete.

The next thing I noticed is the level of detail that was taken to build the temple. They didn’t use any old material laying around to build with, they used very specific materials, which had to be located, purchased, and transported to the site. They followed very specific instructions when they built, with specific dimensions and placement. Cherubim, palm trees and open flowers were engraved into the wood and overlaid with gold. The finest stone was used on the inside of the temple and the ceiling, floors and walls were covered with the finest cedar wood and overlaid with polished gold. Imagine what it looked like when the sun shined in and reflected all around off of the gold. A highly skilled bronze worker, Huram was brought in to make furnishings for the temple. He made intricate pillars, pots, shovels, bowls, tables, alters, lampstands, and even a large basin on wheels. All of them custom made with the highest level of detail.

The final thing I noticed was the attitude they had in building the temple. First of all, they used high grade stone and pure gold. It is difficult to make anything pure. It has to be refined over and over taking a lot of effort and cost because you lose some in the process. Usually in our generation people are looking to water down, and make it less pure so that you can make more money. But they did the opposite and made it more concentrated, as pure as they could get it. Secondly, no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was used on the temple site while it was being used. This shows their respect for God and also what care they took in their labor for the Lord because every stone had to be precisely measured and cut off site in the quarry and brought in and set into place. That meant everything had to be planned out beforehand and thought of in advance to keep those 183K people working.

Solomon’s temple was an amazing structure and a wonderful accomplishment but where is it today? Solomon’s temple was built around 952 B.C. and lasted 366 years before it was destroyed by the Babylonians around 586 B.C. When the Israel exiles returned from Babylonian captivity they rebuilt the temple 70 years later around 516 B.C. It was nowhere near the quality of Solomon’s temple. Then 496 years later Herod the Great enlarged the temple around 20 B.C. And finally the temple was destroyed for good by the Romans 50 years later around 70 A.D. And since then, in its place, a Muslim temple, the dome of the rock was built. The temple of God, as a building, does not exist today. And since it’s building, it has been a hot bed and a source of conflict to this day as Christians, Jews and Muslims all lay claim to the temple mount.

I think people now a days could be tempted to say, why do we bother with the area where the temple was built. Why can’t their be peace. Just leave it alone, take some different real estate. But I believe that this conflict is more than just people fighting over whose has rights to that piece of land. I believe that it is a spiritual conflict, a spiritual war that is going on between good and evil. The temple was the symbol of God being with his people and Satan doesn’t like that at all. From the moment Satan was cast out of heaven, he has been waging war against God and his people. And it may look like Satan has won the victory and destroyed the temple, thus removing God from his place here on earth, staking his claim as ruler of the air. But God has assured us that this is not the case. Because although it is true that the temple as a building has been destroyed, Jesus foretold that it would happen, but the temple still exists. As Mike alluded to in last week’s passage, the temple has been in us. When Jesus died on the cross, the need for a temple was removed. The need for an annual sacrifice to atone for our sins was abolished because Jesus because THE sacrifice that paid for ALL sins past, present and future. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” At one time, God sat on the mercy seat in the temple, but now his mercy resides in our hearts in the temple of our bodies. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 say, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

So if we are the temple of God, let me ask you, what condition is your temple in? What kind of dedication and devotion are you putting forth to the God that has redeemed you? Once you’ve accepted Christ as your Lord, you’ve only poured the foundation, after that the real building begins. There are different facets or aspects to God’s kingdom. The temple is the spiritual side to God’s kingdom. Just as there is both the body and the spirit, there is the physical and spiritual side to the kingdom.

So what condition is your temple in? What kind of sacrifice have you made for God? Even though King David was not allowed to build the temple, that didn’t stop him from setting aside his offering to God. David said, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Sam 24:24) David’s attitude toward God was sacrificial. Some people may think that it was a huge wasted of money, time and resources to build the temple. But this reveals people’s love, dedication and sacrifice to the God who redeemed them.

In Ireland there is St Patrick’s Cathedral. In London there is St Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles & Princess Dianne were married, originally built in 604, but destroyed by Vikings in 675. Today’s Structure took 34 years to build (1675-1709). In 2001, they spent 10 million pounds just to clean the interior walls. In Germany, there is Worms Cathedral, where Martin Luther nailed his theses to the doors, it was built in 1170 – 1224 at the cost of $50 million in today’s currency and still stands today as a testimony to the people of that time who gave their all to God. In Paris, France there is Notre Dame Cathedral. Building began in 1163 and finished in 1345 at the cost of $100 million. It was said that 1/4 of all citizens in Paris were involved in its construction and also still stands today as a testimony to the people of that time who gave their all to God. When you look at these buildings, you can’t help but think that God was the most important thing in these peoples’ lives. They were sincerely devoted to God. The cathedrals would dwarf everything else in town and it was the first thing you would see as you entered their city. Now I’m not saying that we should run out and build a big church for God, but what I want to point out the sacrifice and devotion the people had. Where is the level of sacrifice and devotion do you have for the Lord? I can only speak for me and I know mine is not what it could be. I am very selfish and often half-hearted toward my Lord.

The next thing is, what level of detail do I take in building the temple of God in my heart? Detail is important. Detail represents our love and effort we give to God. Solomon wanted to prepare the best place possible for God to reside in, do we take the same level of care for God to reside in our heart, or do we not care and give God a crumby, dirty left over room in our heart? Only one person, the high priest, would ever see the inside of the most holy place and yet Solomon went all out preparing that place. He never cut corners. In our time, we tend to cut corners, especially if its not going to be seen by a lot of people. But when you really care about something, you give your best in preparing it. For example, I heard that in the making of the movie, Lord of the Rings, even the inside of the King of Rohan’s armor was embroidered. This was something that no one except for the actor would see and yet they went the extra mile so that the actor could feel like a king, because they really cared about the movie. What kind of detail do you give to the Lord who paid the high price to redeem you from your sin?

And finally, what kind of purity do you give to God? Solomon used the purest gold and the fines stones when offering to God. What is your level of purity of heart to the Lord? God desires the purest heart more than the largest sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrifice. (1 Sam 15:22) That’s why God came to Solomon in the middle of this huge building project and gave him his word. Take a look at our key verses 6:11-13. “The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” Even if you built the best temple ever in the history of building, if you don’t obey God’s commands, all of it is in vain. In modern terms, even if you built the largest ministry and don’t sincerely give your heart to God, you lose. So many have lost everything because their heart was not pure. The glory of the temple is supposed to reflect the glory of God. Our bodies are the temple of God, therefore we should reveal the glory of God with our lives. The inner heart of the temple, the most holy place, verse 19 says that the inner Sanctuary was prepared to house the ark. The ark is where they kept the two stone tablets which the Ten Commandments were written on. This was God’s Holy Word. This was God’s Law. Do we have a place in our inner sanctuary to keep God’s Law? Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

This tells us that we need to add goodness to this foundation. And on top of goodness we are going to add knowledge. And to knowledge we are will add self-control. And to self-control, perseverance... then godliness... then kindness... then love. There is so much to do.

Be holy, just as the Lord your God is holy. (1 Peter 1:16)

Please see audio for conclusion

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Deuteronomy 23:1-25

Key Verse: 23:14

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