Posted by: arieliondotcom | April 25, 2013

The Same Stuff (1 Kings 7)

The Same Stuff
(1 Kings 7)

Would you feel as comfortable having a minister lead a church service in your house as you are about going to church? Would you feel comfortable having all of the items in your house on display in church?

At first you might think “I’m sure I’m supposed to say ‘Yes!’ because that’s what a good Christian would say!”, but it’s not that easy, and the reason nay not be what you think.

Our Scripture today is about Solomon building his own house. It was made of all the same materials as was used for the Temple. Scholars believe they were side by side, made of all the finest cedar wood and stone work, with the exception being that there was more cutting of the stones for Solomon’s house because to cut the stone for the Temple implied man could improve upon what GOD made.

Solomon’s house was huge; 150 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It was surrounded by a forest of columns and you would walk through a forest of columns to reach the house or the adjoining judgment hall.

We do not hear any judgment from GOD on Solomon making the house of the same materials as the Temple. And we can see why not. JESUS will be called “GOD with us.” He will “Tabernacle among us” as He lives His Life as fully GOD and fully man in flesh like our flesh so He can be tempted as we are tempted and die as we die. The Holy Spirit dwells within the heart of every Believer, “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.” So making the house and the Temple of the same material may not be a big deal. But Solomon goes beyond that.

There’s a portion of Scripture where James and John ask to sit on the places of honor beside King JESUS in glory. JESUS asks them whether they can drink from the same cup He does. Humility’s answer should be “No! We’re not worthy! We would never imagine touching the earthly king’s cup much less the King of Heaven’s!” But instead they say “Sure!” His response in His humility was an ironic one, that they would indeed drink from His cup (meaning the cup of suffering) and His baptism of death but only the Father could decide who had those seats in glory.

The issue wasn’t Solomon making his house of the same material as the Temple. But he made his house BIGGER than the Temple. Experts believe they even had an adjoining wall and staircase. And worse still, attached to his own house beside the Temple Solomon built a house for his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, King of Egypt.

Outward appearances don’t matter to GOD. But they do matter to humans. We are often influenced by what we see and believe and we often believe bigger is better and more powerful. Solomon was not a boy at this point. He took 13 years to build his own house where he took 7 to build the Temple. Notice that even the number is more than the number of 12 which symbolizes perfection. The size, the length of building, and as we will see, the habits of Solomon all equal excess, more than appropriate. Imagine the Egyptian wife being able to say “That magnificent building was built by my husband the King for his god.” But then pointing to the much larger palace shared with Solomon and saying “And THIS is where I live!”

There’s even a subtlety in the writing of the chapter toward the middle. Solomon hires a craftsman whose name and town sound as if he’s the king who had provided the materials and manpower to build the Temple. But he’s not. Solomon hires this man because of his artistry in bronze but it’s unclear at first whether it’s for his own house or the Temple. We only learn later, hearing what he made and at the end of the chapter where it’s explicitly stated that it’s the Temple he’s creating things for.

The dimensions and beauty of the Temple are mind boggling. Like wandering in the middle of a huge forest of gleaming bronze and gold with immense heavenly and earthly creatures milling about. Nothing could equal it. Solomon’s downfall will be that he tried.

It is a blessing to know that the GOD of the Universe chose to live in flesh for us and lives in Spirit in the hearts of those who love JESUS and look forward to His return. We can worship in our houses as well as our churches. But there are limits to what we can compare to home and church. We are to gather in church as a greater Body acknowledging a still greater GOD. We must remember that though the Christ is in us, we are not Christ. And we must never imagine ourselves equal to Him or greater in any way. JESUS was equal to the Father in His time on earth but chose to defer to Him, even in His Perfection. We in our humility must likewise defer to the judgments of Scripture knowing that though we have Christ’s Spirit our sin and pride may impede His will.

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