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(1 Kings 5–6)  Temples . . . Past and Present

(1 Kings 5–6) Temples . . . Past and Present

by Stephen Davey Ref: 1 Kings 5–6

There is the misconception that if we give God one day out of seven He will be pleased or at least appeased. But in this message Stephen reminds us that daily integrity is the only thing that pleases God. He can't be bribed or bought off. Holiness is a moment-by-moment pursuit.


Temples . . . Past and Present

I have to begin this morning with a correction to something I said last Sunday.  Thanks to an astute listener, when I quoted from Psalm 90:12, I attributed it's authorship to David.  Well, it was compiled by David, it was read by Solomon, no doubt, from his father's personal collection, but Psalm 90 was actually written by Moses.  In fact, if I had looked up the Psalm, as this man did, while I was speaking, I would have read, as this man showed me, the fine print that said, "A Psalm of Moses."   I'm glad he showed me that - I wanted to publicly correct the error.

This past Monday, I thought I'd test our office secretaries - three of them were in the office - so I walked out some time that morning and I asked them, "Did any of you catch my sermon blooper . . .?"  As if to say, "Were you ladies really paying attention?"  I thought I'd really catch them.  One of them said, "I did!"  I said, "You did?!"  She said, "Yea, in the study notes you had Ps. 10:80 instead of Ps. 10:8.  I said, "That's not it!"  

Another secretary said, "I know what it was!"  I said, "What!?"  She said, "You said, "My mother used to tell my three brothers and I"  You're supposed to say,  ". . .my three brothers and me!"

I'm in the process of hiring new church secretaries - the other ones paid too much attention to the sermon - that's what makes them such great secretaries, but I will never ask them again if they spotted a blooper . . . and that goes for my three brothers and, uh . . . that goes for the four of us!

Take your Bibles and turn to the I Kings chapter 500 . . .

I Kings chapter 5.

The decision is final - the time has come for Solomon to build the Temple for the glory and presence of Israel's God. . .the only true God.

The first thing wise Solomon does is offer a treaty to the Phonecian King named Hiram.  He's mention as the king of Tyre in verse 1.  This allowed Solomon access to the trade and skill of this nation.

On the back of your notes I've provided an external view and an interior layout of the rooms. 

The entire temple was not that large - the interior holy place was only 90 feet long.  If you combine the accounts of 2 Chron, and I Kings, you'll learn that the building of this temple took some 7 years and employed, get this, nearly 200,000 men, costing in our economy some 5 to 6 billion to build..

The skill of building it was so careful that all the stones and timber were cut away from the site - notice chapter 6:7.  And the house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built."  What incredible craftsmanship - when it arrived at the site, it all fit together perfectly.

The foundation stones alone were massive - archaeologists have uncovered the remains of some of them and verified that the mason's signs on them are those of the Phoenicians.

Now before we go much further, let me tell you some things that the temple was not!  as well, as what is was.

What the temple wasn't:

-it wasn't a house for worshippers to assemble

In other words, the O.T. temple was not the New Testament church - we'll talk about that in a moment.  It was not built to accommodate congregations - in fact, the people never met within it, but offered worship towards it, as being the residence of God.

Get your fingers moving and turn to chapter 8 (I Kings) 

Look at verse 29.  "That Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which Thou has said, "My name shall be there," to listen to the prayer which Thy servant shall pray toward this place!  30.  And listen to the supplication of Thy servant and of Thy people Israel when they pray toward this place...

Look at verse 35.  "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rais, becuase they have sinned against Thee, and they pray toward this place and confess Thy name.

v. 38b.  each knowing the affliction of his own heart, andspreading his hands toward this house"

42b.  when he comes and prays toward this house..."

44b.  "and they pray to the Lord toward the city which Thou has chosen and the house which I have built for Thy name..."

You remember Daniel opening his windows and praying three times a day toward?  Jerusalem - now you know why!

But you also need to remember that the O. T. temple was not:  

it was not a replacement for personal integrity

Look at I Kg. 6:1.  Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon saying, "Concerning this house which you are building, "IF you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandment by walking in them, then I will carry our My word with you. . ."  In other words, "Solomon, don't think this dazzling, golden temple will blind my eyes. . ."

Now this is an analogy - Even to this day, there is the temptation to think that if you "if you go to church"  you're a good person in the sight of God.  It doesn't matter what you do Monday through Saturday, as long as you clocked in on Sunday.

Religious activity can never replace personal integrity!

Now. . .here's what the temple was:

-it was the dwelling place of God's glory

I want you to notice with me the detail of the holy of holies - Turn over to 2 Chron. 3:10. 

2 Chro. 3:10  Then he made two sculptured cherubim in the room of the holy of holies and overlaid them with gold.  11.  And the wingspan of the cherubim was twenty cubits;   It may be difficult to imagine, but these two angels were each 15 feet tall - they stood beside each other with their wings spread wide.  One wing touched one wall - the other wing touched the other cherubim whose wings extended all the way to the other wall.  These massive golden angels hovered, as it were, over the ark of the covenant.

The Jewish nation considered the cherubim  - whose wings spanned the length of this stage -  their wings were considered to be the throne of God and the ark His footstool.

Now notice further,  13.  The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits (30 feet) and they stood on their feet facing the main room.  14.  And he made the veil of violet, purple, crimson and fine linen, and he worked (sewed) cherubim on it.  What a gorgeous work that must have been. . .and no wonder - this was the formal living room - of Almighty God.

also, the temple was a testimony to God's name and character

As I read and re-read these passages, it struck me that the this entire building process was marked by several things. . .several key words:

First, the place where God's glory and presence was known was a place of:

- excellence -   The temple was not built by the lowest bidder - the cheapest subcontractor was never considered - look back at chapter 2 (2 Chronicles) and verse 13. (Hiram, the king of Tyer told Solomon) "And now I am sending a skilled man, endowed with understanding, Huram-abi.  14.  The son of a Danite woman and a Tyrian father, who knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood, and in purple, violet, linen and crimson fabrics, and who knows how to make all kinds of engravings and to execute any design which may be assigned to him, to work with your skilled men, and with those of my Lord David your father."

Frankly, I'd like to know a little more about Huram-abi!  Can you imagine a man who knows how to work with iron and stone, but who also can pick out delicate fabrics and do embroidery.

The account in I Kings says that Huram-abi was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill!

By the way, for those of you who work with your hands - with wood and stone - with the sewing machine and with fabrics - what an excellent model this man provides - name your company - Huram and Sons, or Huram and Associates.

The God of creation has given you the ability to create with your hands - to fashion, to design, to decorate - that's His gift to you to be used in your craft - a craft that ultimately, brings glory back  to God.

the second word . . . holiness - purity was the order of this ceremony - you notice the priests in 2 Chron. 5 the priests had already sanctified themselves. . .yet in verse 14, when God's glory filled the house, they "could not stand to minister becuase of the  cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of  God."  When God's glory moves into the temple, certain things have to bow out. 

As prepared as they were, when God's glory came, they knelt and bowed.

Oh, but I have to tell you, as I tried to crawl back into this incredible scene, the third word that came to my mind was "joy"   You can almost feel the excitement and sense the joy from reading 2 Chronicles 5.  Let's start at verse 7. (here comes the ark, the priests, the entire magnificent procession)  Then priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.  8.  For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark. . .skip to vers 11.  And when the priests came forth from the holy place...12. all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with symbals, harps, and lyres, standing east of thea ltar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and thesingers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the Lord saying, "He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting," then the house, the house of teh Lord was filled with a cloud - last part of verse 14.  for the glory of teh Lord filled the house of God."     Wow! 

Earlier silence during construction is now replaced by incredible music - with trumpets and cymbals and harps and singers under the leadership of professional musicians, the celebration begins.

Imagine the music - the anticipation, the joy - God's glory was seen!  This is where God lives, so to speak!  He inhabits this holy house.

Excellence, holiness and joy - what a combination associated with the Old Testament temple of Solomon. . .guess what. . .

One of the clearest New Testament revelations that should impact and motive every New Testament believer is the astounding fact that God's glory and presence no longer abides on the wings of the cherubim, but in the body and life of every Christian.

Application: The truth is; Your body has become God's house

I want you to listen to two very familiar passages of scripture from Eugenes Petersen's paraphrase, "The Message" - let these words grip you by the heart like they have me -

I Cor. 3:16 - "You realize, don't you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?  No one will get by with vandalizing God's temple, you can be sure of that.  God's temple is sacred - and you, remember, are the temple.

Perhpas a better known passaged is I Cor. 6:19 and following:  "Didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?  Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?  The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.  God owns the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this truth impacts . . . I love the way Petersen paraphrased . . . "God owns the whole works. . ."

The question is, if God lives in your house - have you told Him there are certain rooms that are off limits.  Does He have unrestricted access?

The best way to a answer that is to answer, honestly, this question:  If God had literally gone everywhere with you this past week - and if He was involved in everything you were involved in . . . is there anything you would like to have changed.

Truth is, God was!

When you come to understand that your body is the taxi, the temple, the house of Almighty God. . .several things come into focus

First - Understanding this truth produces motivation for purity.

I love the story of Daniel - we studied his life together in 1987 - and one of the amazing things about him was the fact that, if anything, he was motivated to be impure - he never married - he was prominent, successful, wealthy, well known, yet his purity mystified every one around him.

You remember the plot against him - how his contemporaries lured King Darius into signing a 30 day edict that if anyone prayed to any god or toward anything other than the throne of King Darius, they would be thrown into the lions den.

The Bible records that Daniel, knowing the decree was signed, went to his room, opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed.

Did I mention lions den?

Daniel was thrown in one.  Ancient Kings were fond of their wild animal collections - Solomon had his own, remember?  

Archeologists have uncovered dens they believe to be like Darius' version - it was open at the top, yet divided down the center with a wall - and at the bottom of the wall, in the center was a hinged iron gate.  The keepers would throw meat into one side of the den from above and the lions would gather there - they would lower the gate and thus be able to come down into the other side and clean.

Daniel was evidently thrown into one side - very soon he would hear the sound of those creaking hinges and feel the rush of lions at his body. 

The price for praying toward Jerusalem's holy temple?!  The price for purity?!

Now we know the rest of the story - but don't forget, Daniel was a real human being - and at this moment I believe he was terrified.

I like the story of the little boy who stood up in front of his class and said, "When I grow up I'm going to be a lion tamer;  I'll have lots of fierce lions and I'll walk into the cage and they'll roar at me. . .of course, he added, I'll have my mother with me.

What's the most frightened you've ever been.  I shared my most frightening experience with this congregation 5 years ago - it was much smaller then, and if you were there, perhaps you remember it.


TRASH BAG - I marched triumphantly back to bed.

Has something intimidated you . . . frightened you out of integrity?!   What would it take to cause you to give up your purity, and character - a den of lions, popularity, money. . .

If you really understand that your body is the temple of God, then what you have, in Him, will always be considered more valuable than anything else in the world.

Second, realizing the truth that your body is God's sanctuary, provides purpose in work - whatever work you do is, ultimately for God's glory

Paul put it this way - "in whatever you do, do all to the glory to God."  (I Cor. 10:31)

More than likely, your work is a struggle and a tension between priorities.

I like the suggestion of the little boy - you may have wished that this solution was available - which it isn't - the young first graders father kept bringing office work hom just about every night.  Finally, his elementary son asked why?   "Well" Dad said, "I just can't seem to get it all finished during the day."  To which his son suggested, "In that case, Daddy, why don't they put you in a slower group?"

Maybe you wish they would!

I like the way Doug Sherman put it in his little booklet,


I happen to believe that Huram-Abi and all his skillful associates had no idea that God would commend them for all time in inspired scripture - imagine being named in this record as pleasing to God.

The Biblical truth is, Your work matters to God!

Every job you perform is a self-portrait . . . autograph it with excellence - for ultimately, as Schaeffer wrote, "By exercising your talents God has given you, you are praising Him."

3) Recognizing that your body is the holy of holies of  Almighty  God promotes fellowship among believers

Note Ephesians 2:19.  So then you are not longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with  the saints, and are of God's household.  20.  Having been built upon the foundation of the apostels and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.  in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;  22.  in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Imagine that - together we, individually, make up a collective, special corporate Sanctuary of God!

And as we submit to Him, we all fit together!

No wonder the writer of Hebrews said, "Don't not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as some are in the habit of doing, but provoke and encourage one another unto love and good works."

This understanding creates a desire in us to come on Sunday and worship with you in a way that not only recognizes and worships  the glory of God but encourages each other!          

I spent too much time late into the night this past week watching the NBA finals.  I caught the last quarter of two games.  What a great matchup between Akeem Olijowan and  Shaq O'neal - whom I was personally hoping would have the air let out of his tires - which he did.   Throughout what I saw, and I'm safe to assume it was like this throughout the entire series, I never saw Akeem say to Shaq - "Great shot, man!"  I never saw Shaq slap Akeem on the back and say, "What a great move back there - you completely faked me out; I'd like you to teach me that move sometime!"

Uh, uh - there not on the same team!  Rivals never reinforce one another - companions encourage!

Browne Barr of San Francisco Theological Seminary wrote in some research he was doing on an illustration from nature that I found fascinating.


While Solomon's Temple was not a church - and the New Testament church is not even seen in the Old Testament economy - the attitudes found in the workers of Huram-Abi, the craftsmen, the skilled workers, the sacrificial contributors are the very same things needed today.

After this gold saturated temple was completed, and the glory of God had filled the Holy of holies, Solomon gave a benediction, with his hands raised toward heaven, I Kings 8:55  (if your temple is in need of spiritual repair - if you need the Holy Spirit to perform some interior decoration - take heart from these final words, "Blessed  be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant (skip to verse 58) Solomon prays. . ."That He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances.  59.  And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, (note) as each day requires.  (now what is the result of allowing God to have you as His holy temple)   v. 60.  So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else.  61.  Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His satutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day."

May I ask you a question?  What kind of temple are you?! 

ARE you marked by excellence; holiness; balanced by joy?!

The words of C.H. MacIntosh are copied in my journal - a prolific writer, who had keen insight - he lived more than 100 years ago.  He wrote, ". . .though we cannot be great, let us be honest;  and though we cannot be brilliant, let us be genuine."

Frankly, then temple of God is now in motion - no longer massive stone and inlaid gold - that was the temple then.

Now the temple of God is a living breathing body - the temple of God is you.
























"It is not always immediately clear how some work contributes to God's work.  How does a cashier, a data processor, contribute to God's work?  Or someone who sits in a cherry picker all day or repairs traffic signals?  How does the ordinary  job contribute to God's work in the world.

Sherman goes on to give five reasons why:

1) through work we love people by  serving them

2) through work we meet our own needs

3) through work we meet our family's needs

4) through work we earn money to give to others

5) through work we honor and love God.

I love the illustration he provides - "on any  given  morning you might sit down to a breakfast of ruby-red grapefuit from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, boxes of cereal from Battle Creek, Michigan, and milk from a local dairy.  Before eating, you thank God for the food - and look how many people He used to bring it to you; He has used farmers to plant and cultivate citrus trees and wheat to feed dairy cows.  He has used scientists to check the food for purity, and bankers to arrange financing.  Then, there are the dealers in farm equipment, and behind them, the builders of that equipment,  steelworkers who make the steel for it, and miners who mine the ore for the steel.  There are railroad workers who transport the ore, and oil workers who provide the diesel to run the trains.  There are the truckers who deliver the food your way and struck stop operators along the way who pump fuel and pour coffee - and off course, someone put down miles of interstate highways.  Finally, there are the supermarket stock clerks and checkers, stockers and baggers.

Whether or not anyone ever thanks God for what you do; you need to realize that God uses our work to accomplish His purposes!

He wrote: next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying along in V formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way.  It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.  By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of of the bird immediately in front.  When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.  The honking of geese is perhaps meant to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.   Finally, (now I want you to get this) when a goose gets sick, or is too week to continue, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him.  They stay with him until he is able to fly again, then they launch out with another formation to catch up to their original group.


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