God’s new house is finished! It is furnished and ready to receive the most important piece. The crowning touch; the Ark of the Lord. The very presence of God.
Everything is ready and in place. The floors are polished, the windows washed, the furniture in place, the utensils lined up and the people ready. It is time to give this house to its True Owner; the Lord God.
This day is a special occasion. It is marked with feasting, worship, and obedience. Solomon is not going to make the same mistake David made the first time the Ark was moved on its way to Jerusalem. Solomon will follow ALL the requirements of the law.
First things first. Solomon calls all of Israel together for this event. “Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel…And all the men of Israel assembled” (verses 1a & 2a). I have a feeling that EVERYONE who could come, did. This wasn’t something anyone would want to miss.
While setting the date and sending out the ‘invitations’ Solomon also appointed the important players; the Levites who would carry the Ark. This job had to be done right and by the right people. We aren’t told if Solomon sought out the branch of Levites who were tasked with moving the Tabernacle pieces in the wilderness or not. Numbers 3 tells us the Kohath branch were the ones chosen by God to bear His Ark and all the furnishings within the Tabernacle. It would seem appropriate to me that they be the ones to bear the Ark to its God’s new home.
But the Ark wasn’t the only thing being brought that day to the Temple. The Tent of Meeting, or the Tabernacle, itself was being transported. The branch of Geshron would be responsible for bringing the Tent and the hangings of the courtyard. The branch of Merari would be charged with bringing the hardware associated with the Tabernacle; the frames, poles, bases and all such items. All would participate this day.
I’m wondering if the first sacrifices of the day were offered on the original altar as it sat in Gibeon. We are told that so many sheep and oxen were sacrificed that day that they couldn’t be counted. When David moved the Ark he had the Levites stop every six paces to offer another sacrifice to the Lord. It would not surprise me to know that Solomon did something similar on this journey. I bet the final sacrifices of this day took place on the new altar.
I had wondered what happened to the original Tabernacle because we don’t see it later in scripture. From our reading today, I gather that it wasn’t ‘lost’ but was stored in the Temple. No longer would there be two places to go to worship the Lord. The two now became one when the Ark that was lost from the first was brought home in the second.
The Ark of the Lord is brought into the Most Holy Place. Here it will reside as it did in its time in the wilderness and early Israel. I am curious about something though. The ends of the poles stuck out from the room where it was placed. Why is this? The room itself is twice the size of the original Holy of Holies. We were never told the poles protruded through the veil. Was it set further forward in the room? Was it set too close to the ‘door’? Was it turned a different way? Did the poles push the veil forward in the Tabernacle and we weren’t told about it? What made the difference?
I KNOW it wasn’t because the Ark was made over and made bigger like the rest of the furnishings. God struck down the men who tried to look inside His Ark when it was returned from the Philistines. And He struck down the man who tried to steady it on its initial journey to Jerusalem. This was God’s special piece. He would NOT replace it.
The inner and outer doors worked together to hide the poles of the Ark from view. Since only the poles can be seen there must have been something besides the doors obscuring the Most Holy Place from view. Was there a new veil that was made in panels? One would think that the builders would have been supplied with the measurements BEFORE construction so this wouldn’t happen.
From my thoughts only: I have a few questions that I want to pose. I’m not trying to offend anyone or change anyone’s beliefs. The information we have been given leaves me puzzled. I would expect that God would have had His hands all over the construction of the Temple like He did with the Tabernacle. But we are not given anywhere any mention of His instructions passed either to David or Solomon. Building a permanent home for God was David’s idea. God didn’t ask for one. So I’m assuming that the plans were created by man. There are flaws with Solomon’s design. The poles poking out is the most glaring issue, but the ‘steps’ needed to access such a huge altar is another. This design appears to lack the veil that God called for. It has doors instead. I can understand that for the front door but the inner Most Holy Place needs the veil.
When the second Temple is built later on some of these ‘defects’ will be addressed. There will once again be a veil separating the Most Holy Place. We know this because it was torn in two from top to bottom with Jesus’ death. If it were made in panels or doors, this wouldn’t have been possible.
Building the Temple to me also feels like something that excluded the general people where the Tabernacle involved everyone. In the Tabernacle there were so many things that needed done. They had weavers, embroiderers, carpenters, metal workers, those who kept charge over the raw materials and finished pieces and even those who simply contributed to the process from their goods. Many of the materials for the Temple were gathered by David beforehand. The construction used stone cutters, masons, carpenters, metal workers, and supervisors. The common man was absent in this process.
My point in this is, was there more of a personal connection to the Tabernacle than there was to the Temple? Or did the Temple’s grandeur draw people to it instead.
One last question and this one is for you. Have you noticed that in all this talk about the Temple I haven’t once called it “Solomon’s Temple”? I know that is the name it is given by most people, including history but I see it as God’s Temple. It is HIS house. I wouldn’t call my house after its builder’s name. It is mine, not the builder’s. Solomon did a great job but once he ‘handed the keys’ to the Lord it was no longer Solomon’s. Just something that kept popping into my mind throughout this time. The same holds true with the title the “Tabernacle of Moses.” In truth, if any name but God’s should be attached, BOTH should have had “Israel” as that name attached to it as neither Moses nor Solomon built these on their own.
With all the issues identified by ME, the fact that God filled the Temple with His presence shows me that He accepted the work done. He didn’t make Solomon go back and fix the issue with the poles. He didn’t complain about the altar’s height. He showed Solomon and all the people His love by taking what they offered and calling it beautiful!
This reminds me of when one of my children would make something for me in art class in school and proudly present it to me. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell from looking at it what it was supposed to be but I ALWAYS saw the love they had poured into it and THAT made it PERFECT! That is how God feels about us. He takes what we do in love for Him and cherishes it.
Father God, thank You for accepting the imperfect things I do. I try my hardest but I know there are flaws in my pieces. But You never reject them if they are done for You in love. When I do things ‘just to be doing them’ and expect You to bless them I don’t get the same smile from You. You see my heart in what I do and reward THAT effort. Thank You for not requiring me to be perfect before I can be used by You in some way. Thanks for letting me ‘do the dishes’ even when You have to ‘mop the floor’ after I finish.