Temple reading: 1 Kings 5:5, 6:11-14
God gave instructions to Moses for building a home for Him that was portable. Now Solomon will build one that is a permanent structure. But it comes with conditions.
When Israel first left Egypt God desired to be among them. He tried speaking directly to them but they were frightened and asked that He speak through Moses instead. He agreed to this. He also wanted a ‘home’ among them. They were on the move and living in tents so His dwelling had to be just a mobile. His was MUCH MORE elaborate than theirs. His also welcomed ALL the people into His home; with conditions.
All were allowed in His courtyard but only a select few were allowed within the walls of His dwelling. At the dedication of the Tabernacle Moses was the one to anoint all the items placed there. He then anointed Aaron and his sons. After this time, Moses no longer entered the Holy of Holies. That was the high priest’s job and it happened only once a year. This would not change with the building of the Temple.
David longed to build the Lord a permanent home. He had brought the Tabernacle to Jerusalem while he reined as king but it was still a temporary structure. God wouldn’t allow him to fulfill this dream himself because his hands were stained with blood from waging war. But He promised David’s son, Solomon, could. David passed his plans onto his son.
The temple Solomon built would follow the same design God laid out for Moses. It would have the same furnishings, set up in the same way, and the same separations. This Temple would be built of metal and stone instead of fabric and wood. It would have permanent place in Jerusalem. And it would be where God met with His people.
The Temple was the MOST important structure in all of Israel and the place where every man was commanded to come three times a year; Passover, Pentecost and Sukkot. I don’t know that everyone followed this requirement. I believe that most people tried to make it to at least one of these observances each year.
Solomon went to great lengths to ensure the temple was beautiful. The carvings were extravagant. I’m sure it was nothing compared to the original in Heaven but here on earth, it was MAGNIFICANT! When I read the description of all its pillars and scrollwork my mind can’t even conceive of its splendor. When I see Jesus face to face I’ll ask Him to show me an image of it.
As exquisite as that Temple was, it isn’t the final Temple God would choose. There is another structure coming that will be revealed in the New Jerusalem. It will make Solomon’s construction look like a shack by comparison.
Solomon’s temple, strong as it was, is no longer standing. The Temple of God was constructed twice and demolished twice. Israel would love to rebuild it again but there is a conflict regarding the place where it stood. God says that in the last days it will be rebuilt and will also be desecrated by the anti-christ.
I don’t want to get into that today. Instead, I want to talk about the ‘Temple’ God occupies today. That ‘Temple’ is you and me! Paul tells us “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, whom you have from God” (1 Corinthians 6:19). He lives in us! We are God’s Temple. Our hearts are where He meets with us every day. We don’t have to make a trip to Jerusalem to meet with Him. And this is ONLY because of the work Jesus did on our behalf.
Breaking down the barrier between God and man is THE reason Jesus came. It was what He was born to do. It didn’t happen on the day of His birth. It would happen on the day of His death. The day the veil in the Temple was torn in two from TOP to BOTTOM.
God ripped the curtains open in grief and celebration. He tore the veil as surely as David tore his garments at the news of Saul’s death. God’s heart was breaking at the suffering His Son had to endure and the callousness of man’s hearts. But He was also rejoicing knowing that the separation from the ones He mad was at an end. I invite you to read “Between Triumph and Tears” which visits that moment in Heaven.
Be careful with God’s ‘Temple’. It is remarkable and wonderful. Be certain to invite Him into it and give Him His rightful place.
Father God, thank You for making a way for me to be with You. Thank You that I am not separated or excluded from coming to You. I don’t know how my relationship with You would have been if I lived in the time of Solomon’s Temple or even the Tabernacle. I CHERISH our close relationship. I am lost without You; spiritually, physically and mentally. Thank You for choosing me as one of Your children and making me Your ‘Temple.’ Help me remember that and treat my body accordingly.