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30 DAY STORY OF THE BIBLE #15


1 Kings 3:1-2; 5:1 – 6:11 – SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE            

A temple is where a god lives and meets with his people. On our first day, we noted that the Garden of Eden was like a temple in that God would come there to walk and talk with our first parents. When Israel was in the wilderness after escaping Egypt, one of the first things God had them do was build the Tabernacle, which was a portable Temple. This Tabernacle continued to serve as the only Temple Israel had for nearly half a millennium. As such it was the center of the religious life of the nation.

When King David had secured his throne and his borders, he wanted to build a Temple in Jerusalem, his new capitol city. God told him he would have a son whose throne would endure forever; this son would build a Temple to the LORD.

Near the end of his life, David installed Solomon on his throne. The name Solomon is closely related to shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. David was not allowed to build the Temple because he was a man of war; Solomon, whose name means peaceful, had that honor.

It was a time of peace for Israel. The nations around them were subdued, either paying tribute or making alliances of friendship. With peace came wealth. In his time, Solomon was likely the richest man in the world, and prosperity trickled down to the people.

The Temple itself was not as large as the later Temple in Jerusalem started by Herod the Great and still under construction during the life of Jesus. Nevertheless, it was a magnificent structure that served Judah almost 400 years until it was destroyed by the Babylonians c. 586 B.C.

This was the place of the High Priest, a hereditary position for the sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother and 1st High Priest. It was also the place of corporate worship with daily, weekly, monthly, and annual sacrifices. The people also brought individual sacrifices there to be offered on their behalf. This was also where people would come from all over the nation (and later all over the world) for the great national feast days.

The most holy day of the year was the Day of Atonement, the one day on which the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place to offer atonement for his own sins and the sins of the people. This was offered on “The Mercy Seat” above the Ark of the Covenant and under the wings of the Cherubim stretched completely across the Most Holy Place, which (in Solomon’s Temple) was a cube of 30 feet.

When the woman of Samaria asked Jesus where people should worship, on Mt. Gerazim or in Jerusalem, He pointed to a coming time when worship would not be limited to any geographic place. How could this be? It would be a time when God’s Spirit would live in His people, so they would not need to go to a Temple to worship Him. Instead, we now worship wherever we may be, for Jesus is building His church as a Temple of living stones.

Unfortunately, Solomon, led astray by his many foreign wives, built temples and shrines to their foreign gods as well. This departure led to another sad twist in the STORY of how God is setting things right in the world. We will see how that part of the STORY played out in the next days of this Thirty Day STORY of the Bible.

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