Solomon is now the King of Israel and he is going to build a Temple for God which his father David was not allowed to build. Solomon was the son of Bathsheba who was the woman that David had an affair with and later had her husband killed. (See 2 Samuel 11) God choosing Solomon out of all the children that David had to be king shows you just how far God’s grace extends to us since we all have sin in our lives.
The Temple that Solomon had built would have been a wonderful place to visit even today because of the grand architecture and the amount of wood work and gold that was involved in building it. Placing it up on a hill would make the building seem even bigger than it was and it would make it a central focus of Jerusalem. It was sitting where the Dome of the Rock is sitting today and was destroyed around 586 BC. Herod’s Temple would be built later which was the temple that was around when Jesus was on earth and the one he discuses with His disciples. (Matthew 24) Herod’s temple was destroyed in 70 AD just as Jesus prophesied would happen.
How the Temple was built
Read 1 Kings 5:13-18
30,000 Canaanites with 550 supervisors and 150,000 Israelites with 3,3000 foremen where used to build the temple
Solomon spared no expense in building the Temple even having pine logs and cedar floated down the river with skilled laborers hired to cut them properly. For 7 years they worked on the temple with great detail and precision this was a Temple to bring honor to God.
What does the temple mean to us today?
1) The Temple is where God is.
Exodus 25:8-9 And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. 9 Exactly as I show you concerning the pattern of the tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it.
This was the first command for a temple that God gave to Moses. God makes it clear that although He is not tied down to a place, His whole desire is to be with His people.
Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire[a] in his temple. 5
David desired to be in God’s Presence at all times not in a building. Even today we make being in a building more important than being in the presence of God. Although the Old Testament was different in that they did not have access to the Holy Spirit like we do, we have to be careful that we do not make the presence of God something we go to when we have His presence with us at all times.
Imagine how the High Priest felt once a year when he would step into the Holy of Holies. After sacrificing an animal for his sins and the sins of the people, he would step into the presence of God almighty to meet Him. The reverential awe he must have felt as he stepped into a place that was seen once a year by only the High Priest must have been amazing and yet terrifying all at the same time.
We have that experience now because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus is our High Priest and because of His perfect sacrifice we have access to the Holy of Holies on a daily basis. (Hebrews 4)
John 14:15-17 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
In John 14:6 Jesus tells them He is the only way to God
The Temple rituals were placed there by God and were to be followed exactly how He wanted them to be. The Priest could never say that things were close enough because it was only through carrying out the sacrifices that God would find favor with His people.
We found out with Saul that the right things done the wrong way are not honoring to God. (1 Samuel 13) We have taken God for granted because of His grace and we have lost the sense of reverential awe that the physical temple brought to the children of God.
In John 14:15 Jesus tells his disciples that His true disciples follow His commands. Doing good works do not save you but they do show who you belong to. My behavior shows if God is dwelling with me and my actions toward God show if my first commitment is to Him. This does not mean you have to be perfect because if we could be perfect then Jesus would not have had to die on the cross, but if God’s Spirit is living in you then there should be a striving to remove the sin from your life because God’s Spirit is convicting you of the areas of your life you have not fully given to God.
Although Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, we, like the people in the Old Testament, should be constantly taking our sins to God. They did it through sacrifices and we do it through prayer and confession of our sins. (1 John 1:9) Our sins are already paid for through Jesus but we come before God acknowledging that we have areas we still need His help in overcoming.
Read 1 Kings 6:12
To be a Christian means to follow Christ. Jesus made it clear to those He called when He said, “Follow ME”. One of the unique things about Christianity is that God comes and makes His way to you and then places His spirit inside of you. God knows we cannot do it on our own and He knows that we would not even seek after Him so He seeks after us. (Romans 3) It is an intimate relationship that God desires not rituals that you do to appease Him.
2) We are the Temple of God
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you[a] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Paul is telling them to imagine going into the temple and being able to walk into the Holy of Holies. Paul was using language they understood and trying to get them to see that through Jesus Christ our access to God has changed. 1 Corinthians was written around 53-55 AD so Herod’s Temple would have still been around and the importance of the Temple would have still been in place.
The temple represented the Holiness of God and there was great care taken by the priest that he would not die when he entered into the Holiness of God. Jesus death and resurrection changed everything about how we worship because we no longer have to offer sacrifices because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins.
Hebrews 7:27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
They sacrificed animals and did the rituals by faith waiting on the Messiah to come to save them. We accept the sacrifice Jesus Christ has already made on the cross by faith knowing that all of our sins are forgiven.
Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Jesus fulfilled the covenant God established in the Old Testament. Everything God had the Israelites do was to show the standard of Holiness He required and only Jesus met that requirement perfectly. Jesus lived a sinless life and was the perfect sacrifice for the whole world. Because of Jesus sacrifice and when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we become the temple of God. God now declares us Holy not by our own works or actions but because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Just like the priest who could enter the Holy of Holies by faith of the sacrifice he offered for himself and the people, we as well can enter the presence of God because of accepting by faith the free gift and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
3) We are to keep building the Temple
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Sending things through fire has always been a way to see what was pure, solid and worth saving. The things that were worthless would burn up and would be no more while what you were left with was pure and cleansed.
The temple was built with the best of materials available and no expense was too much to honor God. Wood, Hay and Straw are not sinful things they are just cheaper, (The left overs) materials. We give God our left overs many times or our second best.
What are some things that represent Wood, Hay and Straw that will not be recognized in Heaven ?
Motives: 1 Corinthians 4:5 says that God will judge our motives. So you can do the right things but with the wrong motives and they will be burned up.
Worthless Activities: 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that we will give an account for things done in the body whether good or bad. (bad means worthless )
Service: 1 Corinthians 3:13 says each ones work will be revealed. Are we using the abilities given to us by God? It’s not just what you are doing but what are you not doing that God will judge?
There is a video of a man who walks the street offering people a $150 bar of silver or a Hershey’s chocolate bar which is worth less than a dollar. The video is painful to watch because people pass up $150 of silver for a dollar candy bar over and over again. The Sad thing is we do the same thing when we focus on the immediate pleasures of this world instead of the things that will last for eternity. When we get to Heaven we are going to realize that we passed up the things that have more value for the things that are not worth almost nothing.
We need to add the more important things to our lives starting with the word of God. Psalm 119:105 says, “Gods word is a Lamp to our feet”. If you are wondering about direction for your life you need to begin simply by spending time in Gods word.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If people are the Temple of God then to build the temple means to keep telling people about the good news of Christ. The great commission in Matthew 28 shows us what Jesus believed was important because when people surrender their lives to Him then they also become the temple of God.
Do you see God as being a part of every area of your life?
Do you understand that if you are a Christian than He is always with you?
The Holy Spirit is saddened when we do things contrary to what we should do and it should cause us to ask God to help change us. (Ephesians 4:30)
How are you building the Temple of God?
What things are you intentionally adding to your life so that when you get to Heaven they will last for eternity?
What impurities have you allowed into the Temple?
What things are wood hay and straw instead of Gold, Silver and precious stones?