The house of the Lord was finished.
1 Kings 7:13-35 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now King Solomon sent and brought Hiram from Tyre. 14 He was a widow’s son from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill for doing any work in bronze. So he came to King Solomon and performed all his work.
15 He fashioned the two pillars of bronze; eighteen cubits was the height of one pillar, and a line of twelve cubits measured the circumference of both. 16 He also made two capitals of molten bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; the height of the one capital was five cubits and the height of the other capital was five cubits. 17 There were nets of network and twisted threads of chainwork for the capitals which were on the top of the pillars; seven for the one capital and seven for the other capital. 18 So he made the pillars, and two rows around on the one network to cover the capitals which were on the top of the pomegranates; and so he did for the other capital. 19 The capitals which were on the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily design, four cubits. 20 There were capitals on the two pillars, even above and close to the rounded projection which was beside the network; and the pomegranates numbered two hundred in rows around both capitals. 21 Thus he set up the pillars at the porch of the nave; and he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin, and he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz. 22 On the top of the pillars was lily design. So the work of the pillars was finished.
23 Now he made the sea of cast metal ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in form, and its height was five cubits, and thirty cubits in circumference. 24 Under its brim gourds went around encircling it ten to a cubit, completely surrounding the sea; the gourds were in two rows, cast [i]with the rest. 25 It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; and the sea was set on top of them, and all their rear parts turned inward. 26 It was a handbreadth thick, and its brim was made like the brim of a cup, as a lily blossom; it could hold two thousand baths.
27 Then he made the ten stands of bronze; the length of each stand was four cubits and its width four cubits and its height three cubits. 28 This was the design of the stands: they had borders, even borders between the frames, 29 and on the borders which were between the frames were lions, oxen and cherubim; and on the frames there was a pedestal above, and beneath the lions and oxen were wreaths of hanging work. 30 Now each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and its four feet had supports; beneath the basin were cast supports with wreaths at each side. 31 Its opening inside the crown at the top was a cubit, and its opening was round like the design of a pedestal, a cubit and a half; and also on its opening there were engravings, and their borders were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were underneath the borders, and the axles of the wheels were on the stand. And the height of a wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The workmanship of the wheels was like the workmanship of a chariot wheel. Their axles, their rims, their spokes, and their hubs were all cast. 34 Now there were four supports at the four corners of each stand; its supports were part of the stand itself. 35 On the top of the stand there was a circular form half a cubit high, and on the top of the stand its stays and its borders were part of it. 36 He engraved on the plates of its stays and on its borders, cherubim, lions and palm trees, according to the clear space on each, with wreaths all around. 37 He made the ten stands like this: all of them had one casting, one measure and one form.
38 He made ten basins of bronze, one basin held forty baths; each basin was four cubits, and on each of the ten stands was one basin. 39 Then he set the stands, five on the right side of the house and five on the left side of the house; and he set the sea of cast metal on the right side of the house eastward toward the south.
40 Now Hiram made the basins and the shovels and the bowls. So Hiram finished doing all the work which he performed for King Solomon in the house of the Lord: 41 the two pillars and the two bowls of the capitals which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the capitals which were on the top of the pillars; 42 and the four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, two rows of pomegranates for each network to cover the two bowls of the capitals which were on the tops of the pillars; 43 and the ten stands with the ten basins on the stands; 44 and the one sea and the twelve oxen under the sea; 45 and the pails and the shovels and the bowls; even all these utensils which Hiram made for King Solomon in the house of the Lord were of polished bronze. 46 In the plain of the Jordan the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon left all the utensils unweighed, because they were too many; the weight of the bronze could not be ascertained.
48 Solomon made all the furniture which was in the house of the Lord: the golden altar and the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence; 49 and the lampstands, five on the right side and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary, of pure gold; and the flowers and the lamps and the tongs, of gold; 50 and the cups and the snuffers and the bowls and the spoons and the firepans, of pure gold; and the hinges both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, that is, of the nave, of gold.
51 Thus all the work that King Solomon performed in the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things dedicated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the utensils, and he put them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord.
Today’s text gives a lengthy and detailed description of some of the things which were in the temple. The temple itself was made to very precise dimensions and standards given by God. Both it and all that was in it was ornate, fashioned with gold and other precious metals, gemstones and the finest woven fabrics. To recreate the temple today would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The temple after all was to be the dwelling place of God among men. It was important that it be beyond anything else man had seen or created. There was an inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, where the presence of the Lord resided. It was separated from the rest of the inner temple area by a thick curtain or veil. Only once a year did anyone enter there and only after offering extensive sacrifices. The veil separated sinful man from God’s holy presence. The truth is though, God is omnipresent. No building, no matter how impressive and ornate can contain Him. Yet by contrast we are told: Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) and Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19) Jesus Himself said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
How can it be that the glory of God, which could not be contained in the magnificent temple, can reside and dwell within us, in our imperfect bodies? The high priest would only go into the presence of God after offering the atoning sacrifice for sin, once each year. For us the atoning sacrifice was offered once for all, by Jesus on the cross. When He was crucified we are told: Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split. (Matthew 27:50-51) Jesus said: "It is finished." (John 19:30) There was no longer a need for a barrier between sinful man and God’s holy presence. Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice once for all sin. Because of the cross, we are seen as righteous and holy by God. We have become the finished house of the Lord, through the finished work of the cross. We should never take for granted the marvelous truth that we are the habitation of the glory of God. The psalmist says: I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) We too should give thanks, we should be thankful that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Genesis 1:26 says: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” That is the glory to which we have been restored by the cross, may we never take for granted what we have been given through Christ. May we never forget what 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. Jesus paid the price, once for all, still we must choose daily to live thankfully, fearfully in the wonder of what we have been restored to.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. It is beyond comprehension that You would die for me so that You can live in me. May I never take the wonder of the cross or the righteousness of Christ for granted. I choose to live in response to Romans 12:1 which says: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Amen.