castle May 20, 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Kings 5:1-12; 2Chronicles 2:1,3-16; 1Kings 5:13-18; 2Chronicles 2:2, 17-18; 1Kings 9:15-16,20-23; 2Chronicles 8:7-10; 1Kings 6:1-38; 2Chronicles 3:1-17; Psalm 127; 1Kings 7:1-51; 2Chronicles 4:1-5:1. Note: Since this Bible study covers two days it is suggested that you read the Bible passages on May 20 and the Bible study on May 21.

What Makes a House a Home?

It has been said that a man's (or woman's) home is his castle. After a few years of marriage (sometimes less), many couples like to buy a house, or if they can afford it, they have one designed and built just for them. They want a place to call their own. They might call it their love nest, for it will express their character and will be a symbol of their love. But what makes a house a home?

When Solomon married an Egyptian princess, he did not build his own palace right away so that they might live there. Sometimes couples have to wait awhile until the time is right to obtain their own home. Solomon and his bride lived in his father David's palace (we probably could not feel sad for them about that, but still they wanted a place of their own). Before building his own palace, King Solomon began the work on the enormous task assigned to him by God - building His temple.

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD. (1Kings 6:1, NIV) [note: this is an important date - more…]

Solomon first began to arrange for the building of the temple by making a treaty with Hiram, King of Tyre (Lebanon). Hiram would have his men cut cedar and pine logs for the building of the temple and then float them like rafts down to Joppa, where they were carried up to Jerusalem. Hiram would also send a skilled artisan and craftsman to lead the work in constructing the temple. This was all done in exchange for food that was given to King Hiram's workers and his royal household (2Chronicles 2:3-16).

After Solomon gathered the materials for the temple, he had to gather workers. He gave the Israelites the job of being his soldiers, captains, and chief officials. The officials were to supervise the building project because, according to God's directives in the book of Leviticus, fellow Israelites were not to be made slaves. There was to be freedom in the Promised Land (Leviticus 25:42-43; 2Chronicles 8:7-10). In the same way that God did not want Israel to return to slavery after he delivered her, God does not want us to return to slavery. In what way were we enslaved? We were enslaved to our sins (Romans 6:16-23). He wants us to live in liberty.

Instead of using Israelites for slave labor, Solomon used the aliens in the land to do that for him. This suppressed rebellion and introduced them to the true God. As they worked on His temple they would hear the musicians singing praises to the great God of Israel from Jerusalem (1Chronicles 6:31-32), and they would learn of his character. When congregations of believers hire skilled labor to help build their churches, they can accomplish similar things. Outsiders become interested in the church work, especially as they rub shoulders with the people of the church who are ministering and supervising.

Location, location, location - this is a phrase often repeated when people or businesses are searching for prime real estate. The great temple of God for sacrifices and worship was built on Mt. Moriah. This was the mount where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Isaac before God stopped him and substituted a ram. This was also the place where King David offered a sacrifice to stop a plague on the Israelites for his sin in numbering the people who could be drafted for war (2Chronicles 3:1; 1Chronicles 21:17-29; Genesis 22:2). This was also the likely location where Herod's temple would later be built. Mt. Moriah was also close to the site where Christ would die as a sacrifice for our sins. All of these areas were just outside Jerusalem.

The temple was 90 feet (27 meters) long, 30 feet (9 meters) wide and 45 feet (13.5 meters) in height, built of dressed stone (more…). All the hammering and chiseling had to be done at the quarry, not the work site (1Kings 6:7). Apparently, the work site was considered hallowed ground. The interior cedar walls of the temple were covered in gold with intricate designs of Cherubim (worshipping angels who surround God's presence proclaiming his holiness), palm trees and open flowers. The articles of the temple were polished brass and gold. Over 23 tons of gold were used in the construction of the inner sanctuary of the temple and its furnishings. The amount of brass used was so much that it was not counted. The temple must have gleamed, reflecting the glory of God.

Two pillars were erected in the front of the temple. The one on the south end was Jakin, meaning “He establishes.” The pillar on the north was Boaz, meaning “In Him is strength” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.500).

These visual reminders at the front of the temple reminded the Israelites that “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain,” (Psalm 127:1, NIV). Whether we are talking about a home or a church, this verse is a good reminder to us. The keeping of their house of worship was not reliant on their ability to pay a mortgage payment, but on their obedience to God (1Kings 6:12-13). The same is true for us. See a video tour of the temple.

After Solomon's work on the temple was complete, he made his own palace. Solomon's priorities were to do the will of God before satisfying his own desire for a palace of his own. Is this our priority? Is God first? If we were able to choose, would we build our church before we build our house? Solomon's palace was larger than the temple, but it was only made of cedar and stone, not gold, silver and brass. Obviously, he did not want his house to take away any of the glory of God's house. Do we care about God's glory so much that we do not want to do anything that might diminish it in the eyes of people? See an archeological discovery of Solomon's palace and an artist's depiction of when the queen of Sheba came to visit (more...)

What makes a house a home? Its design? Its furnishings? Its location? No. The same principle applies to home and church; we must live in obedience to God and in loving consideration for one another for a house to be a home or a church to be a haven. Happy is the place where God is at home and where we are in unity with our family members. Is God at home in your heart? Do you have a personal relationship with him? He can forgive your sins, give you peace and spiritual life, and you can be part of his family (more...).

Lessons to live by:

    •  If we have a choice, building God's house should come before building our own.

    •  We should do nothing to diminish the glory of God in the eyes of people.

    •  When congregations of believers hire skilled labor to help build their churches, outsiders become interested in the church work, especially as they rub shoulders with the people of the church who are ministering and supervising. It is a chance to be a good testimony.

    •  We may build a house of worship, but keeping it as a place of God's presence is not so much reliant on our ability to pay the mortgage payment but on our obedience (1Kings 6:12-13).

    •  What makes a house a home? We must live in obedience to God and in loving consideration for one another. Happy is the place where God is at home and where we are in unity with our family members.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (NIV)

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