A COSTLY EDIFICE
Lord, thank You for a place to worship You collectively as a people.
Read 1 KINGS 5:1–18
Preparations for Building the Temple
5 When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. 2 Solomon sent back this message to Hiram:
3 “You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. 5 I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’
6 “So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.”
7 When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, “Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.”
8 So Hiram sent word to Solomon:
“I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs. 9 My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.”
10 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, 11 and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. 12 The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
13 King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel—thirty thousand men. 14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor. 15 Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, 16 as well as thirty-three hundred foremen who supervised the project and directed the workers. 17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. 18 The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Meditate upon the declaration by God in Isaiah 66:1,2.
When David had purchased the land on which the temple was to be built, he wanted to ensure that he would pay the right price for it. He had said that he didn’t want to offer to the Lord what had cost him nothing. Solomon wants to spare no expense in providing a house for the name of the Lord—a permanent place of worship for the nation. David had desired to do this, but God overruled him, preferring Solomon for the job. Hiram, the friend of David, will supply some of the building materials. These are not provided by the freewill offerings of the people, as had been the case with the tabernacle, but rather through the conscripted labor of the people.
The temple in which we worship God is also costly—purchased by the sacrificed body of our Savior. United to him, the people of God become his temple who worship him in spirit and in truth. We do not need a central shrine at which to worship, but where two or three are gathered together he is present. These facts present a challenge to Christians when we think about buildings. Magnificent houses of worship to rival the temple still stand, whether the medieval cathedrals that are spread across Europe or the glass temples of modern America.
Other Christians have been more utilitarian in their approach to buildings. If we have the resources and choose to furnish ourselves with splendid houses, do we want to see our churches unattractive? If we have chosen to have bare necessities in our places of worship, should we not apply the same standards to our own properties? This is something to think about. What God desires from us is hearts that are dedicated to worship rather than eye appeal.
Spend time in worship wherever you are now.
Lord, give us the wisdom to discern the correct trade-off between extravagant buildings and bare-bones facilities as places in which to worship You.
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