What’s This About the Temple

What’s This About the Temple

We started our reading this week in 1 Chronicles 17, where David tells Nathan the prophet that he wants to build a house for God. God tells David that he is not the one to build God’s house, but that a son after him will be the one to build a house for God. Then God says to David, “I’m going to build you a house, a lasting kingdom.” At the end, as we finished this week’s reading in 2 Chronicles 7, Solomon, the son of David has finished the Temple in Jerusalem and is dedicating the newly built house for God, later called Solomon’s temple. Is this what God meant? Is this the fulfillment of God’s promise to David? Well, we will see. But this week’s reading led up to the completion of the Temple.

In other words: We read twenty chapters this week, and most of them focus on the preparations, planning, contributions, building, and finally dedication of this temple structure. It took seven years from start to completion, and in our reading it may have felt like it, didn’t it? David is the one who initiated this and Solomon his son oversaw the construction and completion of the Temple. The Chronicler takes his time telling about it.

Question: Why? Why does this take up so much biblical attention here? (I mean, 20 chapters). Notice as we’ve read 1 Chronicles thus far. It basically scans through the centuries from creation to David’s reign and then the author hits the slow motion button. Now, for 20 chapters of text, we will cover only a few years, and those years are largely about this Temple. It’s clear that everything before this is preliminary to what’s happening with this building of the Temple.

Don’t miss the point. This is no ordinary structure. Remember the end of Exodus, most of Leviticus and a good portion of Numbers? One of the main things that those books told us was about the tabernacle. How to build it just right, including all the pieces of equipment and furniture. How to set it up, where each piece of furniture went and how they were to be consecrated and used for serving in worship. Those books covered: who was to do what, and how Israel was to behave, and what they were to do while in or around this tabernacle. Every detail about who, what, when, where and how were laid out including all the offerings and who and how they were to be carried out. God’s place of dwelling and their place of worship receives special attention. This extraordinary tent was uniquely designed by God Himself to be used for God’s purposes and presence, and as a place of worship for God’s people.

But did you notice that somewhere along the way through Judges, Samuel and Kings, that God’s tabernacle, and later during unfaithful kings, His Temple, gets lost in the shuffle of Israel’s coming’s and goings? I mean, early on, by the end of the period of Judges, the Ark of the Covenant is used as a weapon to fight against the Philistines. Remember 1 Samuel and Eli’s sons? They acted as if they can force God’s presence to go with you into battle by taking the Ark of God with them. It failed miserably, remember? Eli’s two sons die, Eli dies, and the Ark of God is captured by the Philistines.

After God allowed the Ark to be captured, the Philistines experienced God’s wrath and returned it. But, it appears that the Ark of the Covenant was not returned to it’s place behind the veil of the tabernacle for many years. In fact, after David becomes king, and after he builds a palace of cedar for himself, David has a special tent made and brings the Ark of God to Jerusalem and puts it in that tent. That’s not where it belongs! Later we see that the Tabernacle of Moses, in which the Ark is supposed to stay, is in Gibeon. Look with me at 2 Chron. 1:3-6.

Ok. Now, tell me something. In the Law of Moses, didn’t God instruct the high priest to go into the Most Holy place once a year with blood from the sacrifice of atonement. Wasn’t this how Israel’s sins would be atoned for? So, what’s going on with the Ark at Jerusalem and the Tabernacle at Gibeon? How can Israel’s sins be atoned for? Where’s the High priest doing sacrifices? Don’t they know what the Bible says? Evidently, the children of Israel have forgotten God’s instructions and strayed off the path for a long time now.

What happens with the Temple and its dedication is that the biblical worship and priestly services are restored. The Ark of the Covenant and the sacrificial system of the Law is reestablished and carried forward. Not only that, but Jerusalem, city of peace, becomes the resting place for God’s presence in Israel. There is located in real time and space a structure that God Himself endorses as a place for His Name. This is none other than the creator of the universe pinpointing a piece of real estate as a focal point for faith and blessing.

Solomon’s prayer of dedication is beautiful. God appears to Solomon afterward and endorses this dedication with a promise to hear prayers offered toward this place. God also makes clear that if the people turn away from Him and seek other gods, this Temple, and all this magnificent construction will be leveled to the ground.

1&2 Chronicles were written after the Babylonian Exile, likely by Ezra the priest.

So… what’s the take home for today’s lesson on the Temple?

David, who loved God, found his purpose in preparing and contributing toward this house for His God, a Temple he would never live to see.

Have you found your purpose in life? What is it? A Texas farmer invited a visiting preacher to his ranch for dinner. After dinner he took the preacher out and pointed North, South, East and West and said, “Preacher, I own all the land as far as you can see in all directions.” The preacher, smiled and pointed up and said, “What about in that direction?”

David owned a lot. He dedicated his huge wealth and resources to God’s use. Look at 1 Chron. 29:1-3.

We have great resources here at Signal Mountain. Years ago, our brothers and sisters had the foresight to plant this church and build this building as a house of worship for God’s honor and for the name of Jesus Christ. We are beneficiaries of their vision and sacrifice. May we carry the torch forward and give ourselves to filling this house with seeking, saving, serving saints for God’s kingdom and righteousness. Determine to be here for the services of this church and keep giving of your resources to continue the work here. Keep praying for our leadership and joining in on the ministries of this church.

2. David recognized God as the source of everything, calling us to remember where all we have came from.

Do you keep in mind that God actually owns and provides all your stuff? What happens when our stuff begins to own us?

One day, there was this rich guy who had just bought a new car, and he was eager to show it off to his colleagues, when all of a sudden, an eighteen wheeler came out of nowhere and took off the driver’s side door with him standing right there.
“NOOO!” he screamed, because he knew that no matter how good a mechanic tried to fix it, it never would be the same.
Just then a police car came, a policeman came by, and the rich guy ran up to him yelling. “MY MERCEDES DOOR WAS JUST RUINED BY SOME FOOLISH DRIVER!” he exclaimed.

“Your a rich guy aren’t you?” asked the policeman. “Yes, I am, but what does this have to do with my car?” he asked.
“HA!” the policeman replied, “You rich guys are always so materialistic. All you care about is your possessions. I bet you didn’t even notice that your left arm is missing did you?” the cop said.
The rich guy looked down at his side and exclaimed: “MY ROLEX!”

God’s word has a lot to say about money and possessions and how they impact us. God created us to love Him and use the things He entrusts to us for His glory. This requires us to keep our hearts unentangled with things. What we own can easily own us and our hearts. David demonstrates how to avoid this. 1 Chron. 29:6-19

3. David’s love for God ended up being that which defined his character. He was the man after God’s own heart. In spite of his weaknesses and sins, David’s relationship with God triumphed over it all.

What defines your character? One of these days, unless Jesus comes back first, I know I will die. My hope and prayer is that God’s name and honor will have been exalted by the life here on earth that God has given me. Don’t you?

David knew that after his death, God would work through his son to build a temple David would never see. But, because David’s heart for God was undivided, he looked ahead and saw not just Solomon, but the resurrection of Christ. Acts 2:22-36.

We all have an ultimate destiny and will some day face the reward or consequences of our character. God calls us to let Christ define our character. His character of royalty and righteousness is given to all who give up their lives for His name’s sake and follow Him.