A Matter of the Heart

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today, we conclude with our series of blogs regarding the life of King Solomon.  Focusing on the question – how did Solomon lose his way?

Philip Ryken puts it like this – “the gifts of God never operate independently or automatically, but always according to the affection of our hearts.”

I am reminded that our talents and gifting can only be used for the kingdom of God when we are committed to His glory and not our own.

When our hearts turn from God, our gifts can be used to actually tear down His work instead of building it up.

In the beginning, Solomon’s heart appears to be in the right place. When Solomon asks for wisdom and an understanding heart in I Kings 3, his motivation was to rule the people well.

Even though he ruled his people well, Solomon’s lost path was a series of decisions made one at a time, step by step. It is a lifetime of choices that took him down the path.

By the time we get to 1 Kings 11, we are told in verses 1-3, “Solomon loved many foreign women”, “Solomon clung to these in love”, and “his wives turned away his heart”. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

The chapter goes on to say his wives turned away his heart toward other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God.

Somewhere along the way, Solomon lost his first love – his love for the Lord.

A sobering thought for all of us in ministry or service is the reminder that the gifts God has given us never operate independently or automatically, – they always work “according to the affection of our hearts.”

Our gifting and talents can be useful for the building up of the kingdom, but only to the extent that our hearts are committed to His glory.

Solomon’s story became a tragedy because his heart loved other things more than the living God. He did love God, it seems to a certain extent, but he had a deeply divided heart that also loved too many women and worshiped too many gods.

When our hearts turn away from God, our spiritual gifts will not prevent us from falling into grievous sin.

Mastering theology, serving the poor, giving to Christian work, teaching and serving at the church, —none of these gifts will protect us from spiritual failure if we love the world or love ourselves more than we love God.

Apart from the grace of God and the work of his Spirit, we could very well end up doing something evil that tears down everything we have built, as Solomon did.

People always seem surprised when well-known Christians fall into sin. Perhaps this is because they have been looking at their gifts rather than their hearts. But the heart is the most important thing of all.

When Solomon’s heart turned away from God, even his wisdom turned into folly.

Until next time… Keep reading!

Jim

Sources used for this blog: ESV Bible, NASB Bible, and excerpts were taken directly from the book – 1 Kings by Philip Ryken.

August 15 – OT Reading

Psalm 134, 146-150; 1 Kings 9

Psalm 134

Greetings of Night Watchers.

A Song of Ascents.

134 Behold, bless the Lord, all servants of the Lord,
Who serve by night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary
And bless the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
He who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 146

The Lord an Abundant Helper.

146 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord while I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts perish.
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them;
Who keeps faith forever;
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 147

Praise for Jerusalem’s Restoration and Prosperity.

147 Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates;
He has blessed your sons within you.
14 He makes peace in your borders;
He satisfies you with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sends forth His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
16 He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?
18 He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.
19 He declares His words to Jacob,
His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His ordinances, they have not known them.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 148

The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.

148 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 149

Israel Invoked to Praise the Lord.

149 Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing;
Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations
And punishment on the peoples,
To bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron,
To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150

A Psalm of Praise.

150 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

1 Kings 9

God’s Promise and Warning

Now it came about when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all that Solomon desired to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

“But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will cast out of My sight. So Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the Lord has brought all this adversity on them.’”

Cities Given to Hiram

10 It came about at the end of twenty years in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house 11 (Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold according to all his desire), then King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. 12 So Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him, and they did not please him. 13 He said, “What are these cities which you have given me, my brother?” So they were called the land of Cabul to this day. 14 And Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.

15 Now this is the account of the forced labor which King Solomon levied to build the house of the Lord, his own house, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. 16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer and burned it with fire, and killed the Canaanites who lived in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 So Solomon rebuilt Gezer and the lower Beth-horon 18 and Baalath and Tamar in the wilderness, in the land of Judah, 19 and all the storage cities which Solomon had, even the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and all that it pleased Solomon to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land under his rule. 20 As for all the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, who were not of the sons of Israel, 21 their descendants who were left after them in the land whom the sons of Israel were unable to destroy utterly, from them Solomon levied forced laborers, even to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of the sons of Israel; for they were men of war, his servants, his princes, his captains, his chariot commanders, and his horsemen.

23 These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people doing the work.

24 As soon as Pharaoh’s daughter came up from the city of David to her house which Solomon had built for her, then he built the Millo.

25 Now three times in a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar which he built to the Lord, burning incense with them on the altar which was before the Lord. So he finished the house.

26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships in Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. 27 And Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, sailors who knew the sea, along with the servants of Solomon. 28 They went to Ophir and took four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Hear My Prayer, O Lord!

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

One of the most vivid memories in my life happened in the spring of 2005.  My wife, Barb, and I traveled to Israel as a part of a guided tour.  Each night at the hotel, the guide would walk us through the expected tour for the following morning.

At this point in the tour we had arrived in Jerusalem for a few days and I was ready to see the grand old city!

This particular night, the guide explained we would be going to the temple mount area the next day – the location of the famous Western Wall and the Southern Steps to the Temple area.

I knew the temple had been destroyed in the year 70, but I was excited about visiting the Southern Steps, as I knew Jesus would have been in that area accessing the Temple and tradition holds He taught from those steps.

The other site, the Western Wall, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount.

Parts of the wall are remnants of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple‘s courtyard, and is considered by the many the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself.

Our guide explained that it was the custom to write a prayer out on a scrap of paper when visiting and praying at the wall, then roll up the prayer and stick it in the crevice in the wall.  Periodically the slips of paper were collected and buried in Israel because it was against Jewish religious law to destroy them.

So Barb and I jointly prepared a prayer for the next day.

Our guide told me that many of the Jewish people read and pray over Psalms when at the Wall.  So, I decided I would read our prayer out loud from the piece of paper and bring my Bible to read out loud the 23rd Psalm.

The next morning, we came to the Southern Steps and I was in awe. I was walking and standing where Jesus stood!

We were given some quiet time at the steps and, as is my custom, I grabbed my journal and Bible for a little quiet time.  I was following a reading plan much like we are doing today in the church and my regular reading for the day was a few chapters in I Kings.

As I turned to I Kings Chapter 8, I came to the section of scripture where King Solomon dedicated the Temple.  The reading was not pre-planned by me but ordained, I believe, by God.  For here in this passage I read through Solomon’s prayer.

As I turned to verses 41-43, my heart skipped, for in this section Solomon prays for the foreigner, not of the people of Israel, who has come from a distant land, because of His great name – Solomon cries out to God to hear the foreigner’s prayer!

That was me!  I was the foreigner who was about to go to the Western Wall and pray to my God and leave my prayer there in the wall.

I trembled as I prayed at the Wall, read aloud the Psalm and placed the prayer Barb and I had written out the night before in a crevice in the wall. We had written out a prayer for our family – mainly our children.

I still watch the working out of that prayer today.

It is said in Jerusalem that all prayers are local calls, everywhere else it is long distance!

If you have already read through Solomon’s prayer in I Kings Chapter 8 when you read this, I encourage you to read it again.  This is a prayer you can turn to over and over again as I have.  It is a perfect model of how and what to pray for.

Until next time…  Keep reading!

Jim

 

August 13 – OT Reading

1 Kings 8

The Ark Brought into the Temple

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. Then all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. They brought up the ark of the Lord and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils, which were in the tent, and the priests and the Levites brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles from above. But the poles were so long that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; they are there to this day. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

Solomon Addresses the People

12 Then Solomon said,

“The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.
13 “I have surely built You a lofty house,
A place for Your dwelling forever.”

14 Then the king faced about and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. 15 He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David and has fulfilled it with His hand, saying, 16 ‘Since the day that I brought My people Israel from Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, but I chose David to be over My people Israel.’ 17 Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. 19 Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he will build the house for My name.’ 20 Now the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 There I have set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord, which He made with our fathers when He brought them from the land of Egypt.”

The Prayer of Dedication

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. 23 He said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart, 24 who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which You have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day. 25 Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’ 26 Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Your word, I pray, be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant, my father David.

27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! 28 Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today; 29 that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place. 30 Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive.

31 “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house, 32 then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.

33 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house, 34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.

35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.

37 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, 38 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, 40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.

41 “Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house, 43 hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name.

44 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to the Lord toward the city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, 45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

46 “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; 47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly’; 48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; 49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are Your people and Your inheritance which You have brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), 52 that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You. 53 For You have separated them from all the peoples of the earth as Your inheritance, as You spoke through Moses Your servant, when You brought our fathers forth from Egypt, O Lord God.”

Solomon’s Benediction

54 When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven. 55 And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying:

56 “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. 57 May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else. 61 Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”

Dedicatory Sacrifices

62 Now the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before the Lord. 63 Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the Lord, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord. 64 On the same day the king consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, because there he offered the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings; for the bronze altar that was before the Lord was too small to hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings.

65 So Solomon observed the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, for seven days and seven more days, even fourteen days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David His servant and to Israel His people.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 12 – OT Reading

1 Kings 7

 

Solomon’s Palace

Now Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house. He built the house of the forest of Lebanon; its length was 100 cubits and its width 50 cubits and its height 30 cubits, on four rows of cedar pillars with cedar beams on the pillars. It was paneled with cedar above the side chambers which were on the 45 pillars, 15 in each row. There were artistic window frames in three rows, and window was opposite window in three ranks. All the doorways and doorposts had squared artistic frames, and window was opposite window in three ranks.

Then he made the hall of pillars; its length was 50 cubits and its width 30 cubits, and a porch was in front of them and pillars and a threshold in front of them.

He made the hall of the throne where he was to judge, the hall of judgment, and it was paneled with cedar from floor to floor.

His house where he was to live, the other court inward from the hall, was of the same workmanship. He also made a house like this hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom Solomon had married.

All these were of costly stones, of stone cut according to measure, sawed with saws, inside and outside; even from the foundation to the coping, and so on the outside to the great court.

10 The foundation was of costly stones, even large stones, stones of ten cubits and stones of eight cubits. 11 And above were costly stones, stone cut according to measure, and cedar. 12 So the great court all around had three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams even as the inner court of the house of the Lord, and the porch of the house.

Hiram’s Work in the Temple

13 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 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.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 11 – OT Reading

1 Kings 5-6

 

1 Kings 5

Alliance with King Hiram

Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David. Then Solomon sent word to Hiram, saying, “You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’ Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”

When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the Lord today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” So Hiram sent word to Solomon, saying, “I have heard the message which you have sent me; I will do what you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber. My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea; and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place where you direct me, and I will have them broken up there, and you shall carry them away. Then you shall accomplish my desire by giving food to my household.” 10 So Hiram gave Solomon as much as he desired of the cedar and cypress timber. 11 Solomon then gave Hiram 20,000 kors of wheat as food for his household, and twenty kors of beaten oil; thus Solomon would give Hiram year by year. 12 The Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a covenant.

Conscription of Laborers

13 Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. 14 He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. 15 Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, 16 besides Solomon’s 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. 17 Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones. 18 So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house.

1 Kings 6

The Building of the Temple

Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord. As for the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, its length was sixty cubits and its width twenty cubits and its height thirty cubits. The porch in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits in length, corresponding to the width of the house, and its depth along the front of the house was ten cubits. Also for the house he made windows with artistic frames. Against the wall of the house he built stories encompassing the walls of the house around both the nave and the inner sanctuary; thus he made side chambers all around. The lowest story was five cubits wide, and the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide; for on the outside he made offsets in the wall of the house all around in order that the beams would not be inserted in the walls of the house.

The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.

The doorway for the lowest side chamber was on the right side of the house; and they would go up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. So he built the house and finished it; and he covered the house with beams and planks of cedar. 10 He also built the stories against the whole house, each five cubits high; and they were fastened to the house with timbers of cedar.

11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon saying, 12 Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”

14 So Solomon built the house and finished it. 15 Then he built the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the ceiling he overlaid the walls on the inside with wood, and he overlaid the floor of the house with boards of cypress. 16 He built twenty cubits on the rear part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the ceiling; he built them for it on the inside as an inner sanctuary, even as the most holy place. 17 The house, that is, the nave in front of the inner sanctuary, was forty cubits long. 18 There was cedar on the house within, carved in the shape of gourds and open flowers; all was cedar, there was no stone seen. 19 Then he prepared an inner sanctuary within the house in order to place there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in height, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold. And he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold. 22 He overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar which was by the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.

23 Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 Five cubits was the one wing of the cherub and five cubits the other wing of the cherub; from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing were ten cubits. 25 The other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubim were of the same measure and the same form. 26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub. 27 He placed the cherubim in the midst of the inner house, and the wings of the cherubim were spread out, so that the wing of the one was touching the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall. So their wings were touching each other in the center of the house. 28 He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.

29 Then he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, inner and outer sanctuaries. 30 He overlaid the floor of the house with gold, inner and outer sanctuaries.

31 For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the lintel and five-sided doorposts. 32 So he made two doors of olive wood, and he carved on them carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread the gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.

33 So also he made for the entrance of the nave four-sided doorposts of olive wood 34 and two doors of cypress wood; the two leaves of the one door turned on pivots, and the two leaves of the other door turned on pivots. 35 He carved on it cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; and he overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the engraved work. 36 He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams.

37 In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Why Even the Wise May Fall

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

While reading through Proverbs 19, part of our reading for today, I was struck by verse 27.  This follows along the lines of what I wrote about last week in regard to wisdom.

“Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 19:27 ESV)

One of the saddest tragedies in the Bible is the story of King Solomon. I will explore Solomon’s life over the next three weeks in my blog. What lessons can we learn from him?  This week we will focus on his accomplishments, his legacy. We must ask ourselves what went wrong?

As I wrote last week – we can learn wisdom the hard way or we can learn by the teaching of scripture and lives of others.

As we read though 1 Kings 1-11, we read the story of this great king. Solomon was one of the greatest kings the world has ever seen.

Yet at the end of his life he made one of the most foolish choices that anyone has ever made, with disastrous consequences for himself and his kingdom. How can we learn to avoid making the same mistakes that Solomon made?

Born into royalty, Solomon starts well – we learn that almost everything he ever did was a success. He was a master builder – he built the great Temple, a grand palace, and the great stables for his many horses.

He was wealthy beyond measure.

Above all, Solomon was a man of wisdom, for this was the unique gift that distinguished him from all others, the gift that he received from God.

Solomon was the wisest man in the world—maybe the wisest man in history (apart from the Son of God, of course).

People came from all over the world to hear what Solomon had to say.  When the Queen of Sheba witnessed first hand his wisdom, his wealth, his palace and the temple, scripture says it took her breath away! (1 Kings 10:5)

Countless people have enjoyed his writings – Song of Solomon and Proverbs for thousands of years.

Solomon was also a man of prayer.

Solomon’s dedicatory prayer in 1 Kings 8:22-53 is one of the best prayers in the entire Bible, a model for thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and praise. I will review this prayer in next week’s blog and how it moved me while on vacation!

So, how did a man, such a godly and wise man fall into such disgrace?

He forgot his own teaching – “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

I am sure folks of the day would have said, “others may fail, others may fall, but surely not Solomon!”

So what can we learn?

The Christian walk is made up of daily choices.  The smallest of sins can grow and grow until we find ourselves in a bad place wondering how we ever got there.

Somewhere along the way we convince ourselves these little choices are not that bad, no one will know – God will forgive me.

I pray we all examine our own lives this week, are there “little” sins, bad choices that you are making that need to stop? Secret stuff no one knows about that you would be embarrassed or worse disgraced if others found out?

May you heed this proverb and never cease to hear instruction, and never stray from the words of knowledge.  Call upon the Holy Spirit that He may keep your heart true!

Until next time…  Keep reading!

Jim

Sources used for this blog – ESV Bible, NASB Bible, Reformed Expository Commentary – I Kings by Philip Graham Ryken (I love this series!)