125 - Solomon Builds the Temple
David knew that he would not build a permanent dwelling place for God (see #110 - April 20). God had made it clear to him that Solomon would have that privilege when he became king. But to help his son, David had drawn up the plans and collected many of the materials needed for the project. Shortly after his father’s death, Solomon issued orders for construction to begin. The Temple was to be built on Mount Moriah, in exactly the same place that God had appeared to his father David (see #120 - April 30). Solomon arranged for King Hiram of Phoenicia to supply all the cedar and juniper logs that were needed. Hiram’s men cut the logs, hauled them to the Mediterranean Sea, and floated them like rafts to a landing place in Israel. The Israelites then lugged the lumber up the mountain to Jerusalem. In exchange, Solomon provided King Hiram with lots of wheat and olive oil for his country. Solomon sent thousands of his men to Phoenicia to help with the logging process. He also drafted 150,000 men to cut and transport stones from quarries in Israel. All the chiseling and the hammering were done at the quarries so there would be no noise at the construction site. The Temple Solomon built was about twice the size of the Tabernacle, but the floor plan was the same (see #51 - February 20). It was divided into two rooms. The larger outer section was the Holy Place, and the inner sanctuary was the Holy of Holies. However, instead of curtains, the walls were lined with cedar and covered with gold. The furnishings were designed like those in the Tabernacle with gifted craftsmen providing ornate and intricate details. While Solomon was overseeing the construction, God spoke to him. He said, “If you continue to obey all my commandments, I will fulfill my promise to your father, David. I will come to live among my people and not abandon them.” It took seven years, but finally the Temple was completed. Solomon assembled the leaders from all the tribes of Israel. He instructed the priests to carry the Ark of God to the Temple and place it beneath the wings of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies. The Ark contained the two tablets of stone on which Moses had written God’s Covenant with His people (see #50 - February 19). In the courtyard outside the Temple, trumpeters and musicians sang praises and gave thanks to God. King Solomon stood on top of a bronze platform near the altar. He turned to face the people. First, he blessed them. Then he knelt on the platform and prayed that God would hear His people whenever they confessed their sins and asked forgiveness. He prayed that Gentiles would be drawn to the temple by God’s glory, and that “all the people on the earth would come to know that there is no other God.” When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices, and the glory of God’s presence filled the temple. God had moved in!
God loves to live among His people! He wants us to experience His glory! There is no longer a physical Temple for Him to call His dwelling place, but when we accept what Jesus did for us, God’s Spirit comes to live inside each of us. We become His dwelling place! Are you aware of His presence in your life? Are you experiencing the awesome power of His glory? Are others drawn to Him because of what they see in you?