Devotions on 1 Kings 5:1-5, 8:1-13–Solomon’s Temple
October 23-29, 2017
Monday, October 23, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“Now the Lord has given me rest on every side” (1Kings 5:4).
Jill Kildare held her husband’s hand as she surveyed the construction of an office building. Eventually, the building would house the headquarters of Jill’s expanding service empire. “You have worked hard, and you have a lot to be proud of,” Jill’s husband said as he gave her hand a squeeze. “You’re right. It has been a lot of work and I am proud of it,” Jill replied. “God’s the reason for the success, though. God’s Spirit moved me to come up with a way to do things differently and to transform people’s lives.” Like Solomon, Jill saw her success as a gift from the Lord. Success for both Solomon and Jill was a time to draw closer to God rather than wander away from God.
We frequently celebrate that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God. The Lord walks with us through our most difficult times. Often, it is in our darkest hour that we rediscover God’s presence and love. Yet, God is with us in our successful times, also. We can celebrate God’s presence and blessings in success as much as we give thanks for it in struggles. All of life is a gift from a loving God.
Lord, thank you for the successes of our lives. Help us always to give you the credit for them. Amen.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“So I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God” (1 Kings 5:5).
Solomon had been greatly blessed by the Lord. In response, he determined that he would do great things for the Lord. He would build God a temple. Solomon would use the finest materials to build a magnificent structure that could be seen for miles around. Building such a temple was something the Solomon felt he was called, by God, to do.
We have all been richly blessed by the Lord. As followers of Jesus, we have also been called to use our blessings to accomplish great things by sharing God’s love and grace and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us. Each one of us has our specific calling.
Lord, open our ears so that we may hear your call to us and give us willing hearts to obey. Amen.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“To bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion” (1 Kings 8:1).
In the upper right hand drawer of his office desk, Jim kept the Bible he received at his confirmation. It was an old KJV, so he didn’t read from it often. Newer versions were a lot easier to read and understand. The Bible was, however, a symbol of the spiritual journey on which he traveled. Carlotta kept a small pocket cross in her purse. She had received it during a women’s retreat several years ago. It was a physical reminder to her of God’s presence in her life and of God’s love.
Solomon incorporated the old within the new. He did build a new temple to the Lord, but he brought up the “old” ark of the covenant with the tablets of stone. The ark reminded all of Israel of the centuries old covenant that God had made with them—that they would be God’s people and that The Lord would be their God. Many symbols, whether they be ark, Bible, cross or something else, remind us of God’s steadfast love and overwhelming grace.
Lord, forbid that we would ever forget your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.
Thursday, October 26, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place in the most holy place” (1 Kings 8:6).
Solomon’s temple was a sight to behold. It was built of cedar, white marble, gold, and bronze. The vestments of the priests were made of precious stones. So many animals were sacrificed that they couldn’t be numbered. It would have been easy to simply be in awe of the temple and the worship activities. As wonderful as the temple was, it was not the reason for the worship that took place within it. After all, it was simply a building. What was important was that the ark of the covenant of the Lord was in place in the most holy place. God was present.
It is easy for us to be dazzled by the trappings of religion and tempted to forget the God whom we worship. Pipe organs, worship bands, mega churches, sanctuaries, stained glass windows and the like are all impressive. The core of the Christian faith, though, is a loving, powerful, present God who is made known through words and acts of love and grace.
Lord, may you always be at the center of our worship, our service and our lives. Amen.
Friday, October 27, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses had placed there at Horeb” (1 Kings 8:9).
The two tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments were the only items that were in the ark of the covenant. They were a gift from God to the Israelites. Their purpose was to enable the Israelites to live together as God’s people. They also reminded the people how often they needed God’s forgiveness and mercy. On top of the ark was the mercy seat. Once a year the high priest would approach the holy of holies and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat for the forgiveness of the People of God.
The law and God’s forgiveness and mercy are so much a part of our lives, as followers of Jesus. Each day we realize that we are at the same time sinners and saints. We seek to share God’s love and grace and to proclaim the good news of Jesus. At the same time, we say and do things that do not give glory to God and we wrestle with our innate desire to “have it our way.” Thankfully, we also experience God’s forgiveness and mercy because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We live as people who are both loved and forgiven.
Thank you, Lord, for your love and forgiveness. Amen.
Saturday, October 28, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“The cloud filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10).
A cloud descended upon Mt. Sinai when Moses received the Ten Commandment. A cloud led the Israelites through the wilderness during the day. After the ark of the covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies and the priests moved away, a cloud, God’s presence, filled the temple.
The Lord is no longer confined to the temple. God’s presence has descended upon each of us, as followers of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has filled us, moves in us and flows through us. God’s presence never left Solomon’s temple. In the same manner, God promises never to be separated from us.
Lord, thank you that you have filled us with your Holy Spirit and will never leave us. Amen.
Sunday, October 29, 2017–Solomon’s Temple
“I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell forever” (1 Kings 8:13).
Solomon built a magnificent temple to the Lord. It was a place for the Lord to dwell forever. Centuries later, the apostle Paul reminded his readers that they we’re temples of the Lord and encouraged them to take care of their temples. Paul’s words are good advice to us, also.
As followers of Jesus, we have been filled with the Holy Spirit. We have been called to share God’s love and grace in our words and actions. Our temples (bodies) need to be in good shape in order to accomplish our calling. Our bodies are gifts and, just like all of God’s gifts, we are instructed to take care of them.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of our bodies. Help us to care for our bodies, so that we can better serve you. Amen