I hope your weekend — especially your Lord’s Day — was a good one. I hope your spirit was lifted and your were given the courage and direction for the week ahead.
Our reading today looks at the official dedication and occupation of the Temple that Solomon built. Once again, much of this material is similar to what we’ve already read and commented on in 1 Kings, so I’ll be commenting on some lesser details today, which I think are nevertheless interesting and useful. For example…
Missing — (5:10) Despite the fact that the ark had by the end of Israel’s wilderness sojourn contained three important items (the stone tablets, a golden pot of Manna, and Aaron’s miraculously budding rod — Heb. 9:4), somewhere along the line of the ark’s travels (Shiloh, the Philistines, Beth-Shemesh, Kiriath-jearim, Obed-Edom) two of the three items went missing. They purpose was to remind Israel of a couple of important principles: 1) the LORD provided and provides, and 2) don’t rebel against God’s order. One wonders if there was any correlation between their loss and Israel’s later forgetfulness of who their Provider was (manifested in the paganism of the 8th and 9th century BC) and what God’s order was (witness the strange priesthood of the northern kingdom of Israel).
And do we also forget? Have the times that God has provided for us gotten lost in the mists of minor memories? Have we concluded that prosperity is all up to us — our skills, education, and professional networks? Have the clear roles that God has given gotten misplaced in the tides of trends, time, and transition? Have we forgotten who the head of the family is, what place and rights parents have, and what place children hold (How is the “new family” model working out for your marriage and family?)? Have we forgotten the organization of the church with its elders and deacons and preachers and teachers (as opposed to a pyramidal hierarchy of bishops, arch-bishops, cardinals, etc.)?
Will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? — (6:18) I sometimes wonder if we sufficiently appreciate the awesome privilege of God in our midst in worship. Or the incarnation of the Son of God, Immanuel, Jesus. Or more profound yet, Deity living in us in the Holy Spirit! Solomon was greatly impressed with just the idea of God inhabiting the Temple: “But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built.” 2 Chronicles 6:18, NAS95. Will it truly become mundane, commonplace, and ordinary to us? For the God who demanded that men take off their sandals, because they were standing on holy ground, shall we get comfortable and casual? Paul said, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11, NAS95.
Have a great week. See you tomorrow, Lord willing.