I Kings 5:1-6:38; Acts 7:1-29; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 16:28-30
I so love how the Bible weaves together. Today, we have the building of the temple, then the first portion of Stephen’s sermon which basically recaps our January readings and then our psalm, which brings it all back together: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1).
The desire to build a house for God was one of David’s greatest wishes, but God granted it to his son instead, since he wanted his house to be built in a time and by a man of peace. Solomon does not take this privilege lightly but rather spends seven years and all the best materials and all the best laborers to make it happen. Can you even imagine a project on this scope? Every time Ian and I do a house renovation project (and by “do” I mean hire people) we must say a dozen times, “Wow, this is so much more work and money than we thought!” Just imagine the temple – 60 cubits long by 20 cubits wide by 30 cubits high – in case you’re not up to date on your cubits, that’s 90 feet by 30 feet by 45 feet, not counting the vestibule and other structures attached to it. So it was about a fourth of the size of a football field – that’s pretty impressive architecture for that time period! And this temple lasted from Solomon’s time (970-931 BCE) until its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (587 BCE).
Because of the political and religious unrest and sensitives in that area, there haven’t been any excavations in modern times of the remains of Solomon’s temple, so we don’t have access to the artifacts we might have otherwise. But there are still plenty of historical renderings that are helpful in giving us a picture of what it might have looked like:
Ah, that just makes me wish I could go to Israel and see these amazing ruins and historical sites!
Before I wrap it up, I wanted to comment on a few other verses: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:3-5). Between my brothers and sisters, we have 18 children. Clearly, we’ve taken this psalm seriously and then some! But truly, children are a blessing and the babies in our family, whether 19 like my oldest nephew or 19 months like my son who is the youngest, are loved and cherished as a heritage. A warrior needs his arrows in order to be victorious and successful; we need children to teach us about God’s immense love and to shape us to be more selfless. This is, I will readily admit, sometimes a painful process – as my 5-year-old daughter said to me yesterday, “It doesn’t really help us get dressed faster when you yell, Mom.” Parenting is not always easy nor does it always bring out the best. But parenting transforms us and blesses us and I’m so grateful for my children.
May your day today be full of God’s goodness and blessing!
- Esther McCurry
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