AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH OCTOBER 2, 2005
Solomon, the Temple and the Truth –
I Kings and I Chronicles
THE SACRIFICE OF PRAYER AND THE PROVISION OF POWER
IN ONE SAVIOUR, ONCE SENT, ONCE SACRIFICED, ALWAYS LORD
THE PROVISIONS FOR SOLOMON
Solomon was a blessed son in some ways. His father, King David, had chosen him; had provided enormous funds and gear for the temple to be built and might well have built it himself. Indeed, the prophet Nathan had in himself, thought it good. However, the Lord prohibited this, since David had been so much in war; and the Lord required a peaceful son to do this task. By this time, the struggle with the descendants of Saul was over; the kingdom was united; the resources both ethical, biddable and material were enormous; the King of Tyre was willing to contribute much in the way of timber: the scene was set.
No more would there be a simple, movable “ark of the covenant” containing such items as the rod of Aaron which budded and the law. Now the specifications for the temple could be amply fulfilled, and the ONE place of worship so long foretold, could be gained, a pattern resplendent and a very model and marvel to all, whether in Israel or out of it (cf. Ps. 48). The fulfilment of promise in architectural format (Ps. 132), it was a powerful exhibit of the covenant of the Lord (Ps. 122).
This TEMPLE could not be moved. In this, it was unlike the Ark, which in fact was sent into the battle against the Philistines, in a time of national sin, and being captured, brought the captors a lethal epidemic. Indeed, on its return with fear to Israel, this spread to many in Israel too (I Sam. 4-6), until the Lord was sought in His awesome reality, and symbols were no more used as if they themselves had power. Not so! It was the Lord who gave these symbols to signify aspects of Himself, His people, and their salvation. There never was scope for the ‘mass’ mentality, symbol masquerading as base, and it is now as it was then, deadly! (Heb. 9-10).
THE POINT FOR SOLOMON
Fittingly, the site for Solomon’s temple itself was gained for sacrifice by divine direction (I Chronicles 21ff.), in the midst of a plague. This broke out when numerical strength too much fascinated King David in a census operation, implacably pursued, instead of that real and reliable rest ONLY on the Lord. This gives a message applicable concerning money, no less, to this day. At that time, God showed a place where sacrifice could be made, the famous threshing floor of Ornan. This became the symbolic site for something substantial to come, that ONE PLACE which, ordained by God from the first, was now chosen. Misused by men, however, even this yielded to Calvary, outside the gate, for Christ, fresh from Temple condemnation. The temple curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn, as He died, completing the symbolism.
How firmly God told them of that one place for their covenanted sacrifice. Review it, if you will in... Deuteronomy 12:5-11, 14:23, 26:2, Joshua 9:27. I Kings 8:29, Psalm 78:68, 132:13-14, and II Chronicles 7:16, 33:4. Not only does the God of Israel choose a place – and it is in Jerusalem as we see in these scriptures; but He goes considerably further. Having shown Solomon the place of which He has spoken, He gives a disciplinary forecast which is also a teaching announcement for all the world. lt would be near to criminal to neglect, from the only God there is, an announcement of such clarity and high impact!
Thus He declares to Solomon, as seen, in II Chronicles 7:16,19-21 that "I have chosen and sanctified this house"; and in terms of the covenant then in force, the choice is announced as perpetual; and then... "If you turn away and forsake My statues and My commandments... and go and serve other gods..."
(and Christ said:
'If God were
your Father you would love me'...
John 8:42, and
then ? then ? what does the divine King tell His people He will do, if they so forsake Him ?
"Then I will uproot them from My land..." (done),
"and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight..." (done), and
"will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations..." (done).
All this is painful; so was the crucifixion. The physical pain of it may have been the least! For Jew or Gentile, turning from Him is a spiritual plague, whether to self or symbol, some other Christ or some diminutive fraud as if deity!
THE POINT FOR US
The temple symbolised Christ (Hebrews 8-10), who would become 1) the TEMPLE as the holy place for seeking the Lord and finding Him, 2) the SACRIFICE to be made in it, the site the Cross, and 3) the PRIEST who would offer it: not this time once per year, but once for the whole field of history. THUS the temple symbolising these things could be in ONLY one place. Christ came to one nation to be crucified in one place and to return to His own place. Towards it, as symbolising Christ, was prayer to be presented, whether in sickness or defeat, in pestilence or in surging problems; and WHEN such relief was believingly sought by the people, then would the answer come. As to that Temple, its magnificence was proverbial, its structures requiring years of team-gang labour and prodigious wealth, which the powerful kingdom of Solomon continually gained, as did his many commercial operations, for which he is likewise famed.
For the meaning, the case is not different today. Now the MEANING is complete too! The TEMPLE IS JESUS THE CHRIST, Himself IN ONE PLACE, since He came from heaven to Judah, to Calvary, and returned to heaven (Acts 3:19-21) till His time to take over the rule of this earth, and the final restitution, regeneration of all things. There by His Spirit you seek Him (John 16:7-15). If you look ELSEWHERE, or in combination, then your defences are dim, your outrage is vast and your result is wrath from the Lord. It is like coming into the very presence of the Field Marshall, and asking some alien corporal for orders! Christ’s only is the work, He is the site, and to Him only must prayer be made!
Christ’s only is the work, He alone the Offeror. He is the site, and to Him only must prayer be made!
What COULD you expect of other abandons, fealty to spiritual lusts, not the eternal and living God ? Indeed, only idolatry duplicates Calvary! That, it is treachery, offence against truth, sacrifice of it, mockery of the Lord God, breach of the obvious, a figment wrought by those who enact it, instead of resting in the sacrifice of Christ, finished and perfect (Hebrews 2:1-3, 9:12-28).
THE PRAYER OF SOLOMON and of the LORD'S PEOPLE – I Kings 8
Solomon's temple figured what Christ did in fact.
Here was the place, and it symbolised the eternal divine nature, the everlasting Gospel and the grace of God, together with the law of His truth. God is far too great to dwell in houses made with hands, said Solomon (I Kings 8:27), and indeed the Temple pointed beyond itself to a building made without hands (Mark 14:58), the body of the Son of God incarnate, then still to come, to that final Leader and Lord as Moses had foretold (Deut.18:15), to whom all would heed, if they wanted life, the criterion in Himself. This temple HE would rebuild without hands, following His crucifixion, as He intimated beforehand (John 2:19-20), when cleansing the Temple! God, said Solomon would not fail to leave Israel a King (I Kings 8:24ff.), nor did He. It was the promised Immanuel, who came: available and despised, crucified but to return for one and for all who trusted in and knew Him (John 14:1-9, 17:1-3), first in Spirit then as sovereign when the time appointed came (Hebrews 9:28, Acts 1:7ff., Isaiah 11, 59, 66).
Despite the predicted plagues and loss of land for Israel (Deut. 32, Lev. 26), for their unbelief, HE did not change: the Commander of the Host of Joshua (Josh. 5:13ff.), whom Joshua rightly worshipped, His word remained true from the first, as it does to the last.
Let Your eyes be open toward this Temple, implored the praying Solomon, the place where you said your Name would dwell. Again that name is unlike any other name, and fulfilled, it is the name which is above every name (Phil. 2), by which ALONE God, the ONLY Saviour (Is. 43:10-11, Acts 4:12) saves! It is in Christ all now must realise this name is to be FOUND, just as it is PLACED there, set in His incarnation.
To this PLACE, now this PERSON, must distress and sickness, plague (of mind, body or spirit) be brought; when defeat looms, to this Person does one come, do His people come, for VICTORY (cf. I John 5:4).
“whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hand toward this temple …
then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know
(for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men) –
that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers”
(I Kings 8:38ff.).
Note it is ANY ONE or ALL involved in this prayer (cf. John 14:12, Mark 11:23-24): it may be individual or corporate. Notice also that now the CHURCH, the believers in Christ Jesus are a special people (I Peter 2:9), and they seek to act in cohorts of togetherness (cf. the prayer of Acts 4, and the result!). Do not therefore fail to assemble for prayer with His people, nor short-circuit the road of blessing. Observe indeed that GOD KNOWS the state of the heart: it is not a mere pulling of a lever to the Lord. IF you seek it with all your heart where He is (Isaiah 55), and your spirit and soul are genuine and clear in their submission, seeking and love for the Lord, then He who is in heaven is not separated by the squeals, squalls and static of unsurrendered sin (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Therefore ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, first for mercy, then answer, and let your zeal know no bounds; for God in heaven hears, and He answers in Christ, that Temple of Truth, that Site of Sacrifice, that Deity Incarnate, that brightness of His glory. READ I Kings 8 for yourself, and see set in the symbolism of the Temple, the truth concerning prayer; and use it.
How apposite still are Solomon’s words in I Kings 8, for faith and prayer! and never forget the sacrifices of soul-ful praise, “the bull-calves of our lips” (Hosea 14:1-2, Hebrews 12:22-26, 13:13-15).