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A Midweek Devotional - Relative Priorities

In 1 Kings 6-9 we read about the building of the temple. King Solomon oversaw its construction and dedication. It was to be the earthly representation of God’s dwelling place among His people and the center of worship and sacrifice in the Holy City. From Unfolding Grace:

“(The temple) is filled with echoes of Eden: open flowers, lamp stands shaped like trees, the presence of God with His people. This temple, like Eden, is where heaven and earth meet.

But this is only a partial and largely symbolic restoration of God’s kingdom. The temple is a symbol-filled model that reminds us of Eden and looks forward to a new creation, a new and better Eden, where God will dwell with His people in paradise."

Wednesday, May 26th

Larger Portion of Scripture - 1 Kings 6-9

Focused Passage for Reflection - 1 Kings 6:37-7:1

Reflecting on the Text:

While we’ve already described Solomon’s complicated legacy, the complication continues to unfold. He constructed the temple and superintended every last ornate detail. He provided for an extravagant offering at the temple dedication. And all of this sacrificial work doesn’t appear to be all for show.

But something was missing. In 1 Kings 6:38 and 7:1, the Word of God intentionally presents a contrast. This contrast comes in the form of construction time frames, and they are not given by coincidence. The contrast has meaning.

From 6:38 referring to the temple, “…the house was finished in all its parts…”, and “He was seven years in building it.” The temple was to be God’s house. Then, in 7:1, “Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished his entire house.” Just to be clear, the Word is making note that Solomon took nearly twice as long to build his house as he did in building a house for the Lord. Additionally, he completed the entirety of his house in that time, while only completing the parts of the Lord’s house. The temple wouldn’t finally be completed until the interior was finished, as mentioned in 7:51 (an undetermined time frame).

We don’t mention this discrepancy to nit-pick the relative time of construction. No, instead the Word seems to be exposing the relative priority behind each construction project. Solomon did a great work in building the temple for the Lord, but he seemed to place more emphasis on a house for himself.

The contrast is striking and must lead to some self-reflection. But we also must be careful in our application. I don’t believe the Lord is telling us to examine the construction schedule for our church building versus that of our private homes. Instead, I believe He is calling us to examine the relative priority we place on the Kingdom of God versus the emphasis we place on self pleasures. Where is our heart, and where is our treasure?

Solomon’s legacy was complicated indeed. These chapters point to the glory of the Lord reflected in the temple construction. But as we read, and as we consider the earthly builder, they also challenge us to look beyond the glitter and gold. Solomon’s reign was a time of peace and unmatched prosperity, but He was not the Redeemer. His legacy forces us to look beyond him…to the Word who became flesh, and who dwelt among us.

Questions for personal reflection:

  • What relative value are you placing on your relationship with Jesus?

  • What relative value are you assigning to the things of the Lord?

  • When you consider the cross, what relative value has the Lord placed on you?

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