1 Kings 5:3-5 (NIV) 3 “You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the LORD his God until the LORD put his enemies under his feet. 4 But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. 5 I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’
On verses 1-5: In these verses King Solomon communicates with King Hiram of Tyre, a long time ally of his father David. King Solomon discloses to King Hiram his ambition to build a temple where people can worship the Lord. Solomon notes that this was also his father David’s desire, but David was not able to build the temple because he was always fighting the enemies surrounding him.
What can we learn from this? Here are two lessons I learned:
1. Solomon had a glorious ambition in his heart to build God’s temple, and God used him greatly. Similarly, God wants to use you to build His church. May God place a glorious ambition in your heart to use what He has given you to build His church. May He expand His kingdom through your life so that generations will be blessed.
2. It’s hard for God’s temple to be built in your lifetime when you’re still battling enemies around you. But praise God that through Jesus Christ we have victory over our enemy, Satan, and a peace that surpasses our problems. With Christ’s victory and peace in our lives, we can now work with God on building His temple (His church) in our lives. And since the enemy will still want to rebel and attack (though in a losing cause), we must always be on guard as we build, just like Nehemiah and his teammates rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem while standing guard against their enemies (see Nehemiah 4:16-17).
1 Kings 5:10-12 (NIV) 10 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and pine logs he wanted, 11 and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths this for Hiram year after year. 12 The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
On verses 6-12: Here in these verses King Solomon enters into a peaceful, working relationship with Hiram King of Tyre. In exchange for receiving natural resources (timber) and superior skilled workers from Hiram King of Tyre, King Solomon provides food (in particular, wheat and pressed olive oil) for Hiram’s royal household. Verse 12b suggests that this arrangement was wise and pleasing in God’s eyes.
What can we learn from this? Do not wrongly assume that to be set apart for God means that you must have no interaction at all with the non-believing world. Rather, we are to have wise and strategic dealings with non-believers, capitalizing on their resources and skills, and also making the most of opportunities to share our most precious food — Jesus Christ (our bread of life) and the Holy Spirit (our most precious oil) with them.
1 Kings 5:13-14 (NIV) 13 King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel–thirty thousand men. 14 He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor.
On verses 13-16: Solomon organized his workers in such a way that they would not burn out easily. He allowed his conscripted laborers to spend one month in Lebanon to work and two months at home. What can we learn from this? Be wise in the way you use and manage the resources God has given you. Pace yourself so that your resources are not spread too thin or exhausted too quickly. Have the long-term good in mind.
1 Kings 5:17 (NIV) 17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of quality stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple.
On verses 17-18: King Solomon used the highest quality stone to make the foundation for the temple. Similarly, what material did God use to make the foundation for His church? He chose the most precious, high quality stone there is — Jesus Christ, “a chosen and precious cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:6). Just as the stone Solomon used was taken out of a quarry (or a deep pit), Jesus Christ was buried in a quarry like tomb, but he was taken from there, raised back to life, and become the foundation for His church (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the practical lessons I can learn from Your Word today. May I be a wise steward of all the resources You give me, including the relationships You allow me to have. Just as You built Your church on Your most precious Son Jesus, use me to build Your church too, so that my generation and generations after me will be blessed. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!