By Allan Bosson
Our Old Testament reading for this week is found in 1 Kings 6-9 and 2 Chronicles 5-7. These chapters, as you will see, have some wonderful truths and great inspirational and extremely important spiritual principles outlined in them. These chapters actually explain the work of King Solomon, along with showing his ability as an architect and builder.
God Jehovah had previously come to King David, Solomon’s father, and spoken to him about building a very special “house of worship,” also called the Temple, in the city of Jerusalem. God, however, denied King David the right to build this holy place because he was a leader who had made some terrible mistakes, which left him, as the Bible describes, “a man with blood on his hands.” So, the task of building this very unique, holy place of worship in Jerusalem was assigned instead to his son Solomon when he would become the King over all of the nation of Israel.
God had required that this Temple be built in Jerusalem. Interestingly, the original name of Jerusalem was Jebus. Before the Israelites conquered the city, it was the home of the Jebusites, a Canaanite tribe who had lived there for many years. It is a city built on seven hills, and it stands 2400 feet above sea level. That is why the Bible always speaks of going “up to Jerusalem.” The name “Jerusalem” actually means “city of peace.” According to the book of Revelation, one day the entire world will experience peace for a thousand years, under the worldwide reign of Jesus from Jerusalem. Often Jerusalem is also called Zion. Mount Zion is the famous hill on which the home of the king and the Temple of the city was built. The emblem of this city is a lion, representing the Lion of Judah, the tribe of Judah, and later the Kingdom of Judah. For more than three thousand years, Jerusalem has been a capital city of one empire after another. No other city in the world has that history attached to it.
One of the main reasons why God requires a particular place of worship in which his followers meet together is to show their love and loyalty to Him by praising, thanking and worshiping Him in a building set aside for such specific worship activity. It is here God promises to meet with His people in special ways, and here also God promises they can receive His special instructions for life from His living Word, the Bible. Of course, God’s vital intention for a place of worship in Solomon’s time is just as significant and important for His followers today. Notice also, that Solomon’s Temple was built in the center of the city for easy access for all. It was also to be distinct in its design. It was not to look like any other building so that folk seeking God could easily and quickly identify His temple and flee there for spiritual help at their time of need.
Many buildings can be used for a variety of purposes, but that is not true of God’s house of worship. God’s house of worship is to be a holy place, a sanctuary from the chaos of the world outside, a place where His Word is taught in all its truth and lived out by those who worship there. Houses of worship are to be set aside for the purpose of upholding and honoring God’s principles and precepts in every way. Doing this had to be the major and most serious endeavor of the builders and later the worshipers, as 2 Chronicles 7: 19-20 makes very clear. If, therefore, those who worshipped in God’s house violated the statutes and commands in God’s Word in any way, He declared that He would bring heavy judgment on the participants. First, God said He would take away any spiritual power from such a place, and second, He would cause those in the city to look with scathing ridicule on not only the members of the Temple but also on the very name of the Lord. So, we clearly see, God plans to use His houses of worship for enormous help and blessing. But, when God’s worship centers are used simply as places of social association and personal benefit, they will lead to hazards both spiritually and physically.