Sorry to be late with my post. I spent all day yesterday celebrating the Good News of Easter....Jesus conquered death and made a way for a sinner like me to live eternally. That is incredible news! I hope you had a most blessed Easter. We had nearly 500 in worship....a new record for Faith UMC. Our prayer will be that some of those who heard will return to claim the name of Jesus for themselves and become a part of the Body of Christ. My thanks to all who made Sunday's services possible, including the star of the show, one Jesus of Nazareth.
Spent the afternoon and evening with my family, Easter egg hunt, cook out, family pictures, and an evening around our new fire pit telling stories and playing games. It was a very nice day and the ran stayed away.
Our Bible reading is largely a repeat of the story that we read in 1st Kings as Solomon builds the Temple in Jerusalem and then a short account of his 40 year reign. Just a few thoughts about the story. Number 1, the temple is built on Mt. Moriah. This is thought to be the same place that Abraham offered his son, Isaac, to the Lord. The same place that was the threshing floor upon which David made his offering to God. the same set of hills upon which the story of Easter plays out in the crucifiction of Jesus on Golgotha. Strange that same hill is a place of adoration for Jew and Gentile alike.
That temple would have been an awe inspiring place to see with all the gold, silver and precious stones used in its construction. the inscribed pieces, the gilded artifacts, the awesome columns and statutes would certainly inspire a sense of worship. The Altar would have been a hugely ornate piece to recieve the sacrifices of the people. The numbers of animal sacrifices would have meant that it was, at times, a very bloody place. In a sense, it was a killing place. This was required since the early biblical times. A blood offering was needed to cover the sins of the people and since sin was always among them, it was necessary to offer repeated blood sacrifices. what an appropriate time to link this killing place with the altar that serves all of Christianity.....the altar that is the cross, the place of the sacrifice of the one perfect lamb that covers the sins of all human flesh. this offering was sufficient for all of humanity for all time! How good and gracious was our God to remember us in the time of our need. In the words of Solomon and the Priests as the new temple is dedicated, "He is good; his love endures forever."
The Ark of the covenant is brought into the temple. All the priests are present. The music fills the air. All who are present give thanks to God and in the midst of their worship, the Shekinah Glory (God's presence in the form of a cloud) fills the temple. God is in the house!!! the Glory of God fills the place. Wouldn't that be a marvelous thing to behold. Perhaps, one day, our worship could be so sweet, so pure, that God would bless us with a manifestation of his presence. Now wouldn't that be a most blessed of occasions.
Fire from heaven descends and consumes the offerings. Does that remind you of the day that Elijah aligned himself against the company of 400 agents of evil in the priests of Baal during the days of Jezebel? That fire is purported to have remained on the altar of the temple until Israel was taken into exile by Babylon. Perhaps this is the same fire that visited the disciples on that great day of Pentecost.
Interesting note in the 8th chapter when it speaks of Solomon bringing his wife from Egypt but would not put her in the house that had been consecrated unto the Lord. Is that not evidence that Solomon knew that what he was doing was counter to God's will? Isn't it interesting and scary how often when know the right thing to do but do not do it even though we know that we are sinning against God and living counter to his will and his way? Maybe we are not so different from those sinners that we are reading about.
chapter 9 reminds us of how vast Solomon's wealth was. His annual income from the gold that he recieved in homage was nearly $300,000,000 per year. Proof that great wealth will not necessarily lead us to a life that honors God. Pray not for wealth but that we would walk faithfully with the God who has honored us with a Savior and who has made a place of perfect bliss for our future habitation.
Have a great week. I know I am a chapter short on my reading, but I thought the end of Solomon's life was a good place to quit. I'll try to catch up tomorrow. God bless you!!