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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Temple of God or Temple of Doom (1 Kings 9:6-7)

"But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples."

Building a temple for the Lord wasn't an end but a beginning of greater accountability and responsibility. The temple symbolized God's presence, but God's continued presence and blessing were also conditional. God is not adverse to destroying something that once brought Him pleasure when it ceases to fulfill the purposes for which He created it. God has always been more interested in the hearts and obedience of His people than in buildings.

Post Christian Europe testifies of a past generation who placed more emphasis on large and ornate buildings than on obedience and evangelism. Many of those churches which flourished with life, though beautiful on the outside, now stand empty. Every generation has the opportunity and responsibility to fulfill the purposes of God with the tools, talents, and energy God has given to them--not to build ornate buildings but to build people who, in turn, build people. The saddest commentary on a people who once breathed with the life of God is that they become "a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples."

China's house church movement testifies that spiritual life is much more than maintaining a building with a steeple, but the building of a people who touch the world for Christ.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
1 Kings 8:62-66; 9:1-9; 2 Chronicles 7:4-22
  • What conditions does God place on His promised blessings to Solomon and his descendants?
  • Why does God place conditions on His continued blessings?
Psalm 132 - This psalm was written in response to the fulfillment of David's desire to build a temple as God's dwelling place. What does the temple's presence in Jerusalem do for Israel?

I Kings 9:1-9; 2 Chronicles 7:11-22
  • Review Deuteronomy 28:15ff. How does God's response to Solomon in the completion of the temple reflect the the cursings found in the Deuteronomy passage? What does this tell you about God? about human nature?
1 Kings 9:10-14, 24-25; 10:22; 2 Chronicles 8:1-6, 17-18; 9:11-19, 26-28; 9:21
  • Describe Solomon's treatment of those who've helped him in building the temple and his palace.
  • What does Solomon do that violates God's regulations regarding intermarriage?
  • Describe Solomon's other business expansions.
Turning truth into prayer
Pray for your church. Ask the Lord to allow the people of your church to experience His manifest presence.