Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for May 11, 2 Chr 2-5

Today’s readings are 2 Chr 2-5.

Preparations for the temple begin in 2 Chr 2. This is a huge moment for Israel, a permanent home for God among His people, tangible evidence, not just of His presence, but of their abundance and blessing. Solomon is blessed with incredible wisdom and favor among the rulers in the region. There is peace under Solomon's rule. He conscripts 153,600 non-Israelites to do the work.

The temple is built on Mt Moriah over the threshing floor of Onan (1 Chr 21:15-28) in 2 Ch 3. It is huge (about 90 ft long and 30 ft wide) and beautiful. To provide some concept of scale, the wings of the cherubim (2 Chr 3:11) extend for about thirty feet. The gold used in building it was near 40,000 lbs. At today’s value, the gold alone would be worth close to one billion dollars.

2 Chr 4 looks back on the amenities of the temple with much more detail than when it was depicted in 1 Kgs 7. The Chronicler has little to say about the palace but much to say about the temple, Hiram and the prayers that were uttered. When 1 Kgs 7 was written, Solomon's palace seemed quite the spectacle. The author of 1 Kgs spent a lot of time describing the king’s home. However, by the time 2 Chr 4 is written, we see by how much it is emphasized that the temple was the truly remarkable structure. It would have a long and enduring impact on Israel while Solomon's palace would fade from memory.

This should cause us to consider what influences us the most. There are times when our circumstances, at the moment they occur, seem to have tremendous significance. Only time will tell whether they are truly significant or not. One thing we can count on, though, is that those things that truly place God at the forefront, like the temple, will endure.

The temple is dedicated, and the ark is brought into the Holy of Holies in 2 Chr 5:1-11. The chronicler places great emphasis on the role of the priests and Levites, demonstrating that the temple will be a place of ministry and worship. Note, in 2 Chr 5:6, an untold number of sheep and oxen are sacrificed in dedicating the temple. This is symbolic of the bloodshed needed for God to be reconciled to His people and live among them. It is a harbinger of the blood Jesus will one day shed to reconcile God’s people to Himself.

So, we see an emphasis on the king in 1 Kgs 8 and an emphasis on the priests and worship in 2 Chr 5. Combined, we can see the importance of a king and priests to the worship of God. Working together, the end-result is God’s glory descending on the temple. Solomon and Israel are unaware at this point that everything they are doing is a shadow of the One who will come that will be King and High Priest, bringing us into the presence of God.  

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