1 KINGS 7:1-51 | ACTS 7:30-50 | PSALM 128:1-6 | PROVERBS 16:31-33
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The construction of the Temple has been completed, but it will take a while for it be furnished. In the meantime, King Solomon also begins work on the royal palace, the construction of which takes thirteen years, it is said. The furnishings of the temple are described in the utmost detail: great care is exercised in the selection of the artisans, the materials, the style and patterns of various objects, and their placement within the Temple.
It looks as though Solomon spares no expense in this operation, and the people as a whole are committed to this great endeavor. When it is all done, the text tell us this: 51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we see that Stephen is continuing with his history lesson to the Sanhedrin. He recounts the life and work of Moses, then does the same about David and Solomon. And while acknowledging Solomon’s great work on the temple, Stephen follows that by pointing to a marked distinction between the then and now. The new covenant, he implies, is one that is remarkably different from the old one.
Whereas in the old covenant the people were instructed to handle the sacraments and the holy things in a certain way, the new covenant was one in which you could handle God himself by embracing him in the flesh—like many of the apostles did—and now, by embracing his spirit and housing him within your heart.
God no longer dwelt in temples and such man-made monuments—what a concept!
Stephen says this about Solomon:
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’
I have a feeling that Stephen’s words may not go down too well with the Sanhedrin. It is to be seen what might happen next.
Turning now to our reading of the psalms, we find one in which the psalmist presents an image of a “man who fears the Lord,” which is another way of saying “a person who loves the Lord.” David describes such as person as follows:
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.
Finally, three verses from the book of Proverbs that may serve as food for thought for the day:
31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained in the way of righteousness.
32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
but its every decision is from the LORD.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.