Solomon’s story is truly an example of what can happen, when the LORD is blessing us. Today’s reading continues with Solomon’s meteoric rise in power, wisdom, and riches.
In short order Solomon has organized his government and exercised wide control over neighboring nations from the west bank of the Euphrates down to the border of Egypt. God had certainly fulfilled His promises: to Abraham (4:20), to David (2 Sam. 7), and to Solomon (3:10ff). Solomon and his reign was the pinnacle of Israel’s prosperity and righteousness; the perfect type to Jesus Christ’s antitype.
And like Solomon who built the Temple, Jesus built the greater and lasting Temple of God, the church. The Temple of Solomon was a fabulous structure. It was constructed of costly stones, costly panels of cedar, and overlaid with gold. It was second to none in beauty and grandeur, suitable for the one and only true and living God.
And when Jesus built His church (“in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,” Ephesians 2:21, NAS95.) it likewise is second to none, perfect, needing no improvements by men.
As a reflection, I went to a funeral today. It was in a Catholic Church. The church was old, but it was really quite beautiful with coffered ceiling, lots of beautiful stained glass, and well-done architecture overall. From a material perspective it was a beautiful “church”. People like to build beautiful churches, because they want to offer to God their best. But the Bible never refers to the church as a building, the church is always God’s people. So the really important question is not how beautiful your building is, but how beautiful your church is to God? And what would God see as real beauty?
Faithfulness to His commands and teachings? Compelled by genuine love and commitment to Him? A real love for each other? Godliness? Compassion for the poor, the weak, and the helpless? Light in a dark world? Purity in the midst of corruption? Holiness? Full of good works? Courageous? Ready and willing to share the Gospel? A people who really know Him and His word?
The gold is great to human eye, the stained glass may sparkle, the architecture may impress men; but they aren’t what the Lord is looking for. Let’s offer to God our true best, which isn’t marble and artwork and baroque finish work. Our true best is harder to deliver, because our true best isn’t material, it is our best discipleship.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.