Daily Devotion for July 7, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
For a New Day
Lord, the newness of this day
Calls me to an untried way;
Let me gladly take the road,
Give me strength to bear my load.
Thou my guide and helper be —
I will travel through with Thee.
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord.
For Each of Us in Our Work
Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and who gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
[Coveting the things of this world.]
I dedicate this day to you, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day, and that your face may shine upon me all the day long, that I might do your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
1 Kings 6 (Living Bible)
The Story of Solomon (12) — Building the Temple
It was in the spring of the fourth year of Solomon’s reign that he began the actual construction of the Temple. (This was 480 years after the people of Israel left their slavery in Egypt.) The Temple was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. All along the front of the Temple was a porch thirty feet long and fifteen feet deep.
The stones used in the construction of the Temple were prefinished at the quarry, so the entire structure was built without the sound of hammer, ax, or any other tool at the building site. After completing the Temple, Solomon paneled it all, including the beams and pillars, with cedar.
The entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was paneled with cedar, and the floors were made of cypress boards. The inner room was where the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord was placed. Then he overlaid the interior of the remainder of the Temple with pure gold; and he made gold chains to protect the entrance to the Most Holy Place.
Within the inner sanctuary Solomon placed two statues of Guardian Angels made from olive wood, each fifteen feet high. They were placed so that their outspread wings reached from wall to wall, while their inner wings touched each other at the center of the room. Figures of Guardian Angels, palm trees, and open flowers were carved on all the walls of both rooms of the Temple, and the floor of both rooms was overlaid with gold.
Then he made square doorposts of olive wood for the entrance to the Temple. The wall of the inner court had three layers of hewn stone and one layer of cedar beams.
The foundation of the Temple was laid in the month of May in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, and the entire building was completed in every detail in November of the eleventh year of his reign. So it took seven years to build.
Notes on the Scripture
Solomon’s temple might be the most wonderful and interesting building in the world’s history, because of its significance. It was “the mysterious center of Israel.” It meant far more to Israel than the Vatican to Catholicism or Mecca to Islam. And given that the Jews were God's chosen people, and the construction of the Temple under His control, it was in truth God’s only earthlyThat is, the only building, as the Ark had resided in the tabernacle for roughly 400-500 years prior. palace and temple in the history of the world.
It was a large, elaborate and rich building for the day, when architectural techniques were primitive, although it could not compete in size with later structures, such as the Gothic cathedrals. St. Peter's — which, if you have ever been there, is huge — is over ten times larger. Nevertheless, even today, the Temple would make Wikipedia's list of the largest churches in the world. In one respect, though, the physical structure was impressive as no other building has ever been. It was entirely plated in gold, probably holding the all-time record for the sheer mass of precious metals: something between ten billion and a hundred billion dollars worth, in modern terms.
But it its function, it cannot be compared to a church or cathedral. People did not enter it to worship. Large porches and courtyards surrounded it where worshippers might stand and, if they were lucky to get a good spot, watch the sacrifices on the outside altars. Only the Levitical priests entered the Temple itself, and the Inner Temple, the “Holy of Holies” — the residence of God on Earth — was entered only by the High Priest once a year, on the Day of Atonement. It was 30 feet square and pitch black.
Traditional Orthodox churches are modeled on the Temple; they are even called “temples” sometimes. The congregation stands in the large nave, separated from the altar behind an ornate screen of icons (called an iconostasis) with a door or gate. Only priests enter the center gate into the inner sanctuary (although other boys and men with business behind the screen, such as altar boys and sextons, may enter using a side door). Eucharist is brought through the door into the nave for distribution to the congregation.
Imagine that in the Russian Orthodox church, the Eucharist were celebrated only in a single cathedral; and thus, there was only one altar in the entire church that was holy to God, where His body and blood might be imbued into the bread and wine. That would come close to demonstrating the significance of the Temple to Judaism, during the last millennium B.C. But the Temple contained not simply God's holy altar, but God Himself. His earthly presence existed inside the Inner Temple.
In the time of Christ, adult Jewish men who lived within 15 miles of Jerusalem were required to attend the three pilgrimage festivals in Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost (Festival of Weeks), and the Festival of Tabernacles or Tents. “Three times each year, all your males shall thus present themselves before God the Master, Lord of Israel.” (Exodus 34:18-23) But all Jews were encouraged to attend, and the more pious were anxious to do so, even at great cost. We know from Luke that Jesus' entire family travelled to Jerusalem for Passover each year. (Luke 2:41-42)
The Temple of Solomon — the “First Temple” — was a grand physical structure, especially in its day. But its unique religious and theological significance — its spiritual meaning — far outweighed its physical grandeur.