Even though David didn’t build the temple, but just the fact that he had the heart or desire to build God a house, God was so pleased that He gave all the blessings in 2 Samuel 7:1-17. God was pleased not with the idea of living in a luxurious Temple but He was pleased with the heart of redemption that David had. However, because David was a man of war and had shed too much blood, so God told him to have his son, Solomon, build the temple. Instead of being disappointed, David prepared every material and even all the systems that Solomon’s Temple would need so that the temple construction can be built smoothly without difficulty and according to the will of God.
(2 Samuel 6:17, 2 Samuel 7:1-3, 1 Chronicles 22:8-10, 1 Chronicles 28:3, 1 Chronicles 22:2-5, 29:2-5)
According to 1 King 6:1, Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in 4th year of his reign, in the month of Ziv (2nd month). 1 Kings 6:37-38 tells us that he finished building the Temple in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month. Then it says that it took seven years in building it.
If we just deduct these two dates then we would get 7 years and 6 months in building the temple. If it were so, then the Bible would have rounded it up to 8 years and not 7 years.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah counted the regnal years of the king’s reigns according to the civil calendar which begins in the 7th month and the year ends in the 6th month. So, Solomon’s 4th year begins from the 7th month which is the month of Tishri.
Because this civil calendar begins with the 7th month as the first month of reign, Bul, the 8th month, is 1 month into the regnal year, and Ziv would be the 7th month into the regnal year. Thus, the temple construction would total up to 6 years and 6 months and this rounds up to 7 years. Seven is a very significant number in the History of Redemption.
We will now think of the 4 main parts in explaining each temple in the bible, focusing on Solomon’s Temple:
1. Chosen place
Solomon’s Temple was built in the place where God chose and specifically showed it to David and Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:16, 2 Chronicles 3:1). This place was at Mount Moriah and there were 2 events and 2 people related to it. Firstly, it was where Abraham obeyed God in offering up Isaac and his faith was recognized by God. Thus, it was a place of Abraham’s faith. Secondly, it was also where King David repented from the sin of counting his soldiers. David counting his soldiers showed that he did not rely fully on God but relied on his own ability and resources. God punished David and asked him to set up an altar and offer up worship and offerings. God wanted David to come back to the place of faith. Our repentance is God bringing us back to the place of faith. Therefore, the foundation of the temple was Abraham’s faith and David’s repentance.
We as God’s spiritual Temple must be set upon Abraham’s faith and David’s repentance. Everything that we do for God needs to have that foundation. Otherwise, the church is a human building and not the house of God. Abraham and David did not know the purpose of giving their sacrifices in Mount Moriah. This teaches us that we should obey God, even though we do not yet understand why, because God has a bigger plan.
2. God’s presence
After Solomon finished the temple construction, he prayed to God and God’s presence comes in through the glory filling up the temple. The presence of God is manifested in 2 ways: (i) God’s glory filled Solomon’s Temple (1King 8:11). (ii) God’s presence was manifested through God’s name, God’s eyes, God’s ears, God’s heart remaining in the temple. (Ref:1 King 8:29; 9:3, 2 Chronicles 6:6, 20; 7:16; 33:4; 1 King 8:29; 2 Chronicles 7:15-16; 2 Chronicles 7:15) Where our ears, eyes and heart is, is what we love. So those whom God loves, His eyes, ears and heart will be upon that person protecting him. How much do we use our eyes to read the Word of God or our ears and heart gets directed towards God?
3. Priests in Solomon’s Temple (1 Chronicles 24:4)
Even before the temple was built, David already made the system of the people who were to serve in the temple according to God’s instructions. He divided priests into 24 divisions. The priests were all from the lineage of Aaron. There were 16 priests from Eleazar and 8 priests from Ithamar, altogether 24 divisions. They rotated and took turns serving in the temple because it was a 24-hour job. Priests were given the office and duty of the sanctuary, and of serving and worshipping God. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a chosen people of God, Christians are called to be royal priests. Therefore, we are all given the task to take care of His house physically and spiritually. So, we need to make sure that His worship services continue.
When the priests were coming out of the sanctuary after putting the ark of the covenant inside, the glory of the Lord filled the temple such that the priests could not stay standing. That is how much God loved His place and how much He wanted to bless the people (1 Kings 8:3,6).
4. Offerings and sacrifices
King Solomon and the people dedicated the temple by sacrificing a countless number of sheep and oxen (1 Kings 8:5,63-64). So we see that God wanted to bless His people but reciprocally the people wanted to give so much thanksgiving offering to the Lord too. The people gave thanks without being calculative towards God because they were so blessed.
Later on, King Solomon turned away from the Word of God and received Gentile women as his wives and concubines and he also built shrines and altars for their Gentile gods to give sacrifices and to worship them (1 Kings 11:4,6). God said it was evil in His sight because Solomon did not follow the Lord wholeheartedly. And despite God’s warnings to Solomon not to follow other gods, Solomon did not heed God’s command (1 Kings 11:9-13). This sin caused the kingdom to be divided into northern Israel and southern Judah.
When building up the house of God, God doesn’t like to hear any hammering sounds or human voices. It must be silent, meaning no conflicts or fights in the church. It is important to remember that God is the centre and not myself or my thoughts. Church work, building up the house of God, is about how not to quench the lamp of God’s grace, but continue with the glory of God filled in the temple.
When David had the heart to build God a house, God blessed him. May we build up the house of God with that redemptive heart, to fulfil God’s redemptive work through this church and through our lives, so that we and our children can receive these blessings.
What Blessings? (2 Samuel 7:8-16)
Blessings of physical and spiritual blessings. Blessing of eternal Sabbath. Blessings of a great name. Blessing of the Garden of Eden restored. Blessing of rest from all our enemies. Blessings for our children. Blessing of the Messiah coming into our life and our family. God will be a father to our son. God’s lovingkindness will never depart from our children. Our home will continue forever until the day of new heaven and earth.