2 Chronicles 8:16   All Solomon’s work was carried out, from the day the foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid until its completion. So the temple of the LORD was finished.

As I read through 2 Chronicles again this year in the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Schedule, my heart goes out to King Solomon.  He was so committed in his head, and in so much of his behaviour and lifestyle, to being faithful to the wonderful example and spiritual legacy his father, David, had left him – and yet he had so allowed “everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does” (1 John 2:16) to influence him in his place of authority and power, that the end result was far different from his deeper desires and aspirations.

It is a salutary warning to all of us in our Christian life and witness to remain alert to the Devil’s subtle stratagems, and to heed the Apostle Peter’s advice: “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith … .” (1 Peter :8-9a).

The Chronicler goes to great lengths to describe in detail Solomon’s construction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He especially emphasises the King’s care in making sure that the workmen did everything in the way that his father David had prescribed (14-15).  In today’s verse he emphasises Solomon’s perseverance, that he pressed on faithfully until the job was finished.  The author of Hebrews makes the same points about Moses’ conscientious obedience in the construction of the Tabernacle – the prototype of the Temple during the 40 years in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:1-6).  Hebrews makes it clear that Moses’ faithfulness was merely foreshadowing the coming of a far superior temple-builder, the Lord Jesus Christ: “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our courage and the hope of which we boast” (Hebrews 3:5-6).  At least in his intentions, Solomon had the same mindset as Moses, and both these earlier structures were elaborate and magnificent – but they were only temporary.  The Temple was more glorious and more permanent than the Tabernacle, but it too crumbled to dust.  The replacement Second Temple, commenced by Ezra and Zerubbabel and completed by Herod, was also destroyed when it had served its purpose.

But the ‘Third Temple’, foreshadowed by all this, is of a totally different kind: it consists of PEOPLE, not animal skins or bricks and mortar.  One of the disciples who had asked Jesus about the future of Herod’s Temple (Luke 21:5-6), later describes it like this: “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5).

So the question for US is: “How conscientious, obedient and persistent are we in the part we play in the construction of this glorious ‘house’, destined to last for all eternity?”  The foundation, Jesus Christ, has been laid; are we striving always to be faithful and proactive as we look forward to its completion when Jesus returns?  And are we staying alert and standing firm against the Devil’s constant attempts to lead us into the same sort of distractions with which he so successfully tempted Solomon?
– Bruce Christian