2 Chronicles 4:1-5:1 – Furnishings and Finishes

altar with cross, candles, flowers, Bible, and stained glass behind

Read 2 Chronicles 4:1-5:1

The temple played such a central role in the history of God’s people. This was the place Solomon built for God’s presence to have a home on earth among his people.  It’s good for us to appreciate some of the details to enhance our own understanding. Sadly, this beautiful temple, adorned in gold, bronze, and magnificent furnishings, no longer exists in all its glory.

Try to picture a 30-foot by 30-foot altar–that’s no small space! But considering all the sacrifices that would soon take place, having a dedicated space that large makes sense. Visualizing objects of similar size can be helpful. A decent sized bedroom is twelve by twelve. Two cars parked front end to back end would be approximately 30 feet. The question remains then, why 15 feet tall? Were there stairs, too?

We’re told in this reading about all the furnishings Solomon had made for the temple. Again, precious metals play a key role in their construction. Just as furnishings make a home more welcoming and useful, Solomon wanted to make sure God’s place was worthy.

We’re not given a lot of detail as to what role these furnishings would play in the day-to-day workings of the temple. The huge basin, called a “Sea” here is most curious. I understand that furnishing was for ceremonial washing of the priests. The smaller basins were used for cleaning the utensils.

Because we live in the world after Jesus came, we don’t need to get lost in the details of how sacrifices took place or how priests took their “baths.” Jesus came to this world to physically live among us. He referred to his own body as the temple in John 2:19-21. “‘All right,’ Jesus replied. ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ ‘What!’ they exclaimed. ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?’ But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.”

Because of what God did by sending Jesus to this world, we now have access to God the Father as well. Jesus is our “temple.” His spirit lives on inside us. And we’re given knowledge to believe in all Jesus said and did. That includes when he told us he would be raised from the dead on the third day! Jesus’ sacrifice for us is all we need to be cleansed of our sins. We don’t need a huge altar anymore.

This temple was the first dwelling place of the Lord’s presence other than the tent-like portable tabernacles that held the Ark.  It is good for us to remember our history. This temple would serve many generations of God’s people before it was demolished by the Babylonians taking the Israelites into captivity hundreds of years after Solomon built it.

For us, we can marvel at the grandeur and honor that bestowed on God from his people. There was a time when the Lord Almighty was an important part of most people’s lives. Today, we find a few of us here and there. Churches can be a great meeting place for fellowship and spiritual growth. God’s word is the best, especially when the Holy Spirit (the presence of God) is whispering in our ears.

Embrace your relationship with God and thank him for allowing you access to his grace and mercy.

colorful animation of prayer hands and hearts and flowers

Let’s pray. LORD, your temple sounds like a jaw-dropping spectacle of beauty. It’s hard for me to even imagine, yet I am so thankful that you were given such an honor. Likewise, I would like to thank you for the honor and privilege it is to be your child and serve in your kingdom. The more I spend time with you, the more you reveal your character to me and let me see your truth more clearly. I pray for those in the world who are far from you that they may find their way back into your loving arms. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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