Only the Best is Good Enough
1 Kings 7:1-51
In the Church of the first four centuries there were two great centres of Christian life and thought. One was Antioch and the other was Alexandria. Each developed a favoured way of approaching the understanding, exposition and application of Scripture.
In Antioch the emphasis was largely upon the literal and historical, while in Alexandria the allegorical or spiritual significance of the text was favoured.
So, following the tradition of Antioch we see Solomon fulfilling the task given to him by God that was denied to his father David. The preparations of David and the execution of the project by Solomon fulfilled the Lord’s purpose in having his designated central place of worship where the rites and ceremonies described in the five books of Moses were to be carried out. This is where God would meet with His people, where sins would be dealt with, and where the great festivals would be celebrated. Here is fulfilment of God’s intentions and the theme of the very best for God expressed.
For us an important lesson is that the Lord of the Universe is worthy of our best in all our service for Him and to Him.
Now, though I have not consulted any actual Alexandrian treatments of this passage, their methodology might suggest something like the following.
The Temple, as the place where God met with his people and where sin was propitiated and expiated, was beautifully constructed to accomplish its purpose. We may therefore reflect that when Jesus came he dispensed, away from the Temple precincts, all that the Temple stood for: the presence of God, the forgiveness of sins and the place where heaven and earth came together. For that purpose Jesus came as heaven’s most wonderful gift, the God/man slain before the foundation of the world for our salvation. In his incomprehensible love God spared nothing to accomplish our redemption. To contemplate in quiet thoughtfulness the wonder of that Gift is to be caught up in the astonishing depth of the love of God
On the other hand, our bodies are called the temple of God’s own Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) and we are to present them to Him with all the commitment and dedication that the dwelling of the Holy Spirit properly demands. Only the best will do. We are to be his, body and soul.
It is also profitable to meditate on two references that our Lord Jesus made to Solomon: Matthew 6:28-30 and 12:42. The latter reminds us that we have embraced the world’s true and only Lord and King.
How a Christian lives Ordinary Daily Life
Primarily, loving is an action rather than a feeling. It is practical and enterprising in its efforts to do good. It has eyes that look for opportunities to serve others. Are we like that?
This has sometimes resulted in some unforeseen blessings. Abraham was such a one (Genesis 18). There is also a legend about a young Christian soldier in the 4th century who entering Amiens met an almost naked and shivering beggar who asked him for alms. Having no money Martin cut his solder’s cloak in two and gave the beggar half. The story goes that Martin had a dream in which he saw Jesus wrapped in half a soldier’s cloak who spoke to him and said, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren you did it to me”.
The principle of putting yourself in another’s position and acting in the way you would desire people to act towards you is a helpful guide for action. Try practising it.
Marriage provides an intimate environment for the sustained practice of Christian love, virtue and loyalty. Because it is intimate it can be the most testing. We have all heard of those described as “house devils and street angels”. What about us? This is where godliness begins.
Power, sex, and money are three areas where from time immemorial many have come unstuck. We need to practise the truth that God is our final resource in all things both spiritual and material. We are to make him our confidence always.