Lesson 81:

1 Kings 2:13 Adonijah . . . went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother.

After losing his bid for the throne, Adonijah wanted to marry Abishag. Even though she was a member of David’s harem, it may have been allowable since she was still a virgin. Instead of making the request himself, however, Adonijah improved his chances by persuading Bathsheba to ask for him. Solomon answered his mother . . . . You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother (1 Kings 2:22). 

In the minds of many, Adonijah had a legitimate claim to the throne, since he was David’s oldest remaining son. Marrying David’s female companion would only strengthen that claim. While pretending to support Solomon, Adonijah was really supporting himself. So Solomon had him put to death (1 Kings 2:25). 

Adonijah thought he could hide his motives from Solomon, but he was fatally wrong. And so it is with Christ. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:5), wrote Paul. Many who claim allegiance to Christ are really devoted to themselves. It is not enough to appear loyal; we must be loyal from our hearts.

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1 Kings 3:4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar

Solomon was just a young man when he began to reign, and he felt unequal to the task. But after he honored God with a sacrifice, God appeared to him in a dream and said, Ask for whatever you want me to give you (1 Kings 3:5). 

Solomon could have asked for bottomless wealth, military might, long life, or whatever his heart desired. But more than anything else, Solomon wanted wisdom and knowledge (2 Chronicles 1:10) to govern God’s people well. The Lord was so pleased with his request that he gave Solomon what he asked for, plus so much wealth and honor that he had no equal among kings (1 Kings 3:13). 

From this we learn that if we ask God for what he wants to give us, he might give us even more. Many ask for health, wealth and happiness when they should be asking for holiness and usefulness. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures (James 4:3), wrote James. It is good to ask God for what we want (Matthew 7:7-8), but we should also ask God for what he wants.

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1 Kings 3:16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.

Solomon’s wisdom was quickly put to the test by a couple of prostitutes. While they were living together, they each gave birth to a son. During the night, one of them accidentally laid on her son, and he died. So she took her dead son and put him in bed with her roommate, and took her roommate’s son as her own. But the following morning, when her roommate awoke, she knew the dead baby was not her own. 

Apparently, the lower courts were not able to solve the dispute, so it was taken to Solomon. Without witnesses, it was impossible to determine who the real mother was, so Solomon called for a sword to divide the baby in half. The real mother dropped the case at once in order to save her baby’s life. She much preferred to lose her baby than to have her child cut in half. 

The woman’s strong reaction made it clear that she was the real mother, so the case was solved. Solomon was held in awe by all the people because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice (1 Kings 3:28). 

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1 Kings 6:1 In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel . . . [Solomon] began to build the temple of the Lord

On their way to the Promised Land, God’s people worshiped at a special tent called the tabernacle. This portable temple worked well for many years, since God’s people were on the move. But now the tabernacle was centuries old, and God’s people were settled in the Promised Land. It was time for something better.

My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name (1 Kings 8:17-19).

With God’s help, David made plans for the temple (1 Chronicles 28:19), and gathered materials including wood, stone, iron, bronze, silver, gold and precious stones—all in large quantities (1 Chronicles 29:2). Since David was still alive at this time, he commissioned Solomon to carry out the work (1 Chronicles 28:20).

The temple itself was not very big: just ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high (1 Kings 6:2). But other structures were added, along with courtyards, that made it very impressive. In fact, it took thousands of workers (1 Kings 5:13-16) seven years to finish the task (1 Kings 6:38), and it was one of the greatest buildings of the ancient world. 

When the temple was completed God showed his approval in two important ways. First, When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). 

This is very similar to what happened at the tabernacle many years earlier. [T]he cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35). In both cases, it was clear and convincing proof of God’s approval. 

Second, God showed his approval by sending fire to consume Solomon’s sacrifice (2 Chronicles 7:1), just as he also did for Moses at the tabernacle (Leviticus 9:24). It was important for God’s people to know that the temple was pleasing to God, and that he wanted to be approached in this way.

Solomon’s temple stood for centuries, but was destroyed by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:8-9) around 586 BC. Another temple was built in its place, but it was destroyed by the Romans a few decades after Christ. The problem with temples is that they are prone to destruction. 

Likewise, Jesus said of himself, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days (John 2:19). The temple of his body was destroyed on the cross, but his resurrection proved that God accepted his sacrifice. We no longer need a building to worship God, nor do we need to offer sacrifices. We come to God through faith in Jesus Christ; he is our temple and our sacrifice.

Furthermore, since the church is united to Christ, we is his temple on earth. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:16), wrote Paul. And where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20), said Jesus. Brick and mortar is fine, but the Spirit makes a church. 

Reflection and Review
Why are motives important to God?
Why should we ask God for what he wants to give us?
How are Christ and the church like a temple?