1 Kings 6:14-38 – We Are A Nation of Copiers: What Do You Copy?

Posted: November 12, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 6:14-38
The Temple’s Interior

We are a nation of copiers. Not the kind of copiers that transfer images from one piece of paper to another, but rather we tend to copy what we see in the media with regard to fashions, attitudes, swagger, and so on. When kids see their favorite TV or movie personalities dress a certain way, then, they follow suit. When we see our favorite celebrities acting a certain way, we think that it is OK to act that same way. When one person decides that he is personally oppressed by the cops, though he grew up in middle class Wisconsin and though he has made millions of dollars in professional football and owns a $3.2 Million condo in New York in addition to his home in San Jose, CA, and decides to kneel during the national anthem at football games. Then, the entire league of millionaire athletes follow suit, not necessarily because they believe in the cause, they don’t want to be singled out as not doing it. Remember high school? The pressure to copy others is enormous there, probably more so than anywhere else in our culture. Think about social media and 24 hour news channels today. Think about how a media story can get started nowadays in one area of the media and then it cascades across the internet and television. Often, it is with regard to whether a claim is true or not. However, the joining in with the cascade is the most important thing to the media and social media platform participants. All want to be seen as being valid and in compliance with the prevailing popular opinion of the day.

What is it that makes our culture this way? Back before social media, the news outlets would verify, verify, and verify again before publishing something that was not true or substantiated. Now, the concern is more about being in line with prevailing opinion than it is with whether something is true or not. Why are we such copiers now? Why are we more concerned with joining in with the crowd than whether something is true or necessary to the public good? We copy celebrities whose lifestyles are a train wreck. We copy whatever we see in fashion on TV. We copy whatever the pro athletes do. We copy what we see on the internet. Is it that we are seeking belonging but seeking in the wrong places?

That’s what I thought of this morning – about how we are a nation obsessed with copying others so that we can feel like we are in line with the “in crowd”, the “with it” crowd, the “those on the cutting edge” crowd. When I read in this passage, 1 Kings 6:14-38, I saw that Solomon basically copied God’s instructions for the Tabernacle when he built the Temple. He could have done anything else! But He chose to copy God’s instructions for the temporary Tabernacle when he built the permanent Temple. It got me to thinking about how our culture copies the wrong things. Let’s read the passage now:

14 So Solomon finished building the Temple. 15 The entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was paneled with wood. He paneled the walls and ceilings with cedar, and he used planks of cypress for the floors. 16 He partitioned off an inner sanctuary—the Most Holy Place—at the far end of the Temple. It was 30 feet deep and was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling. 17 The main room of the Temple, outside the Most Holy Place, was 60 feet[a] long. 18 Cedar paneling completely covered the stone walls throughout the Temple, and the paneling was decorated with carvings of gourds and open flowers.

19 He prepared the inner sanctuary at the far end of the Temple, where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant would be placed. 20 This inner sanctuary was 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high. He overlaid the inside with solid gold. He also overlaid the altar made of cedar.[b] 21 Then Solomon overlaid the rest of the Temple’s interior with solid gold, and he made gold chains to protect the entrance[c] to the Most Holy Place. 22 So he finished overlaying the entire Temple with gold, including the altar that belonged to the Most Holy Place.

23 He made two cherubim of wild olive[d] wood, each 15 feet[e] tall, and placed them in the inner sanctuary. 24 The wingspan of each of the cherubim was 15 feet, each wing being 7 1⁄2 feet[f] long. 25 The two cherubim were identical in shape and size; 26 each was 15 feet tall. 27 He placed them side by side in the inner sanctuary of the Temple. Their outspread wings reached from wall to wall, while their inner wings touched at the center of the room. 28 He overlaid the two cherubim with gold.

29 He decorated all the walls of the inner sanctuary and the main room with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. 30 He overlaid the floor in both rooms with gold.

31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary, he made double doors of wild olive wood with five-sided doorposts.[g] 32 These double doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors, including the decorations of cherubim and palm trees, were overlaid with gold.

33 Then he made four-sided doorposts of wild olive wood for the entrance to the Temple. 34 There were two folding doors of cypress wood, and each door was hinged to fold back upon itself. 35 These doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers—all overlaid evenly with gold.

36 The walls of the inner courtyard were built so that there was one layer of cedar beams between every three layers of finished stone.

37 The foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid in midspring, in the month of Ziv,[h] during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. 38 The entire building was completed in every detail by midautumn, in the month of Bul,[i] during the eleventh year of his reign. So it took seven years to build the Temple.

From this passage, we see that it is true that the décor was elegant. However, it is not true that the Temple was unique. The Bible explains that Solomon built the Temple according to his vision, but his vision was based on the Tabernacle. The Scriptures explain that the walls of the Temple were decorated with etches and carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The efforts that went into this design shows that Solomon was not trying to innovate a new place of worship for the Lord, but it was based on the pattern that God had previously determined in the Tabernacle. In other words, Solomon recognized the perfection dictated by God previously and simply sought to copy it with the tools and talent that was provided to him.

What does that mean to you and me in our 21st century life? I think it begs the question, “What are you copying?” What do you look toward to determine how you are going to act in and respond to the world around you? Is it celebrities? Is it pro athletes? Is it social media? What do you admire and emulate your life after? Are you coming up empty chasing/copying after the latest trend? Do you feel like you are the last one to the party and everybody’s been there and has already left? Do you feel like you are forever chasing something that you will never be able to capture? If you are fashioning your life by popular opinion or by what another person does, you are forever a step behind. You are forever going to be disappointed.

Let us become a people that copies the right things. Let us fashion our lives as a copy or duplicate of Jesus Christ. Though we can never reach His perfection (since we are sinful and sin-filled creatures by our very nature), we can seek to become like Him by submitting our lives to his Kingship. Once we have given authority over our lives to Jesus Christ, He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and who then begins His work of making us more and more like Jesus each day. The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sins and help us to turn away from them. The Holy Spirit will direct us to God’s Word and that is where we will find eternal truth. That is where we will find what to emulate (and often because of the failures of the characters of the Bible, what not to emulate). That is where we find what never changes. That is where we find what we need to copy. Through God’s Word, the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls, we find God’s plan. That’s what we need to copy. Just as Solomon knew that God’s instructions for the Tabernacle were perfect enough for the Temple and just copied them, so too should we find God’s perfect instructions in the Bible and copy them and apply them to our lives.

Amen and Amen.

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