1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 2) – More Than A Tub of Water, More Than Just Wedding Pictures!

Posted: November 19, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 2 of 7)
Furnishings for the Temple

Today, we continue looking at the furnishings of the Temple in a 7-part series with Part 2. Because God is a God of order, everything in the Temple has a meaning. It symbolizes something in the relationship between God and His people.

Similarly, each of us has items that we have retained in our lives that are symbolic of some experience, particularly if you are a husband and wife. For Elena and me, we have things that we own that we have retained and not thrown away because they have significance to our relationship over the last 11 years (3 years of dating and 8 years of marriage). In my last blog, we talked about the significance of our coffee table and end table and how they represent more than just a coffee table and an end table. They symbolize what God has done for us, to us, and through us.

Today, I think about the photographs of our wedding that sit on the bookcase in our living room. They are just pictures but they are so much more. First, they are photos made on the sandy shore of North Myrtle Beach, SC. The beach is Elena and my favorite vacation destination. We love the beach. For us, laying on the beach in the sunshine in the summer represents rest, relaxation and freedom. When we go to beach, we go to the beach! A lot of people try to pack a thousand activities into a beach trip and just have to be doing something all the time. For us, at the beach, it is sleeping late (as late as our mid-fifties bladders will allow). It is having a couple of cups of coffee with Elena reading her morning devotional/Bible study and me writing my blog. It is having some breakfast and another cup of coffee. Then and only then is it time to pack up the cooler with drinks and sandwiches and grabbing the beach chairs. Then its hauling all of that across the street to the beach. We then proceed to read a book, listen to the radio or our iTunes and periodically cool off in the water. This takes from about 10:30 or so until about 4 in the afternoon. We come home. Take showers get cleaned up. Go to dinner somewhere. Get full as a tick. Come home and plop down on the couch and find a good movie and proceed to veg out the remainder of the evening. We repeat this process for 6 more days after that. There is no better vacation that one in which you actually relax and do pretty much nothing. We did not get to do that this year because of our move and I miss that down time with my toes in the sand. These pictures remind us that God rested on the 7th day after creation began. We must all remember to make time for down time.

Another thing these pictures represent is the friendship that we have had over the years with Luke and Felisha Brower. The photos were taken by Felisha. She is an unbelievably talented artist and photographer. Her eye for photography and her artistic flair just boggles the mind. I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler but Felisha can just sketch a beautiful drawing on a piece of paper without thinking. Luke is this super-intelligent, super-funny guy that always seems to be able to cut to the chase on any subject and help you see things more clearly. They were our pastor and wife when we lived in California. It was under their pastoral care that Elena came to the Lord as her Savior and I started growing up as a Christ follower after having been a spiritual baby for about 8 years. They challenged us and pushed us to grow in the Lord. Without our time with them in California, who knows where we would be right now. Most likely, we would not be in Illinois serving the Lord full-time. They gave us that hunger to serve the Lord. They gave us the view that being a Christ follower is an all the time thing and not just something you do on Sunday. These pictures remind us of that relationship with the Browers. These pictures remind us of their instrumental role in our lives and our walk with Jesus. These pictures remind us of the fact that our time in California with the Browers was part of the process that led us to LifeSong Church in Lyman, SC which prepared us for Calvary Church in Moline, IL. These photos remind us of trusting the process that the Lord has each of us in – where each step is a preparation for the next step.

Thus the pictures from our wedding are visual reminders of deeper things that are necessary in our walk with Jesus. It is the deeper meaning that we will look at in this passage today. Let’s continue today with the cistern of water and what it means and symbolizes:

13 King Solomon then asked for a man named Huram[a] to come from Tyre. 14 He was half Israelite, since his mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a craftsman in bronze from Tyre. Huram was extremely skillful and talented in any work in bronze, and he came to do all the metal work for King Solomon.

15 Huram cast two bronze pillars, each 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference.[b] 16 For the tops of the pillars he cast bronze capitals, each 7 1⁄2 feet[c] tall. 17 Each capital was decorated with seven sets of latticework and interwoven chains. 18 He also encircled the latticework with two rows of pomegranates to decorate the capitals over the pillars. 19 The capitals on the columns inside the entry room were shaped like water lilies, and they were six feet[d] tall. 20 The capitals on the two pillars had 200 pomegranates in two rows around them, beside the rounded surface next to the latticework. 21 Huram set the pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one toward the south and one toward the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.[e] 22 The capitals on the pillars were shaped like water lilies. And so the work on the pillars was finished.

23 Then Huram cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference.[f] 24 It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of decorative gourds. There were about six gourds per foot[g] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.

25 The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen,[h] all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. 26 The walls of the Sea were about three inches[i] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 11,000 gallons[j] of water.

27 Huram also made ten bronze water carts, each 6 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 4 1⁄2 feet tall.[k] 28 They were constructed with side panels braced with crossbars. 29 Both the panels and the crossbars were decorated with carved lions, oxen, and cherubim. Above and below the lions and oxen were wreath decorations. 30 Each of these carts had four bronze wheels and bronze axles. There were supporting posts for the bronze basins at the corners of the carts; these supports were decorated on each side with carvings of wreaths. 31 The top of each cart had a rounded frame for the basin. It projected 1 1⁄2 feet[l] above the cart’s top like a round pedestal, and its opening was 2 1⁄4 feet[m] across; it was decorated on the outside with carvings of wreaths. The panels of the carts were square, not round. 32 Under the panels were four wheels that were connected to axles that had been cast as one unit with the cart. The wheels were 2 1⁄4 feet in diameter 33 and were similar to chariot wheels. The axles, spokes, rims, and hubs were all cast from molten bronze.

34 There were handles at each of the four corners of the carts, and these, too, were cast as one unit with the cart. 35 Around the top of each cart was a rim nine inches wide.[n] The corner supports and side panels were cast as one unit with the cart. 36 Carvings of cherubim, lions, and palm trees decorated the panels and corner supports wherever there was room, and there were wreaths all around. 37 All ten water carts were the same size and were made alike, for each was cast from the same mold.

38 Huram also made ten smaller bronze basins, one for each cart. Each basin was six feet across and could hold 220 gallons[o] of water. 39 He set five water carts on the south side of the Temple and five on the north side. The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple. 40 He also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls.

So at last Huram completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of the Lord:

the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;
the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);
the ten water carts holding the ten basins;
the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
the ash buckets, the shovels, and the bowls.

Huram made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon had directed. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon did not weigh all these things because there were so many; the weight of the bronze could not be measured.

48 Solomon also made all the furnishings of the Temple of the Lord:

the gold altar;
the gold table for the Bread of the Presence;
the lampstands of solid gold, five on the south and five on the north, in front of the Most Holy Place;
the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of gold;
the small bowls, lamp snuffers, bowls, ladles, and incense burners—all of solid gold;
the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, with their fronts overlaid with gold.

51 So King Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the Lord. Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple.

In this passage, we see next item to note is the sea, this was the large basin of water used by the priests to wash themselves in v23-26. This large basin held almost 12,000 gallons of water. It had a circumference of 45 feet. This large pool probably had two main meanings. Firstly, it indicated the need for cleansing before coming into God’s presence Ex. 30:17-21,

‘The LORD said to Moses, 18 “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, 19 with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. 20 When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the LORD, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. 21 They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.”’

Together with the altar these two external parts of the furniture would be the first things we encounter and the only way forward. The altar with its sacrifices figures our need for someone to die in payment for our sins, and the washing indicates the need for forgiveness and cleansing. The message is clear, no sinner can come into the presence of God without first being cleansed.

The basin is also thought to be a reminder of the Red Sea in one way every part of the furniture reminds Israel of the Exodus. The Passover sacrifice was what secured their freedom and corresponds with the Bronze altar, after that the Israelites came to the Red Sea and God parted it for them, this matches the Basin. Then there was the Manna from heaven and the pillar of fire, which line up with the lampstand and showbread. And then finally they come to Sinai and receive the Ten Commandments which are in the Ark. And all these items also point to Christ. He is our Passover Lamb; He cleanses us by His work on the cross. He is the light of the world and the bread from heaven. And He is the presence of God among us who fulfils the law.

Some see significance in the fact that this large body of water, kept still and peaceful in the presence of God would have had significance for the Ancient Near mind. The sea was often associated with chaos, it was the place the enemies came from, but here it the ‘sea’ brought to order indicating God’s rule over the chaos.

So, as you can see, the cistern of water, represents so much more than just a big tub of water. Just as our wedding photos have meaning and history attached to them, so do these furnishings of the Temple. Each one tells a story of God’s never-ending and faithful relationship to and with His people. More than just a tub of water!

Amen and Amen.

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