1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 3) – More Than Just Wash Basins; More Than Just A Car!

Posted: November 20, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 3 of 7)
Furnishings for the Temple

Today, we continue looking at the furnishings of the Temple in a 7-part series with Part 3. 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 wedding pictures taken at the beach and how they represent more than just pictures on a bookcase. They symbolize what God has done for us, to us, and through us.

The thing that comes to mind today is Elena’s previous car, a 2008 Mazda 3. That car was part of our relationship from almost the beginning and was with us until the Fall of 2017. That was the best little car ever. It was a sharp looking little car – gun metal gray, with black interior, and sport wheels. It still looked good almost 10 years later. That car followed us from the beginning of our relationship in Rock Hill, SC to Livermore, CA and to our first house back in South Carolina in Duncan, SC and then to our last house in nearby Lyman, SC (the place we were living before we moved to Illinois). That car went on many long trips and vacations. It was Elena’s car for everyday driving and it was the “family car” when we would go anywhere together. That car followed the story of our lives as it played out in front of us. It was the vehicle that took us to all the key events of almost the first full decade of our relationship. To say that there was sentimental value to that car is an understatement.

It was kind of symbolic of our relationship. It was not some overpowering flashy car, but it was comfortable and, yet, spunky at the same time. It was good on mileage but yet it could fly when you got it going on a long trip. Everything in that car always worked. It was never a moment’s trouble to us other than some routine maintenance such as new tires and new brake pads. It was the most reliable and fun car all at the same time. It reminds us of the fact that our relationship was kind of the same way. After marriages that nearly destroyed us and left us stranded, we found each other. We were each other comfort and reliability. Our relationship has been steady and filled with comfort in ways that we never experienced before. But, yet, at the same time, there is a spunk to our relationship. We feel so comfortable with each other and accept each other completely but yet we still have fun together and just can’t wait to be together. The spunkiness to the relationship is there in ways you would expect between two people that love each other but also there is this laughter that underlies our relationship. We make each other laugh hysterically at times. But, yet some of our best times too are those silent moments of comfort holding hands. We have seen a lot together. Been a lot of places together. We are best friends.

Also, that Mazda 3 also represents the generous spirit that our relationship has had in it through our gratitude to the Lord for what He has done in our lives. That Mazda 3 is the second car that we have given away to a family member. In 2012, we were able to give away my Nissan Sentra to Elena’s brother when they needed another car. Then, in 2017, when my youngest daughter was in dire straits after her jalopy of a car was toast and she had no way of getting another vehicle any time soon, we were able to donate that Mazda 3 to her, exactly when she needed it the most. Though the Mazda 3 was important and treasured in our relationship, being able to give it to someone who needed it more is symbolic of what God has done for us.

When we started living biblically from a financial standpoint, God has blessed us with a different attitude about things. We no longer desire to have the newest, flashiest thing. We desire to live as debt-free as possible so that we can be generous in honoring God with our tithes and offerings but also to be free to be generous to others. It is so freeing to live simply and to pay off things instead of owing for them. That Mazda 3 given to our youngest daughter is an example of that spirit of simplicity and generosity that the Lord has blessed us with.

Thus, the Mazda 3 is visual reminder 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 by looking then at the wash basins in the Temple and what they mean and symbolize:

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 that the 10 mini-basins were used to wash burnt offerings. The Hebrew word for “burnt offering” actually means to “ascend,“ literally to “go up in smoke.” The smoke from the sacrifice ascended to God, “a soothing aroma to the LORD” (Leviticus 1:9). Technically, any offering burned over an altar was a burnt offering, but in more specific terms, a burnt offering was the complete destruction of the animal (except for the hide) in an effort to renew the relationship between Holy God and sinful man. With the development of the law, God gave the Israelites specific instructions as to the types of burnt offerings and what they symbolized.

Leviticus 1 and 6:8-13 describe the traditional burnt offering. The Israelites brought a bull, sheep, or goat, a male with no defect, and killed it at the entrance to the tabernacle. The animal’s blood was drained, and the priest sprinkled blood around the altar. The animal was skinned and cut it into pieces, the intestines and legs washed, and the priest burned the pieces over the altar all night. The priest received the skin as a fee for his help. A turtledove or pigeon could also be sacrificed, although they weren’t skinned. A person could give a burnt offering at any time. It was a sacrifice of general atonement—an acknowledgement of the sin nature and a request for renewed relationship with God. God also set times for the priests to give a burnt offering for the benefit of the Israelites as a whole, although the animals required for each sacrifice varied. So, the number of wash basins represents that God’s grace is sufficient for all of God’s people. Also, to Hebrews and thus to us as God’s people, the number of basins is symbolic. The number 10 seems to reflect God’s authority or God’s governmental rule over the affairs of mankind. This is seen elsewhere as in the 10 commandments, the 10 elders that were placed in most of the city gates of Israel (Ruth 4:2), the 10% tithe. Thus, the number 10 also seems to represents man’s responsibility of obedience to God’s law. Such a number seems to indicate the law, responsibility and a completeness of order in both divine and human structures of society.

Back to the burnt offerings washed in the 10 basins, the ultimate fulfillment of the burnt offering is in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His physical life was completely consumed, He ascended to God, and His covering (that is, His garment) was distributed to those who officiated over His sacrifice (Matthew 27:35). But most importantly, His sacrifice, once for all time, atoned for our sins and restored our relationship with God.

Simple wash basins representing so much more just as the Mazda 3 was more than just a car to Elena and me.

Amen and Amen.

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