1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 6) – More Than Just A Lampstand in the Temple; More Than Just A Dining Room Table!

Posted: November 23, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 6 of 7)
Furnishings for the Temple

Today, we continue looking at the furnishings of the Temple in a 7-part series with Part 6. 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 scrambled eggs and how they represent more than just food on a plate. They symbolize what God has done for us, to us, and through us.

For today, I think about our dining room table. This table reminds Elena and me of just how blessed we have been since we began preparing for full-time ministry. God’s blessings are not always directly financial. God’s blessings come from us seeing Him work in our lives. This table is an example of that fact. It reminds us of unmerited generosity. This table reminds me of hospitality. This table reminds me of discipleship and fellowship.

First, it reminds me of unmerited generosity. This beautiful table was a gift to us from Doc and Shirley Hoover. They gave us this table less than six weeks after we moved to The Quad Cities from South Carolina and within just a few days after we moved into the cute little house that we bought in Rock Island. This gift was so unmerited. The Hoovers barely knew us at that point. It is a significant gift. It is not just some prefab dining room table that could easily be replaced by them. This is not a Wal-Mart dining room table. This is not a Big Lots dining room table. It is a high-end furniture store dining room table. Sure, the Hoovers were buying a new table that would better match the new motif they were going for in their house. However, this table they gave us is beautiful, well-cared for, and is really made well, sturdy. It reminds us of the Christ followers that we continue to strive to be – generous to others. As I had mentioned in a previous blog in this series, we have given away two cars – one to one of Elena’s family members, and one to my daughter. But this gift just pointed us toward generosity beyond our family borders. The Hoovers showed us generosity beyond what we deserved. It reminds me of what God has done for us through Jesus. We are habitual sinners that should have the book thrown at us by the Righteous Judge. We cannot claim that we are just one-time offenders. Our rap sheet of sins could wrap around the world. However, we are pardoned of our habitual offenses toward God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and recognizing that He is the Son of God who was raised from the dead. We certainly don’t deserve such generosity. We deserve our sentence to hell, eternally separated from God. However, unmerited generosity has been shown us through Jesus Christ just as the Doc and Shirley showed us unmerited generosity that we did not deserve. They loved us because we were part of the pastoral team of their church. They did not measure whether we had done anything for them. They just showed us love because…that’s what God through Jesus calls us to do – live by His example.

Elena and I love to have people over to our house for meals and then long conversations at the table. Just in the time that we have been in this house in Rock Island, we have forged some deep friendships around this table. It is a reminder to us that it is better to have some intimate friends with which you can share life than a thousand “acquaintances”. This table represents those conversations in which laughter permeates, and similar interests are discovered. This table represents our desire to express hospitality to those who are members of our church and those who live in our neighborhood. Hospitality is something our Lord and Savior represents to us. He welcomes us home to the family of God. It is through intimate conversations with Him that we grow to be and desire to be more and more like Him. He makes us feel at home at His banquet table for the family of God.

At this table, we have had deep conversations in marriage mentoring and in theological discussions. We have had the privilege of helping several couples to strengthen their marriage or to begin their marriage in the ways of the Lord. We have also helped dear friends to understand theology of the Christian faith and why Jesus is just so absolutely necessary to us. At this table, we have had opportunities to help couples to grow in their faith. Elena and I are passionate about helping others to see their faith as a daily thing not just something you do on Sunday. At a similar table in California, a decade ago, we were challenged at the table in intimate conversations with our spiritual parents, Pastor Luke & his wife, Felisha Brower. And, now it is our turn to be that pastor and his wife to disciple others into a deeper and more abiding faith in Jesus Christ. We are reminded how Jesus used meals at a table to teach others about God and about a real relationship with Him.

Thus, our dining room table is a visual reminder of deeper things about our relationship that remind me of the deep and abiding love that God has for us. It is deeper meaning that we will look at in this passage today. Let’s continue today by looking then at the lampstands 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 lampstands which are found in the room representing the heavens above us which are skies and the heavenlies and where angels are active, has some obvious symbolism. Firstly, the lampstands would give light all night long, and was the only light besides the shekinah glory of God. The seven lights of each lamp would have reminded the Israelites of the Sun and Moon and the five known planets of the day. Reminding them of the light which God provides for them. However, the Sun and Moon and the stars and planets were not only for light but to order the Israelites lives, giving them times and seasons. And as you look at the Jewish calendar the number seven recurs quite often. There were 7 days in a week, the seventh month of the year was the month of atonement, the seventh year was the year of the release of slaves, and the seventh times seventh year was the year of Jubilee when all bought land would be returned to its rightful owner.

However, the symbolism would have gone deeper. The fact that the lamps are in the shape of a tree and hidden in the inaccessible presence of God would have reminded them of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, a Garden from which they had been thrown, never to eat of that tree again. At the Tabernacle and then at the Temple, there is access, by way of a priest, to the tree in God’s inaccessible presence once again. There is also an obvious connection between the bread and the lamp to the pillar of fire, and the Manna from heaven which God provided for them in the Wilderness. But the most obvious connection for the Christian is that the lamp reminds us of Jesus. He is our High Priest. He intercedes on our behalf before God. He is the vehicle by which we can exist in the presence of God without being consumed. It is through His holiness that we can approach a just and holy God without fear. Jesus is the light of the world, the light that has come from the presence of the Father into this world to save us. He is like the lamp, for he is the only light there is in this world of darkness. He is our light of hope.

Just as our dining room table represents and reminds us of the unmerited favor shown us by Jesus Christ and about abiding in Him, so, too do the lampstands in the Temple remind us of the light in the darkness that Jesus represents. The lampstands remind us that is only through Jesus that we have hope of reconciliation with God. The light illuminates our need for Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

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