2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22 – Following God’s Word Requires No Elaborate Justifications

Posted: July 12, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22

The Furnishing for the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Do you remember those days when you were a little kid, when you had done something or wanted to do something that was against the specific instructions of your parents? They had their “all the time rules”- the ones that were standing commandments within the family that were drilled into you from birth almost. They also had those specific “in the moment” rules that covered a specific situation. Examples of the former are “always stand up for your brother or sister no matter what, they are family!” That’s usually a standing commandment within most families. Then, examples of the latter are “you are not to go that party at Johnny’s house tonight!” or for younger kids, “you can’t spend the night with Johnny or Suzy because I said so.”

In these cases, we either comply or we rebel. It is in the rebellion against our parent’s wishes that kids and teenagers can come up with some elaborate stories. Teenagers are better at than little kids but nonetheless, all children create their stories of justification of why it is OK or why it was OK for them to have broken specific rules laid down by their parents. I did it. You did it. We all did it. That’s the thing that you learned from it was that a lie or breaking the rules required so much more mental acuity than did simply complying with our parents wishes. We didn’t have to lie. And the truth so is easier to defend than a life. I remember as a teenager sitting around with my buddies trying to figure out all the angles that could produce holes in our story to one or more of our sets of parents. We had to think hard about how to construct the lie so it seemed plausible. Man, it took way more time to do that than it did to simply tell the truth.

It is that way with God’s Word. It seems that in this day and age where we have drifted from God’s Word that we have elaborate stories too. It is in the areas of life where we are trying to justify that interpretations of the Bible that have stood the test of time for thousands of years that we must create the elaborate stories. Don’t you find it strange that certain behaviors that are condoned by God’s Word and thousands of years of consistent interpretation do not require any justification at all. On the other hand, behaviors that are against God’s Word (where we are trying to justify them as OK) requires lots of justification such as legal briefs, court cases, and public campaigns through the liberal media where such behaviors are depicted as normal and right. We get pounded by the rightness of what is wrong in televised, print and social media. Whereas, on the other hand, that which is condoned by God or not prohibited by God requires no onslaught of trying to change the cultural mindset. It simply is accepted as OK. No media campaigns need. No elaborate rationalizations. No theological gymnastics. It just IS right.

It is that idea of following God’s commands requires no elaborate justifications is what I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22, once again. Let’s read through it again this morning, together, with these ideas in mind:

Scripture Passage

15 For the front of the Temple, he made two pillars that were 27 feet[a] tall, each topped by a capital extending upward another 7 1⁄2 feet. 16 He made a network of interwoven chains[b] and used them to decorate the tops of the pillars. He also made 100 decorative pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17 Then he set up the two pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one to the south of the entrance and the other to the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.[c]

Furnishings for the Temple

Chapter 4

1 Solomon[d] also made a bronze altar 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high.[e] 2 Then he 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] 3 It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot[g] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.

4 The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. 5 The walls of the Sea were about three inches[h] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons[i] of water.

6 He also made ten smaller basins for washing the utensils for the burnt offerings. He set five on the south side and five on the north. But the priests washed themselves in the Sea.

7 He then cast ten gold lampstands according to the specifications that had been given, and he put them in the Temple. Five were placed against the south wall, and five were placed against the north wall.

8 He also built ten tables and placed them in the Temple, five along the south wall and five along the north wall. Then he molded 100 gold basins.

9 He then built a courtyard for the priests, and also the large outer courtyard. He made doors for the courtyard entrances and overlaid them with bronze. 10 The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple.

11 Huram-abi also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls.

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

12

the two pillars;

the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;

13

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);

14

the water carts holding the basins;

15

the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;

16

the ash buckets, the shovels, the meat hooks, and all the related articles.

Huram-abi made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon had directed. 17 The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan.[j] 18 Solomon used such great quantities of bronze that its weight could not be determined.

19 Solomon also made all the furnishings for the Temple of God:

the gold altar;

the tables for the Bread of the Presence;

20

the lampstands and their lamps of solid gold, to burn in front of the Most Holy Place as prescribed;

21

the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of the purest gold;

22

the 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, overlaid with gold.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that the craftsmen followed God’s specifications carefully and without exception or leeway for personal expression. When God gives us specific instructions, they must be followed to the letter. There is a time to be creative and put forth our own ideas, but when our own ideas add to, alter, or contradict specific instructions that God has already given us in the Bible. For best results in your spiritual life, carefully seek and follow God’s instructions.

Life Application

I know this passage seems kind of mundane, but to us in the 21st century, we look at this passage for the idea that it represents rather than the specifics. Here, the idea is that the craftsmen followed God’s instructions to the letter. The result was an awesome building built to glorify God. The idea for us then in the 21st century is that God’s Word is His specific instructions for us. If we follow God’s Word, the results for our lives will produce blessing for us and glory to God.

But what about free will and personal expression? God made us with free will. God made us with intellectual and artistic capabilities. We are not robots. I know that it sounds weird then to say that we should follow God’s instructions without question and to the best of our ability. How do you reconcile free will with compliance? I think that we have to drift back to our childhood in our parents’ homes to get this idea where we can understand it. Parents gave us boundaries for our behavior and if we crossed them, if they were good parents, there would be consequences. They did not stop us from being creative and expressive. The boundaries were there because they knew that bad things would happen to us if we cross the boundaries they established for our behaviors. It was because they loved us that they gave us boundaries. The boundaries did not stop us from being ourselves and being personally expressive and pursuing the dreams that God has given us the talents to achieve.

It is the same with God and us. He provides us with His Word and we are to follow its instructions so that we will have a beneficial live that brings peace and blessing to us and honor and glory to Him. He does not provide boundaries to us to control us but rather to prevent us from falling into those things that will destroy us. Satan convinces us that God is holding us back from those things that we want. We then begin the justification process and create reams of paper and lots of words to justify why that which God prohibits is OK. Whereas, simply accepting that God has our best interest at heart and complying with His Word requires no justification. It simply IS right. It will produce that which is best for us, good for us, and keeps us from short-term and/or long-term harm. Following God’s Word is right because it is truth. And the truth simply IS right.

Amen and Amen.

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