2 Chronicles 4

II Chronicles 4
by Pastor Mark Hudson

Solomon’s skilled craftsmen fashioned beautiful objects for worship.  I find it fascinating that we find a concern for beauty not mere pragmatic concerns.  In verse 3, figures of gourds are utilized which rested on 12 oxen. There is so much to contemplate.  Does God find delight in animals like oxen that He created.  Does God consider a gourd worthy to decorate an object that holds water for worship?  We enjoy the sight of a soaring hawk, a mature buck in the fall.  We certainly love sunrises, sunsets so how much more does God experience joy in a waterfall, and lest we ignore . . . even a gourd.  Even the beautiful lily in v. 5 is remembered in the brim of this wonderfully crafted basin.  In vs. 11ff, Hiram finishes his work (notice the pomegranates in v. 13) for Solomon.

Reading this, we may question if we fail to appreciate God’s love of and His sharing of beauty.  The sunrise Tuesday morning March 21 was outstanding.  It makes you want to worship our Creator.  God makes every sunrise, paints the evening sky with the reds and oranges of His setting sun and then the colors disappear.  Why make it so beautiful?  Why does God make the night sky so enthralling?  He absolutely enjoys sharing beauty with us and even beckons non-believers to recognize and rejoice in the crashing sea, majestic mountains, and a baby’s cooing.

Solomon’s main task, apart from governing as the King of Israel, was to build the temple.  His father had prepared Solomon and had gathered materials and even drew plans for the construction of the temple.  The temple is not just a place one could go to meet with God.  It was THE place that God promised He would meet with Israel.

You may question why all this emphasis on the temple in II Chronicles. John Sailhammer in Everyman’s Bible Commentary provides two responses.  One, the temple may have been the central issue in the author’s (Ezra?) time.  The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and after exile, the people returned to the land but a very different land.  Building were burned, land was fallow, the population was sparse, businesses few, and the temple was in ruins.

Not everyone was in support of the temple rebuild (Hag. 1:2-4).  The neighbors of Israel actively opposed the efforts to rebuild the temple (Ezra 4:4-24).  But the godly leaders knew Israel had to have a place to worship.  In Ex 25:8, God told Moses, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.”  The temple cannot be compared to a local church.

The second reason for this interest in the temple is the messianic hope of the coming King.  According to Is. 9:6-7, the only hope for the future lay in the coming Messiah.  There would be no other way for the world to experience peace and righteousness.  “The historical books (I and II Samuel and I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles) have provided the basis for that hope in the account of the Davidic covenant (II Sam 7; I Chr. 17).  According to that covenant, the promised King (the Messiah) would be a descendant of David and would build a house (temple) for God.”  . . . His concern for the proper worship and fellowship with God through the temple would characterize Him as one who had priestly concerns”  (p. 66-67).

So, King David evidently was not the Messiah, but Solomon starts exceedingly well. Especially with David and Solomon there are moments when an Israelite might think David was the Messiah and then after disappointment after disappointment, maybe his son Solomon.  But all the believing Jew knew was that the coming Messiah was yet to come and a descendant of David.  Clarity beyond that proved to be difficult.

So, the Chronicler is keeping hope alive by looking back to the glory days of Solomon building the temple as if to say, “we can build a temple too because God is with us.  Looking at the past, we can look ahead to what God is doing now and will continue to do.”

As you read this account, this is moving in the direction of God-ordained worship in His ordained place for His people.  This is a mini revival not just a building plan.  Honestly, that isn’t the same when we build a church or add an addition to an existing building.  A church may rally around a program and try to promote spiritual growth as they should.  But there is not a one-to-one correspondence with the building of the temple.

Lord, we live in such stability and wealth.  It is hard for us to imagine coming back to a burned down church or seeing our Christian brothers and sisters who sit in front of a scorched home.  Yet, we can appreciate the desire for spiritual, godly, Biblical worship.  We look to You to not only revive pastors and worship leaders but every single person that worships with us on a Sunday morning.  Pour out Your Spirit so those who are barely hanging on spiritually will long for Jesus Christ.  Renew the youth with joy in the gospel.  Purify our corporate worship so true spirituality reigns in our community, our church, and in our hearts.  For the sake of Jesus Christ.  Amen.