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June 20, Day 172 – Heeding Biblical Warnings

Our passage today in 1 Kings 6:1-7:22 shows us Solomon’s construction of the temple and his palaces - the former taking seven years to complete, the latter, thirteen years - a noteworthy difference. We read that this construction began “in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel” (verse 1). The dimensions are given to us – the temple being approximately ninety feet long, about thirty feet wide, and some forty-five feet high (verse 2). The building had a lower floor, a middle floor, and an upper floor. The text informs us, amazingly, that “only blocks [of stone] dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel, or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built” (verse 7). We note that the Word of the LORD came to Solomon: “if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations, and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel” (verses 11-13). This is a conditional promise of God, and it requires a human response on Solomon’s part. God will dwell with His people if they obey. This is an important lesson for us – God’s people must obey Him. Solomon arrayed the temple with “cedar, pure gold, olive wood … and he decorated it with cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers” (verses 14-29). The temple must have been glorious! In chapter 7, we read that “it took Solomon thirteen years to build his palace” (verse 1). In addition, he built a colonnade, a portico, his “Hall of Justice,” and “a palace like this for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he married” (verses 6-8). Everything was constructed of “high-grade stone” (verse 11). The writer tells us of the temple’s furnishings – beautiful artwork in bronze, “a network of interwoven chains, pomegranates, and pillars with capitals in the shape of lilies” (verses 13-22). This emphasizes that we serve a God Who is concerned about created beauty that brings Him glory, and that He is worthy of all glory!

In Scripture, “horns” are a symbol that speaks of strength, and when used figuratively of men, they picture the strength and power of human beings. In Psalm 75, Asaph refers to horns to reveal several important truths about God, and we should give them our attention. They include: God’s sovereignty – “He chooses the appointed time” (verse 2); His justice – “He judges uprightly” (verse 2); and His omnipotence – “He holds the earth’s pillars firm” (verse 3). In verses 4-6, we see His authority – “boast no more and do not lift up your horns” (verse 4). In verse 7, we recognize His purposes, His plan, and His judgment. Verse 8 reveals God’s wrath. Then, in verses 9-10, Asaph concludes by proclaiming his response - “I will sing praise to God” because not only will He cut off the horns of the wicked, but also He will lift up the horns of the righteous” (verse 10). Knowing that God possesses all these characteristics to which Asaph refers, we, too, should always reflect this same response before God as well.

Acts 13:13-41 reflects Paul’s message to both Jews and believing Gentiles (an important inclusion!) at the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. This is the “message of salvation” (verse 26) and “good news” (verse 32). Paul’s message starts with a background of Jewish history that began with “our fathers” (verse 17). Then he traced through the Egyptian bondage to the Exodus and presented the period of the “judges until the time of Samuel the prophet” (verse 20). He briefly shows how God chose David – “the man after” God’s own heart (verse 22) – and his “descendant, the Savior, Jesus Christ” (verse 23). Paul emphasizes the prophetic relationship of these Old Testament announcements and events to show the connection to the issues that were taking place then – to “tell them the good news” (verse 32). Paul’s purpose and message is to reveal God’s undeniable hand in redeeming lost mankind. God planned it all long ago, and He worked it out in detail all along, that we might obtain “the forgiveness of sins” (verse 38). Paul closes his message with a warning: “Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you … ‘look you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you’” (verses 40-41; cf., Habakkuk 1:5). Warnings are meant to be heeded.

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