Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem.
Biblical Museum.I. THAT GOD DID NOT NEED THIS LAVISH EXPENDITURE OF GOLD AND GEMS AND RICH ORNAMENTS
II. YET DIVINE CONDESCENSION ACCEPTED THIS OFFERING OF HUMAN GRATITUDE.
III. THE BEAUTY AND COSTLINESS OF THE TEMPLE SERVED TO IMPRESS THE MIND OF SURROUNDING NATIONS WITH THE FEELINGS OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TOWARDS THEIR GREAT GOD.
IV. THE ADORNMENT OF THE TEMPLE A REBUKE TO MERE UTILITARIAN VIEWS.
And he began to build in the second day of the second month
1. The day when the boy left home.
2. The day when the young man finds his first friend in business, the head that can direct him, the hand strong enough to give him assurance of protection, the voice all strength and music that charmed his fears away, and gave him consciousness of latent possibilities of his own.
3. The day when the young man got his first practical hold of life and business, how much he made in his first little profit, the very first sovereign he made by his own wits and energy. Do not let all days be alike; save yourselves from so running one day into another as to drop the dignity, the accent, the significance of special occasions.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house
I. SOLOMON BEGAN WITH INSTRUCTION. "Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed": literally, "Now this is the ground-plan." So many people are building without a ground-plan. It would seem as if they were attempting to perform the impossibility of building from the top; they have no foundations, no great principles; there is a brick here, and a stone there, and a beam of wood yonder, but there is no grand scheme. "Solomon was instructed." Then Solomon was not a born builder that is to say, a man who needed no instruction, no hint, no apprenticeship, in these things. He was a man who began with instruction. A man is none the worse for having his little book of instructions in his pocket when he goes abroad. The book is not a large one in mere superficies, but who can declare in arithmetical numbers its cubical contents? Every line is a volume; every sentence is a time-bill; every proposition is a philosophy. Even Solomon accepted instruction. It is never wise to be beyond a hint, beyond the counsel of experience.
II. SOLOMON BEGAN WELL: WHAT WONDER IF HE CONTINUE WELL? He said he would start life with the dowry of wisdom. No accidents could happen to Solomon, because he started at the right point; accepted the true definition of life, and walked in the light of wisdom. If it happened that Solomon should ever trifle with that light, conceal it, modify it, despise it, he would go to the devil. No matter if he had built s thousand temples, he would land in perdition if he ceases to walk in the ways of wisdom. No man can build himself up to heaven, however many temples he may build; he must build up from within — in the matter of conviction, principles, life, character, he must blossom into purity, he must fructify into love.
III. SOLOMON'S INSTRUCTIONS WERE SUFFICIENT. Sometimes we wish that we had a rehearsal of life, and that we might come back and begin at the beginning, and walk in the light of experience. There is something better than experience, and that is revelation. The Christian claims that the whole map or chart of life is to be found in the Book of God; and co it is. So there need be no pensive desire for a trial-trip in the ways of life.
IV. SOLOMON HAD A DEFINITE PURPOSE IN VIEW: he was building a temple. Definiteness of purpose economise time, enables strength to issue in the noblest accomplishments. A man will have good reason to know what he is doing if he pay attention to Providence. There need not be so much darkness in the ways of life as is often supposed.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty.
1. Such things are necessitated by the inevitable rivalries of the day. It would be said that this is a time, especially in England and on the continent of Europe, of restorations. And what one Church has done, another cannot afford to be behind in doing also. The spirit of the age is the spirit of competition, and competition which is the life of trade is the life of religion too. If this is a very pitiful motive to be alleged for any such work, it is not an altogether surprising one. That competitive temper has so much to do with explaining our personal and social expenditures that it is not unnatural to seek in it the clue to expenditures that are sacred. Think for a moment how much money is spent for dress, for the furnishing and decoration of houses. Now, then, what is it that is sad about all this? its cost? No, but what is too often and too plainly its motive. If our banquets were always the symbols of our eagerness to please, of our desire to give of our best to those whom we love and honour, then their cost and splendour would only so much the more ennoble them. But it is because, too often, our dress, our houses, our entertainments, our equipages, are only so many means by which we strive to outshine and eclipse our neighbour that such expenditure becomes so largely not only the wasteful, but the truly contemptible thing that it is. And yet it is no wonder that so long as we allow such motives to influence us in things secular, we should infer or impute them concerning things that are sacred.
2. When changes are made in our social customs, in our habits of expenditure, and even in our modes of worship, we are often told that they are necessitated because we must "keep up with the times," and those who are wedded by very sacred associations to things ancient, are often wounded in their tenderest feelings by being told that they must give up the old in order not to be behind the age. Well, the spirit of the nineteenth century, whatever else may be said of it, is not an infallible spirit, and in many respects it would be better if some of us were behind the age rather than so eagerly and unthinkingly in accord with it. But however this may be, the "spirit of the age" can never be the guide for the principles of worship or the law of sacrifice. Such cost and beauty is helpful to the instinct of worship and devotion. This motive is a perfectly valid and intelligible one. But the one sufficient motive for cost, and beauty, and even lavish outlay in the building and adornment of the house of God, is the consecrating to Him the best and costliest that human hands can bring. This is the very essence of the Cross of Christ. The power of the Cross over men lies in this, that it is the gift to men, by God, of His very best — "His well-beloved Son."
(Bp. H. C. Potter.).