April 30, 2016

I Kings 6-7
Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God. The Temple that King Solomon built to God was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. There was a porch across the thirty-foot width of The Temple that extended out fifteen feet. Within The Temple he made narrow, deep-silled windows. Against the outside walls he built a supporting structure in which there were smaller rooms: The lower floor was seven and a half feet wide, the middle floor nine feet, and the third floor ten and a half feet. He had projecting ledges built into the outside Temple walls to support the buttressing beams....The entrance to the ground floor was at the south end of The Temple; stairs led to the second floor and then to the third. Solomon built and completed The Temple, finishing it off with roof beams and planks of cedar. The supporting structure along the outside walls was attached to The Temple with cedar beams and the rooms in it were seven and a half feet tall.

The word of God came to Solomon saying, “About this Temple you are building—what’s important is that you live the way I’ve set out for you and do what I tell you, following my instructions carefully and obediently. Then I’ll complete in you the promise I made to David your father. I’ll personally take up my residence among the Israelites—I won’t desert my people Israel.”

Solomon built and completed The Temple.... The Inner Sanctuary within The Temple was for housing the Chest of the Covenant of God. This Inner Sanctuary was a cube, thirty feet each way, all plated with gold. The Altar of cedar was also gold-plated. Everywhere you looked there was pure gold: gold chains strung in front of the gold-plated Inner Sanctuary—gold everywhere—walls, ceiling, floor, and Altar. Dazzling!...

The foundation for God’s Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv. It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.

It took Solomon another thirteen years to finish building his own palace complex. He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. There were four rows of cedar columns supporting forty-five cedar beams, fifteen in each row, and then roofed with cedar. Windows in groupings of three were set high in the walls on either side. All the doors were rectangular and arranged symmetrically....

King Solomon sent to Tyre and asked Hiram (not the king; another Hiram) to come. Hiram’s mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father was a Tyrian and a master worker in bronze. Hiram was a real artist—he could do anything with bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all the bronze work....

All these artifacts that Hiram made for King Solomon for The Temple of God were of burnished bronze. He cast them in clay in a foundry on the Jordan plain between Succoth and Zarethan. These artifacts were never weighed—there were far too many! Nobody has any idea how much bronze was used.

Solomon was also responsible for all the furniture and accessories in The Temple of God:...That completed all the work King Solomon did on The Temple of God. He then brought in the items consecrated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the artifacts. He placed them all in the treasury of God’s Temple.

II Corinthians
The Corinthian Christians gave their founding pastor, Paul, more trouble than all his other churches put together.  No sooner did Paul get one problem straightened out in Corinthian than three more appeared....

The provocation for Paul’s second letter to the Christians in Corinth was an attack on his leadership...He wrote with the confident authority of a pastor who understands the ways God’s salvation works and the kind of community that comes into being as a result....

They bucked his authority--accused him of inconsistencies, impugned his motives, questioned his credentials.  They didn’t argue with what he had written, they simply denied his right to tell them what to do.  And so Paul was forced to defend his leadership...and in the process probed the very nature of leadership in a community of believers.

Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it easily shifts into an exercise of power.  But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led. 

Paul, studying Jesus, had learned a kind of leadership in which he managed to stay out of the way so that the others could deal with God without having to go through him... 

II Corinthians 1 - 
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!  Father of all mercy!  God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times and before you know it he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

When we suffer for Jesus , it works out for your healing and salvation.  If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward unflinching.  YOur hard times are also our hard times....We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when al this came down on us in Asia province.  It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it...As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.  In stead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally...and he did it, rescued us from certain doom.  And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing.  You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation.

Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face you with our heads held high.  But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part.  It was God who kept us focused on him un-compromised.

As God is my witness, the only reason I didn’t come was to spare you pain.  I was being considerate of you, not indifferent, not manipulative.  We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith,looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical.  We’re partners , working out alongside you, joyfully expectant.  I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.