All to the Glory of God.
“Huram set the pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one toward the south and one toward the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.” – 1 Kings 7:21 NLT
What an amazing description of Solomon’s palace. At first reading it gave me the impression that Solomon was more obsessed with his own palace than he was for the Temple of his God. After all, he took longer to build his palace, it was much larger and contained even more objects of beauty and symbols of his wealth. But in the cultures of his day the size of the king’s palace and its proximity to the temple of their god, were signs of the power and glory of that god. Solomon’s palace was a direct reflection of the blessings of God and was designed to honor the one who made Solomon’s reign possible. The entire complex must have been a sight to behold. It was massive, beautiful and filled with treasures of all kinds. But it was not just a monument to extravagance. Everything had a purpose. Even the two pillars that Solomon had erected within the Temple. You can recognize it in the names he gave them. These were probably not functional pillars. In other words, they were not being used to hold up the roof of the Temple. They were decorative, but also highly symbolic. Their real purpose seems to have been to remind the Israelites that Yahweh had established them as a nation and was the source of their strength. The first pillar was named “Jachin” which means “He shall establish,” and the second was named “Boaz” which means “In Him is strength.”
God was the one who had created the nation of Israel. He had called Abraham out of Ur of the Caldees hundreds of years earlier. God had blessed Abraham and fulfilled His promise to make him a great nation – even though he was old and married to a barren wife. God was the one who had prospered Israel during their time in Egypt and multiplied them from just a handful to a great multitude. He had set them free from their captivity in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land. He had delivered the land into their hands – giving them victories over their more powerful enemies. Even when Israel rejected God as their king and demanded a human leader, God did not give up on them, but eventually gave them David – a man after His own heart. Through David, God completed the conquering of the land and made Israel a great and powerful nation. David’s son, Solomon, took over the kingdom and enjoyed a time of great power, prominence and peace – all because of the sustaining hand of God. And as long as Israel worshiped, honored, and obeyed God, their nation would continue to be established and upheld by God. He was their strength. He was the source of their power. It was not their great king and his mighty armies. It was not his vast wealth and incredible wisdom. The people of Israel must never forget that God was the one they were to rely on. His power alone made their existence possible. But they would soon forget that. They would become complacent, cocky, and turn away from God. They would turn to other sources for their strength. They would doubt the very one who had established them and gave them strength. And the beauty of the Temple and the grandeur of Solomon’s palace would not be able to protect them from what was to come. Both would be destroyed, and Israel would end up in captivity.
God is the one who establishes and He is the one who provides strength. The same is true for us as believers today. I am nothing without Him. He chose me. I did not choose Him. He saved me when I could not have saved myself. He is my source of strength. I have no power on my own. But how easy it is to forget those two facts. I can quickly fall into the delusion that I established myself. I am a self-made man. I can begin to rely on my power and intelligence, forgetting that God is the source of my strength. Solomon didn’t want the people to forget the reality of God’s role in their existence, so he had two huge pillars erected as reminders. What do we need to do to keep this same message burned into our own memories? The psalmist gives us a clue. “We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did” (Psalm 78:4 NLT). Rather than erect monuments to God’s greatness and goodness, we should talk about all that He has done. We should brag about His provision for us. We should tell others of His grace and mercy toward us. We should constantly talk about our dependence on Him and the strength He provides for us. Tell of the Lord’s greatness. Speak about His power. And never forget.
Father, You alone have established us and You alone provide the power necessary to protect and provide for us. Yet it is so easy for us to take credit for where we are and falsely believe that we can somehow take care of ourselves. May we learn to remind one another daily about just how great You really are. May we learn to recall just where we were without You. You established us. You are our strength. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men