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Now that Solomon was a very wise king, he got to work building God’s House.
Just like God had given Moses instructions for exactly what the tabernacle would be, God had given David the blueprints for this House, this Temple. And David had given to Solomon all those instructions as well as all the building supplies he’d collected.
David had also gotten the piece of land that God’s House would be built on. (Remember the threshing floor where David offered gifts that cost him? That’s where God’s Temple was going to be built.)
Solomon said, “I will make this Temple beautiful and glorious, because my God is more beautiful and Glorious than anyone else! The highest Heavens can’t even hold Him, but He DOES want a House, a dwelling place, so He can live right among His People in Zion. So I WILL build, build, build Him one! And there I will give Him gifts and sacrifices every day.”
The first step for the House was making a strong and deep foundation. A foundation is a layer of solid rock that a building sits on. Without a good foundation, the House would be crooked or even fall over. PLOP!
They also needed lots of stones for building the Temple. But only stones dressed at the quarry were used. No hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard where the Temple was being built.
You want to know what it means for stones be “dressed,” don’t you? Most of the time big chunks of rock for buildings come from a quarry. A quarry is a place where there are layers upon layers of rock, and people will cut or hammer out chunks of rock for use in buildings. But depending on the shape of the building or the kinds of rock being used, the rocks coming out of the ground might need some work before being ready for a house. Maybe the stones need shaped to be the right size to fit into the house. Or some stone like marble is polished so that it shines. So the stones for God’s House weren’t going to be just people grabbing any ole stone chunks and piling them up for a house. No way! The stones were carefully chosen or shaped or polished right there at the quarry. It’s important to do it at the quarry because sometimes a stone might look like the right stone, but when you try to shape or polish it, it cracks or breaks under the pressure. So, there’s no use hauling a big, huge, heavy rock to the building site, until the skilled craftsmen builders have had a chance to make sure the stone is all ready to go into its place in the house.
Next came the high walls. The walls were soooo high. Higher than several big houses stacked on top of each other! Solomon had a huge front porch built out of wood too. He used the very best wood he could find. He had it brought in from a far-away land.
After all the wood was built into the shape of a big, solid house, then Solomon did something special to it. Solomon covered all the walls with pure gold! Can you picture what it would be like if your entire house had real gold on its walls instead of paint? Look around at the walls of your house and try to picture gold, gold, gold! That’s a lot of gold, huh?! That is what Solomon did for God’s House!
Solomon also had workers make carvings all over the walls as decoration — pictures of trees and flowers and angels and other beautiful things. Inside God’s House, it would look a little like the wonderful garden of Eden where Adam and Eve had walked with God. And after that, Solomon added precious gems of all kinds on the walls! Green emeralds, red rubies, blue sapphires, and all kinds of sparkling stones! That must have been magnificent.
Do you remember some of the things that were part of the Tabernacle, God’s Tent? The walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, the Bread Table, the Big Thick Curtain, and the Ark. These things weren’t going to just go away. They would still be part of this House, this Temple.
So inside this House Solomon was building, in the very back, was that super special room we told you about before — the Most Holy Place. This special room would still have the colorful, beautiful, thick, thick curtain in front of it. And it would still be true that no one except the high priest, once a year, would be allowed past that curtain.
Solomon covered this entire room of the Most Holy Place with gold, gold, gold from floor to ceiling. He even used gold nails!
Build, build, build. It took 7 years to finish building the Temple, God’s House. But when it was done, it was incredibly credible.
Finally, they went and got God’s Holy Box, the Ark of the Covenant Deal and put it in the Most Holy Place. It had been 480 years since the people had been delivered out of slavery… but they still had the stone tablets with the Covenant rules written on them. And that was what was inside God’s Holy Box. That’s why it was called the Ark of the Covenant.
Do you remember what was the most wonderful and beautiful thing of the tabernacle tent? Yes! When God’s Glory cloud would come down and rest.
The same thing happened with this beautiful golden Temple. All the people came and stood around God’s magnificent new House, worshiping and praising God, and God’s Glory cloud came down and went inside the Temple and filled it up! His Glory had filled His House! And nothing can ever make a house more beautiful that that.
Solomon stood facing the Lord’s altar, and all the Israelites were standing behind him. He spread out his hands toward the sky and said, “Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like You in Heaven above or on earth below. You keep Your deal of love with Your servants who truly follow You. You have kept the promise You made to Your servant David, my father. You spoke it with Your mouth and finished it with Your hands today.
“But, God, can You really live here on earth? The sky and the highest place in Heaven can’t hold You. Surely You can’t fit in this house that I built. But please, hear my prayer anyway.”
Solomon dropped to his knees and continued, “Night and day please watch over this Temple. Hear the prayer I pray facing this Temple. In the future, hear any prayers of Your People when we pray facing this place. Hear from Your home in heaven, and when You hear, forgive us.
“Treat each person as he should be treated because You know what is in a person’s heart.
“People who are not Israelites will hear about Your greatness and power. They will come from far away to pray at this House. Hear them from Your home in heaven, and do whatever they ask You. Then people everywhere will know You and respect You, just as Your People here do.
“You chose us from all the nations on earth to be Your very own people. This is what You promised through Moses Your servant when You brought our fathers out of Egypt, Lord God.”
Solomon prayed this prayer to the Lord kneeling in front of the altar with his arms raised toward Heaven. When he finished praying, he stood up.
Then he blessed all the people of Israel in a loud voice, saying, “Praise the Lord! He promised He would give rest to His People Israel, and He has given us rest. The Lord has kept all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us just like He was with all our past fathers. May He never leave us, and may He turn us to Himself so we will follow Him.
Let’s obey all the rules and commands He gave our fathers of long ago. Then all the people of the world will know the Lord is the only true God. Continue to fully obey Him in the future as you do now.”
After this they had a huge party for fourteen days, then Solomon sent everyone home.
They left happy, happy, happy and content because of all God had done for His People.