June 12


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I Kings 8-10

We are in the Nation Stream today and will attend the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon. What a treat! We are reading from the New American Standard Bible this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, today is yet another reminder of the glory and wonders you are preparing for us.  Thank you and Amen.

8 – It is fascinating in this reading pattern that we are doing together that yesterday we read about Bezalel making the Ark of the Covenant. And today it is being brought into the finished Temple (not the Tabernacle/[tent] that was carried throughout Sinai. The two stone tablets inside the Ark and the Ark itself were made well over 500 years prior and today, in our reading, they are finally in place! Imagine the “it’s done!” sentiment that swept over the people after all these centuries.  Well they probably felt this way because God felt this way.  The Cloud, signified God’s Presence, and The Glory of God filled the house as soon as the Ark was in place.  I don’t know who else feels this way, but it sure would have been exhilarating to be there!
Solomon’s address to the people is historical!  The ceremony that followed was regal  – perhaps excessive, but it was for God (with a definite ‘touch of Solomon’) so let’s do it in a big way!  This initial dedication is not going to happen again.   Solomon’s prayer included remembering David, seeking God’s blessing, prayers and rituals of worship, dealing with sins, enemies and their related interaction, famine and pestilence, foreigners, and battles.  The blessing Solomon gave to the people was marvelous – it would have been good if Solomon had followed his own advice all his life.  but So it goes.  At any rate, the 14 day celebration was ‘one for the books!’
9 – This chapter is a continuation of ch. 4.  Note that ch’s 5-8 are a hiatus to describe the Temple, then 9 continues where 4 left off.  God opens with a promise for following Him and a warning against turning from Him.  It applied to Solomon AND his sons, btw.  They all must follow God in perpetuity.
The activity is impressive as Solomon and Hiram interchange and trade and gift eachother..  Solomon built cities, and rebuilt others.  He commissioned a staggering amount of workers. Solomon built a navy fleet of ships that sailed the Mediterranean, and others that sailed from the gulf to the south traversling into Arabia, India, and Africa.  In the last verse, did you perceive the size of the gold shipment loaded for Solomon from Ophir? It was 31,000+ lbs. of gold.  My math could be wrong, but in today’s rates, that is $665million.  It was a gift and it was simply loaded and taken to Solomon.  Holy Smoke, these folks are living a dream. AND, it was only part of what was brought to Solomon for that one year.  The gifts kept coming annually
10 – The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon and it too was an encounter fit for the history books; the real history books for that matter.  She marveled at his world, his acquisitions, his staff, his wisdom, knowledge, and insight. 10:5b is interesting, “…and there was no more spirit in her. ” [all her curiosities and questions were answered]  She was truly overwhelmed at what she saw.  She had heard of Solomon’s Kingdom, but amid all the telling, she had only heard “the half of it.”   She leaves him a gift of precious gems, spices that ranked as the best in the world, and 4+1/2 tons of gold (imagine that! and it was all brought by camel from Central Africa).  The chapters final phrase/phase ends with a tally of the splendor, riches, glory of Solomon’s Kingdom.  The immensity is almost too much to take in. If anyone is wondering, the horses that came from “Kue”… Kue is in AsiaMinor near where Apostle Paul was from in Tarsus; Remember “Saul of Tarsus”?  One very famous preacher shared his studies revealing that Solomon had more wealth as a single individual than the country of Canada has among it’s 35+ million people.  It’s hard to perceive such wealth all attached to one man.  y’ever wonder what he’s going to do with it all, or if he’s even going to keep it?

June 5


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I Kings 4-7

We are in the Nation Stream and learn about the applied wisdom of Solomon. We are reading from the New Living Translation this week.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God, we learn of the Temple that was the highest of priorities and so engrossing for so many, …and it is humbling and inspiring to hear, learn and know that WE are the Temple you are interested in.  We are beauty and worth investing in.  Your love for us is a marvel.  Amen.
Solomon's Temple
Solomon’s Temple
King Solomon's Palace
King Solomon’s Palace
4 – Solomon was what gets called, “large and in-charge”.  He inherited the most powerful Kingdom in existence at the time.  His father David had expanded the borders to the greatest they had ever been.  The residents of the newly absorbed areas sent in tribute money and Solomon commenced building the kingdom to even greater and more than it ever had been.  It blossomed to the height of it’s greatness under Solomon.  The peace and prosperity and culture and music and education was a national marvel that left countless people enthralled to visit Jerusalem and the rest of the country.  The national administration of officers and governors are listed.  Just a note in case it is news, the Hebrew prefix “Ben- ” before a name means “son of”. It’s the same as in English putting “son” at the end of a name/ “sen” in Swedish/ the prefix “Mc” in Gaelic – you get it, right?
-the people were numerous, the population along with Solomon’s staff are well fed, the stalls are filled with animals; including horses for royalty. Solomon is writing voluminously, and ambassadors come from the world over to learn from Solomon. Solomon had asked for wisdom in I Ki. 3 [also II Chr. 1] and God granted his request – did He ever!
5 – The preparations for the building of the Temple went into high production.  The relationship with Lebanon and her leaders was rich, deep, and warm.  They traded heavily as Lebanon supplied cedar and staffing as Israel offered food in exchange. To put it into what may be simpler to envision–> The wheat shipped north was 12+1/2 full size truck loads per year (and there are no trucks at the time!).  The olive oil sent each year to Lebanon was a volume that would fill four full size in-ground swimming pools. The staffing and labor and construction crews and supervisors were more than 180,000 men.  They began making the timber and the stone for the Temple and more projects that Solomon had planned.
6 – The Temple begins construction.  Can you imagine the excitement?  It was 480 years since leaving Egypt and the goal of the culture was under construction. Notice in verse seven that there was no sound of hammer, ax or any iron tool.  There was no sawing sound either.  What?! a construction site that is nearly silent….! This was the house of God and it was a reverent undertaking. Mid-job, God reminded them that they would have God’s presence with them eternally as long as they keep His commands.  The dimensions of the Temple are given again, the details of the interior are listed. the intricacies are boggling and beautiful. The aroma of all the cedar, and the breathtaking beauty of all the gold! good heavens.  The Temple was up in the realm of seven years. And it was astonishing to gaze at. The expense, and the staffing, the transport, the work being done in silence – we’ve heard a clear and intriguingly credible description from a world-reknowned leader that this Temple could not be built today.
7 – Solomon then built his palace to be his residence. There was also the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon, the Hall of Pillars, the Throne Room/Hall of Justice. Solomon is quite the architect, y’might say!  Then a man named “Huram” is conscripted to come and do metal work and carvings.  His skill is legendary in his giftedness. The things he made, carved, shaped and formed are mind-boggling. It’s difficult to envision it all.  He made things for the Temple plus numerous furnishings for the Temple.  When the Temple was completed all the dedicated gifts were brought in and stored in the treasury of the Temple.  Such a feat was completed.