So Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David, his father. The Temple was built on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the site that David had selected. (2 Chronicles 3:1)
Relate: At first glance, Solomon’s choice of location for the Temple he will build is not the most propitious It is a place where death has twice been narrowly averted. Most recently, in the time of Solomon’s father, a plague had broken out. This plague was a product of David’s arrogance. When the full impact of his arrogance was realized, David bought a threshing floor and made a sacrifice to God that the plague would stop. David’s wrong action in taking the census, followed by a bad decision in his choice of punishment, cost the lives of seventy thousand people. Building the Temple on this property might not be the best decision for a young man wanting to honor the memory of his father.
Mount Moriah also made an earlier appearance in Hebrew history. Hundreds of years back an old man decided to kill his son as a human sacrifice. He took the boy on a journey, away from the protection of their servants and the child’s mother. At the top of a mountain, an altar was built. The old man raised his dagger to thrust it into the boy but before he did, God showed up and Isaac was spared. Can you imagine the trauma, the dysfunction Isaac must have had from that moment thinking, “My father almost killed me.”
React: From another angle these traumatic memories are precisely why the Temple had to be built at Arunah’s threshing floor, at Abraham’s altar. Abraham was the human founder of the Hebrew race and faith. Everything that defines the Hebrew identity traces back to him. But he wasn’t enough and it was only when God showed up that his killing hand was stayed. David was the founder of the kingly dynasty. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was the people’s king and God’s friend, but he wasn’t enough. His arrogance cost the lives of seventy thousand and that count would have been higher if God had not shown up and spared the people.
The Temple is a reminder that this world is a failed and a fallen place. Even at its best, it is not enough. Beyond this, it is a reminder that God shows up. Ultimately He will do so through Jesus. The Temple is a place where sacrifices are made, ultimately that sacrifice is the Lamb of God. It is the place where Judgment is stopped and people are saved. God is a rescuing God. He is a judgment stopping, reconciling, forgiving God. The Temple, in many ways beyond the one I just named, was a very real, practical way to illustrate God’s truth to His people.
God, I am in need of rescuing. Over and over again, I am in need of rescuing. I know that You have redeemed me. I know that I have been forgiven, but in this walk of life I tend to trip up quite easily. Even when I am at my very best I am not nearly good enough. I am desperate for You to show up. I know that You have done so in Christ. I know that the Temple was a very real reminder of Your presence. I pray that You might show up in my life over and over again, day by day, that the life I falteringly live for You might more and more reflect Your glory to the world.